The Emergency Pissoir has been designed for multiple users, whether in urban or rural locations, offering men the chance to retain their dignity whilst using the urinal. This pissoir uses the urine to generate electricity and is designed to be lightweight, easily transported and low maintenance.
The ambitious project is the result of a collective effort between Dunster House, UWE Bristol and Oxfam to improve lives in refugee camps and areas with no sanitation or electricity.
The Pee Power project, which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, works via stacks of microbial fuel cells that use urine as a fuel for direct electricity generation when live bacteria consumes urine for their growth and maintenance.
The biggest PEE POWER urinal ever built was set up at the Glastonbury Festival 2017. The urinal was constructed to accommodate up to 40 people, utilising the urine to produce electricity to power phones, information screens and turn on lights.
This major trial was set up after three years of collaboration with Oxfam and scientists from the Bristol Bioenergy Centre (BBiC), Bristol Robotics Laboratory at the University of West of England (UWE Bristol), after testing smaller units at previous editions of the festival. This latest model had, for the first time, the energy capacity to power up display screens with information and updates.
At peak times of the festival over 1,000 litres of urine were flowing everyday through the microbial fuel cells of the main pissoir, generating enough PEE POWER to charge ten information panels. A second unit was located at the inter stage area, close to the press enclave and performers. This unit included a mobile phone charging unit and internal lighting, targeting journalists and star performers who wanted to know more about the humanitarian project.
The expected results
After the last Glastonbury challenge, the Pee Power urinals will be taken to Uganda for their first ever overseas trial. And is expected to improve lives in areas of the world with no sanitation or electricity, providing light without relying on fossil fuels.