Bringing power to Glastonbury 2016

Glastonbury Power Dunster House

You may remember, last year, we told you that we were working with University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and leading charity Oxfam to turn your pee into electricity (if you don’t, don’t worry, just click here). We sent two of our Humanitarian team to Glastonbury last year with one of our superstructures. Their aim was to test if this works. It did! The pee produced kept the toilet facilities lit for the entirety of the festival. It was such a huge success that we have decided to go back this year. And we’re BIGGER than ever before.

Glastonbury Power Dunster HouseGlastonbury Pee Power

Last year was a huge success but, as with most festivals, we ended up with very large queues. This year, in order to keep these queues short, we have made our Emergency Pissoire Superstructure twice as big. It can now accommodate up to 25 people at once. It also has two additional privacy panels to keep users shielded while using it.

UWE Bristol researchers and student ambassadors will be on hand during the festival to explain how the Pee Power Unit works. There will be other MFC demonstration units next to the actual urinal. Allowing the public to engage with the technology in an interactive manner. Two of our Humanitarian team will be on hand for any technical hitches that occur so they can fix them instantly. Just an excuse to go to Glastonbury really 😉

Glastonbury Power Dunster HouseThe superstructure will contribute to the facilities on site but the real purpose of our attendance is far more important. We want to educate festival goers about the technologies potential life changing effects on the lives of those living in countries where sanitation and electricity are sparse and often off grid. With access to electricity, that they can generate themselves, people in these conditions could dramatically improve. Just imagine how different your life would be without electricity.

The Emergency Pissoire Superstructure collects the human waste and feeds it through microbial fuel cells (MFCs). That generates enough electricity to light the inside of the urinal. As the project is still within its infancy, trials like Glastonbury are vital.

Professor Ioannis Ieropoulos, Director of the Bristol Bio-Energy Centre, Bristol Robotics Laboratory, at UWE Bristol explains further:

The festival presents us with the opportunity to trial the technology, along the lines of its robustness and cleaning capability, in terms of the sheer numbers of people and therefore the amount of urine.

“The urinal at the festival this year is going to be built to the size we plan to use for refugee camps. We have also developed the microbial fuel cell unit so that it is much smaller and yet delivering the pee power with more power.

“Our ethos of reusing free resources – in this case urine, generating energy for free and also cleaning the urine so that it is suitable for agricultural use resonates with the Glastonbury Festival organisers who have made us feel very welcome. The benefits of a stand-alone system like the version we have designed is that it provides lighting that can be used in any environment and in any conditions with electricity being generated continuously from the waste without having to rely on the grid or other fossil fuel based technology.

While being testing the project at festivals, if successful, the project will expand globally. Its aim is to help those countries so desperately in need.

Andy Bastable, Water Sanitation Manager for Oxfam, tells more about the project’s importance:

“In most refugee camps around the world and in poor slum areas light is needed at night. The microbial fuel cells light up patches in the camp. This is important in regard to women’s safety at night. Another bonus of this technology is the ability to charge mobile phones. There is potential for us to develop charging centres that would be particularly beneficial in refugee camps where families get split up.

“The project is in quite early days in terms of the field trials. Oxfam are hoping to work with the Bristol Bioenergy Centre not just on investigating the lighting inside toilet but working towards lighting a six metre radius around toilets. So we have street lighting based on pee power.”

Chris Murphy explains why Glastonbury is such a vital project to the Company. Also, why we are more than happy to help:

“As a company that is constantly moving forward and searching for new solutions, we are really excited that we can take part in this project. Our mission is to help resolve as many humanitarian issues as possible. We truly believe that our products can make a difference, especially in developing countries”.

Pee Power is just one of a series of public engagement, research and volunteering opportunities that UWE Bristol is showcasing at Glastonbury 2016.

For more information on the Pee Power project, or any of our Humanitarian range, get in touch! You can visit our website, Facebook, email us at or call our team on 01234 272 445. Can’t wait to hear from you.


June 17, 2016

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