Technology that converts urine into electricity was introduced in Nairobi, Kenya, a month ago, after its successful trial in a boarding school, in Kisoro, Uganda.
The Pee Power® system was developed at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol). Cypriot Professor Ioannis Ieropoulos is the scientist who developed the technology and has recently returned from a visit to the school, where along with his team, they tested the system’s reliability. The project was introduced at Seseme Girls’ School and has received positive feedback from students and staff.
“It was really a unique experience. And the feelings were strong. We met with the Director and the Academic Staff and first we got their opinion and they expressed their satisfaction. The students themselves are very pleased. They gladly greeted us every morning before going to class. We also had a meeting with the local Bishop from the Anglican Church, which runs this school along with a children`s hospital / orphanage, as part of their charity work, ” Ieropoulos told the Cyprus News Agency.
The project was introduced to the school a year ago. Ieropoulos’ team installed toilets which are lit with the use of power supplied by urine. 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 to light the exterior of the building and the path that leads to the toilets. Each toilet cabinet now features motion sensors that turn on when needed.
Ieropoulos told CNA that they were in touch with a group of sociologists from the International Water Security Network, who had prepared questionnaires that will assist them to collect specific information from the students as regards the project and how it has helped them in their everyday lives at the boarding school.
‘’But I will tell you this; when I spoke with Peace Rozasa , the school’s headmistress, she told me that the students feel safe, because now there are no male intruders hiding in the toilets trying to attack them. Moreover the girls are able to clearly spot potentially dangerous creatures, snakes and spiders, in and around the cubicles’’, he said.
Pee Power® was installed in Nairobi, Kenya, a month ago.
‘’As part of our research programme, we have to set up more Pee Power® systems for trials in other countries and other environments. Just a month ago we constructed a system at a secondary school in Nairobi, Kenya. At the moment there are three members of our research team down there for maintenance and supervision of the systems. They have members of the Press Team of UWE with them, who will record this fieldwork. In the next 9-12 months five more constructions will be set up,” Ieropoulos said.
The Pee Power® MFC technology and field trials are being developed through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded Urine-tricity project, undertaken by the Bristol BioEnergy Centre (BBiC) at Bristol Robotics Laboratory, based at UWE Bristol.