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A toilet, conveniently situated near the Student Union Bar at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), is proving that urine can generate electricity.
The prototype urinal is the result of a partnership between researchers at UWE Bristol and Oxfam. It is hoped the pee-power technology will light cubicles in refugee camps, which are often dark and dangerous places particularly for women.
Students and staff are being asked to use the urinal to donate pee to fuel microbial fuel cell (MFC) stacks that generate electricity to power indoor lighting.
The research team is led by Professor Ioannis Ieropoulos, Director of the Bristol BioEnergy Centre located in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory at UWE Bristol.
Professor Ieropoulos says, “We have already proved that this way of generating electricity works. Work by the Bristol BioEnergy Centre hit the headlines in 2013 when the team demonstrated that electricity generated by microbial fuel cell stacks could power a mobile phone.