Glastonbury attendees’ wee to power festival displays

The lavatory facilities at festivals can often be feared as pits of despair, but a team of scientists are set to turn Glastonbury goers’ wee into energy.

Display boards at this year’s Glastonbury festival are going to powered by urine, provided via a 40-person urinal which will be situated near to the headline Pyramid stage.

Technology designed by scientists at the Bristol Bioenergy Centre (BBiC) can harness the power of pee to illuminate the darkness and charge mobile phones.

While this isn’t the first time that “Pee Power” has featured at the festival, it is the first time in which it will be used to power information boards keeping attendees in the know.

The 40-person urinal will be conveniently placed by the Cider Bus, just a few hundred metres from the Pyramid stage.

Scientists and student volunteers working with the BBiC will be at the event to explain the technology to festival-goers.

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Electronic displays at Glastonbury will be powered by attendees’ wees

Their biggest challenge will be making Pee Power’s largest microbial fuel stack yet and the team have had to outsource the building of it for the first time.

More than 1,000 litres of attendees’ urine is expected to flow through the system every day, with the scientist’s microbial fuel cells generating energy from the fluid.

The fuel cells house bacteria which literally eat human urine and create biochemical energy as a by-product which can be converted into electricity.

The scientists say that the technology can use “any form of organic waste and turn it into useful energy, without relying on fossil fuels”.

Summer sound
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The headline acts at Glastonbury will be audible from the Pee Power urinals

Pee Power, which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will later go to Uganda for its first overseas trial.

Professor Ioannis Ieropoulos, director of the BBiC, said: “This unit is primarily about public engagement and Glastonbury festival gives us the chance to showcase our technology to potentially thousands of people.

“The festival updates are one way of showing that Pee Power and the Microbial Fuel Cell technology can be developed for a whole range of uses.”

“The second unit will be located at the area known as the inter stage near the press enclave and performers area. This unit will include a mobile phone charging unit and internal lighting.”


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