It wasn’t just curiosity that motivated Juan Lozada, a scientist at the Narino University in Colombia, to see if he could get an old Ford car to run on human urine.
He was also driven by the goal of solving the problems he saw with the use of fossil fuels.
On a recent test drive between the Narino province state capital, Pasto, to the south, and Manizales, capital of Caldas, in central-western Colombia, the silver-coloured 1978 Ford Mercury covered 600 kilometres running "strong and powerfully" on urine.
He added that hydrogen obtained from urine electrolysis "is especially reactive" giving it greater power.
Lozada admits that his car does still rely on some regular petrol, but he insists the device allows a 50-per-cent savings in fuel.
"We are producing clean energy contained in the urea," he says.
"With the ‘MMIOIL’ device we are achieving several important things. In addition to using clean energy that does not produce carbon monoxide, we are keeping this organic waste from entering into natural water sources," he says.
Meanwhile researchers in Mexico have also been using urine to produce energy. They have found that the daily urine output of two adults can supply sufficient natural gas to cook and heat water in a four-person home for nearly a week.
Lozada explained that the experimental automobile could also run on faeces in the future. The idea is to develop a "hybrid automobile, using different kinds of energy sources including urine, faeces and traditional fuels, but in lesser quantity." (DPA)