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India and Nepal next stops for Cypriot scientist’s Pee Power journey

File photo: The Pee Power facility at Glastonbury

The Pee Power project that uses urine to generate power and headed by Cypriot scientist Yiannis Ieropoulos is headed for India and Nepal after being set up in Uganda and at the summer’s Glastonbury Festival in the UK.

The technology was developed by Ieropoulos and his team at the Bristol BioEnergy Center (BBiC) at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol). So far Pee Power has powered lights and charged mobile phones.

In Uganda scientists from BbiC, with the assistance of the local staff, students and workers, installed toilets which are lit with the use of power supplied by urine. The toilets were installed at Sesame Girls School in the small village of Kisoro. Microbial fuel cells (MFC) were installed in a separate room and the human urine feeds the cells in order to generate power.

This power is sufficient for the lighting of the exterior of the building and the path that leads the students to the toilets. Each toilet cabinet now features motion sensors that turn on when needed.

Two scientists from Dr Ieropoulos’ team have now travelled to India and Nepal to assess the situation on the ground to ensure that Pee Power will potentially be another success there as well.

“We will be able to give more information about these two missions soon,” Ieropoulos told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA).

Before taking the technology to Uganda, the Pee Power was featured at Glastonbury Festival last July. The project was introduced there two years ago.

This year, Ieropoulos’ team took two units – one by the ‘Cider bus’ close to the Pyramid Stage that could accommodate up to 40 people at any given time.

The second unit was located at the area known as the ‘Inter stage’ near the press enclave and performers’ area.

“The implementation at Glastonbury helped us to a great extent because we had the chance to test this technology in real conditions despite the fact that it was for a short period of time. Trialing at the festival prepared us for any unforeseen eventualities we might have been faced within Uganda,” Ieropoulos said.

But referring to Uganda, he added “it is a big step towards achieving our goals, this was the principle of implementing the project in real-world conditions, outside the laboratory. The feelings are of course those of satisfaction but with a grounded view of reality, when considering the poverty that fellow human beings live in”.

With the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as sponsors the team is now looking at other countries in the developing world.

“We work responsibly so that this technology will benefit as many people as possible in poor countries of the world,” Ieropoulos said.

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