Urine-tricity Phase I & II: Electricity from Urine

‘Urine-tricity’: Electricity from urine.


Worldwide there are over 2.5 billion people without access to safe sanitation. In attempt to address this need The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are funding research on the topic: ‘Create the Next Generation of Sanitation Technologies’. As part of the Grand Challenges Exploration Scheme (Round 7) the Intelligent Bio Energy Group were awarded a Phase-I grant for the project 'Urine-tricity: electricity from urine'.

Project Aim

Urine-tricity successfully demonstrated the charging of a commercially available mobile phone, using Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) fed with real neat urine. Urine-tricity++ follows on as Phase II of the project, with the aim to develop MFCs into a mature sustainable energy technology with a direct application in everyday life that could change the way people perceive waste and energy.

Project GoalUrinal - MFC demonstrator

The proposed work is all about electricity generation, whilst cleaning the urine ‘fuel’ and producing clean water in addition to fertilizer, and is focusing on small-scale MFC units, which have been shown to be more efficient and energy-dense. The continuous flow nature of the MFC technology facilitates continuous growth of the constituent biofilm organisms, which clean the input, and can be subsequently used as fertilizer. In essence, the more powerful the MFC is, the greater are the rates of urine utilization.

Latest News

The BioEnergy Team from the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, a collaboration between the University of the West of England and the University of Bristol in the UK, announced on the 18th March 2014 that they will be an exhibitor at the Reinvent the Toilet Fair: India event which will be co-hosted by the Government of India's Department of Biotechnology and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in March 2014. For more details please see our Press Release.

Watch the video of Professor Ioannis Ieropoulos explaining how the prototype toilet structure works.

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Theme Leader

Team Members

Contact Address

Bristol BioEnergy Centre
Bristol Robotics Laboratory
University of the West of England
Coldharbour Lane
Bristol, BS16 1QY

Page last updated 9 October 2017