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"We have already proved that this way of generating electricity works. Work by the Bristol BioEnergy Centre hit the headlines in 2013 when the team demonstrated that electricity generated by microbial fuel cell stacks could power a mobile phone. This exciting project with Oxfam could have a huge impact in refugee camps," said Professor Ieropoulos.
Staff and students are asked to donate as often as they can, which shouldn't be too much trouble with the prototype erected right outside the student union bar at the university. To ensure that the trial resembles real life as closely as possible, the toilets are built to look just like those supplied by Oxfam to refugee camps. Except that, in the interests of science and donator curiosity, there is also a clear plastic screen through which users may observe the MFC that turns the urine into electrical power.
"The microbial fuel cells work by employing live microbes which feed on urine (fuel) for their own growth and maintenance. The MFC is in effect a system which taps a portion of that biochemical energy used for microbial growth, and converts that directly into electricity – what we are calling urine-tricity or pee power," said Professor Ieropoulos. "This technology is about as green as it gets, as we do not need to utilize fossil fuels and we are effectively using a waste product that will be in plentiful supply."
Getting the huge number of toilet/fuel cell combinations out to the field will be a big enough logistical problem in itself, let alone the cost of doing so. Which is why it is also exceptionally important that this technology be both affordable to create, and generate electricity for as long a period as possible. The team at UWE Britol thinks this is achievable.
"One microbial fuel cell costs about £1 (USD $1.50) to make, and we think that a small unit like the demo we have mocked up for this experiment could cost as little as £600 (USD $900) to set up, which is a significant bonus as this technology is in theory everlasting," said Professor Ieropoulos.
originally posted by: Bigburgh
a reply to: DjembeJedi
I'm ... scofff! Uh.
I tip my hat towards science. It was theorized that Darth Vader powered his suit by this method.
Just my observation. Why is a first world idea being tested in a third world country. What benefits does this African establishment have with electricity? Surely the plumbing is up and coming. But of that video clip... I saw no live STREAMING electrical grid...
Still an up for science. Soon bars across the world can rely on patrons for a power source...
S&F... this would also help in space travel too...
originally posted by: Bigburgh
Just my observation. Why is a first world idea being tested in a third world country. What benefits does this African establishment have with electricity?
Did something convince you otherwise?
originally posted by: Orwells Ghost
Pretty cool. I would have thought such a system would only be capable of generating a mere trickle of electricity.