Bristol BioEnergy Centre

Ecobots and fuel cell

The Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC)is a technology that can directly convert organic waste into electricity. The Bioenergy and Self Sustainable Systems Theme is all about bringing this technology to the real world and making the utilisation of waste into energy a reality. Furthermore, being able to generate electricity from naturally occurring biomass, gives robots a novel degree of autonomy that allows their prolonged operation in environments that are inaccessible or even lethal to human beings.

Breaking News

The team has recently demonstrated for the first time the charging of a commercially available mobile phone, using Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) fed with real neat urine. The membrane-less MFCs were made out of ceramic material and employed plain carbon based electrodes. View the relevant scientific publication.

This video requires javascript to be enabled and flash installed to view.View this video on the youtube website

Watch the video of the mobile phone working on urine.

Project overview

An in-depth look into the theory and vision behind the ongoing work into energy autonomy.

Microbial fuel cell research projects

Theme Leader

Project people

  • Professor John Greenman
  • Professor Chris Melhuish (Bristol Robotics Laboratory Director)
  • Professor Ioannis Ieropoulos
  • Mr Ian Horsfield

Page last updated 12 May 2016