Urine has proved a useful fuel to power lighting in rural Africa.
A novel solution to powering electricity has been devised by Bristol BioEnergy Centre (BBiC), within the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) at the University of the West of England and successfully trialed in Uganda.
As part of a research team, in July the BBiC travelled to the Sesame Girls School in the village of Kisoro in Uganda to test out their design, called Pee Power.
Installing a retrofitted the toilet block with the Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) technology to enable access to the urine waste, the light allows safe access for the girls when they’re studying later due to the cooler weather.
Pee Power generates enough energy to light not only the bathroom block but also the path leading from the school to the facility.
Each toilet cubicle is now fitted with motion sensors to switch on the newly fitted light inside when needed.
Professor Ioannis Ieropoulos, Director of the BBiC at UWE Bristol, said: “It is simply wonderful that we can now demonstrate Pee Power working in a remote area of a developing country; this test is an important milestone in our work.
“Over the coming years we have plans to take Pee Power to various sites that present us with different challenges in countries such as India, Nepal, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso to bring power and sanitation treatment to places where it is most needed.
“A critical element of the field trials is longevity. By installing Pee Power and having it running in remote areas we can test its long term efficacy and fine tune it to different environments as we learn more about the technology’s limits outside the lab.”