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Development of small scale ceramic Microbial Fuel Cells for clean energy extraction from urine

Gajda, Iwona; Walter, Xavier Alexis; Obata, Tosin; Greenman, John; Ieropoulos, Ioannis


Iwona Serruys
Senior Lecturer in Engineering Management

Tosin Obata

John Greenman


During the last 20 years great interest in Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) has intensified due to the extraction of clean electricity from waste streams such as urine. The technology is based on ceramic built MFCs in which the terracotta chassis is also the membrane between the anode and the cathode half-cells. The microbial engine (anode) bio-transforms the organic matter in urine to generate direct electric current, whilst the cathode reduces oxygen allowing the extraction of water and nutrients from the waste stream. By improving the reactor configuration, size, electrode/volume ratio and further multiplication of units into stacks, the technology is able to produce usable power levels to operate indoor lighting, robots or charge devices such as mobile phones. Physical and chemical stability of ceramic based MFCs is allowing to also extract valuable compounds from urine in the cathode chamber in the form of catholyte adding value to the sustainable treatment of waste. This work is aiming to look into the improved levels of electric current with the use of non-platinum cathode catalyst as well as the physicochemical nature of the extracted catholyte as a metric of current induced treatment.


Gajda, I., Walter, X. A., Obata, T., Greenman, J., & Ieropoulos, I. (2018, June). Development of small scale ceramic Microbial Fuel Cells for clean energy extraction from urine. Presented at 14th International Ceramics Congress 2018, Perugia, Italy

Presentation Conference Type Speech
Conference Name 14th International Ceramics Congress 2018
Conference Location Perugia, Italy
Start Date Jun 4, 2018
End Date Jun 8, 2018
Acceptance Date Dec 17, 2017
Publication Date Jun 4, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jun 7, 2019
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords microbial fuel cell, urine, catalyst, terracotta
Public URL
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : 14th International Ceramics Congress


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