A new source of clean energy? Urine luck!
By Talal Husseini
Robial, a new spinout company from the University of West England, is planning to commercialise a technology that converts urine and wastewater into electricity, powering lighting, mobile phones and other devices. But just how far can you get on pee power?
As the pursuit for new forms of clean energy continues, with a host of solar, wind and hydropower projects coming online, one social enterprise at the University of West England (UWE), Robial, is attempting to commercialise ‘Pee Power’, which uses microbial fuel cells that feed off organic carbon found in urine and wastewater to produce electricity.
While Robial was only founded in November 2018, the concept has been in the works for a long time and could be revolutionary, having advantages in both renewable energy generation and the recycling of wastewater. Professor Ioannis Ieropoulos, director of the Bristol BioEnergy Centre at UWE and creator of the Pee Power technology, developed microbial fuel cells as part of his PhD project 17 years ago. He was initially attempting to use the technology as a power source for autonomous robots.