News / Environment

Pee powered phones developed by UWE scientist

By pamela parkes, Monday Jul 11, 2016

The team behind Glastonbury’s pee power loos have now developed the system to charge phones.

The Microbial Fuel Cell technology enables three hours of telephone calls for every six hours of charge time – powered by just one trip to the loo. 

The sustainable charging system could have huge potential to enable people to charge phones in areas that have no electricity. 


Three years ago Professor Ioannis Ieropoulos, director of the Bristol Bioenergy Centre (BBiC), at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory at UWE Bristol, announced that it was possible to power up an ordinary mobile phone using urine fed microbial fuel cell stacks (MFCs). 

Since making the initial discovery that urine could be used as an electricity generator the team has been investigating finding ways of increasing the power generated.

Professor Ieropoulos said: “We are excited to announce several global firsts – this development was possible by employing a new design of MFCs that allowed scaling-up without power density losses. 

Pee powered loos were installed at Glastonbury this year

“Although it was demonstrated in the past that a basic mobile phone could be charged by MFCs, the present study goes beyond this to show how, simply using urine, an MFC system successfully charges a modern-day smartphone.”

The Microbial Fuel Cell research at BBiC is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Centre (EPRSC), and the European Commission.

Read more: Pee power loos to light up Glastonbury

Latest articles