Turning Urine into Electricity

8th Mar 2013

Due to a shortage of readily available lavatories at the Rio de Janeiro Carnival in Brazil many of the thousands of festival goers often resort to going in the street. A problem that has led the city’s council to invest heavily in an awareness campaign, and the likes of J. Walter Thompson (JWT) Brazil to claim that “the stench is impregnated through the city for days.”

In search of a solution, JWT devised an ingenious plan which saw them team up with the band AfroReggae for what they referred to as the ‘Electric Pee’ project.

Rodrigo Alberini, the Digital Producer at JWT, explained that “the urinal itself was rented from Fla-con, a specialized chemical company that represents KROS [a manufacturer of mobile urinals] in Brazil. They took care of all the logistics related to cleaning, transport and maintenance. But JWT created the concept and design and adapted the urinals for this specific use, supported by our technical partner Biz&Sys.”

The design works much like a hydroelectric power plant except on a much smaller scale. Electricity is generated as the flow of urine passes over a small turbine which drives a generator. The power created was stored in batteries that AfroReggae then used to power their portable sound systems.

Ricardo John, the Chief Creative Officer at JWT, said: “we thought we’d turn a sore subject, which generated much controversy, into something lighter and fun. We will reward with lots of music those who can hold it in a little longer and pee in the right place. It is educational and has a strong built-in social nature.”

By. James Burgess