PEE POWER® has been given a prime location at Glastonbury Festival just a few hundred metres from the Pyramid stage to showcase turning urine into electricity.
Developed by scientists at the Bristol Bioenergy Centre (BBiC) in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), Pee Power has been shown to be capable of powering lights and charging mobile phones.
This year the urinal, which is the closest to the Pyramid stage at this years' festival, will for the first time power up displays giving information and festival updates.
Professor Ioannis Ieropoulos, Director of the BBiC, said, "Our Pee Power work has featured at the festival for the past two years. This year we have been given a huge boost with a prime space for our biggest ever 40 person Pee Power urinal. This fantastic exposure for Pee Power follows the establishment of a strategic relationship sealed in a memorandum of understanding between the University and the Festival last month. The Pee Power at Glastonbury project is the result of our close collaboration with our partners Oxfam and Dunster House and our collective effort to improve lives in refugee camps and areas of the world with no sanitation or electricity. This fits well with the charities and organisations that have traditionally received support from the Glastonbury Festival over the years."
The team will be showing two units - one by the Cider Bus close to the Pyramid Stage that can accommodate up to 40 people at any given time. Scientists and student volunteers working in the BBiC will be on hand to explain how the technology works to interested festival goers.
It is anticipated that at peak times there will be over 1,000 litres of urine per day flowing through the microbial fuel cells generating enough Pee Power to charge ten information panels. The panels will give festival updates about bands and other useful snippets of information.
Professor Ieropoulos said, "This unit is primarily about public engagement and Glastonbury Festival gives us the chance to showcase our technology to potentially thousands of people. The festival updates are one way of showing that Pee Power and the Microbial Fuel Cell technology can be developed for a whole range of uses. The second unit will be located at the area known as the inter stage near the press enclave and performers area. This unit will include a mobile phone charging unit and internal lighting. We are hoping that journalists and star performers will want to know more - we are confident that the exhibits will be a talking point."
The team will be faced with the challenge of making the largest microbial fuel stack yet and will have to outsource the building of the 'stacks' for the first time. Pee Power works via stacks of microbial fuel cells that use urine as a fuel for direct electricity generation when live bacteria consumes urine for their growth and maintenance.
The MFC technology taps a portion of that biochemical energy used for microbial growth, and converts it directly into electricity.
This technology can utilise any form of organic waste and turn it into useful energy, without relying on fossil fuels, which is something that renders the MFCs green and beneficial to society.
The Pee Power urinals will feature in the Glastonbury newspaper and will be widely promoted on the web site and the Glastonbury app.
Later this year the Pee Power urinals will be taken to Uganda for the first ever overseas trial. The Pee Power project is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Source and top image: University of the West of England