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Urine-tricity: Electricity from Urine and Sludge

Ioannis Ieropoulos of the University of the West of England, Bristol in the United Kingdom will test the ability of microbial fuel cells to convert urine and sludge into electrical energy while also purifying water by killing disease-causing pathogens in the waste. This technology could enable energy recovery from urine and other waste streams in developing countries. In Phase I, he provided proof of concept that the technology could be used with urine by testing power performance, clean water output, and pathogen kill rates of different types of microbial fuel cells, as well as identifying ceramic as a promising material for construction. In Phase II, he will ready the technology for implementation in developing countries by further developing the ceramic designs for low-cost mass manufacturing and servicing, and testing their ability to destroy a wide range of pathogens and generate energy for lighting or mobile phone charging. They will also analyze water production quality. The final prototype integrated into a real toilet or urinal will be field tested initially in Durban.

More information about Create the Next Generation of Sanitation Technologies (Round 7)

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is part of the Grand Challenges partnership network. Visit www.grandchallenges.org to view the map of awarded grants across this network and grant opportunities from partners.