PEE Power produced by Oscar winning Aardman Animaton
From waste to wellness
Robial is a social enterprise created to commercialise the Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) technology developed by the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) that converts urine into electricity.
Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this technology has the potential to transform the lives of the billions of people who do not have access to sewage networked sanitation.
Robial will bring to market several different solutions, including PEE POWER®, a product that can turn urine into enough electricity to power lighting or charge a mobile phone. Other products include disinfectant and plant fertiliser.
In creating a business using such transformative technology, Robial is looking to attract investors who wish to make a positive difference to the lives of those who live off grid. Such people need access to energy, better sanitation and the opportunity to feel safe in the community in which they live.
Robial is under interim management by Oxentia, actively seeking investment and management partners.
Supporting Humanitarian Agencies
Humanitarian agencies need solutions they can deploy within the communities they work with, especially those that will improve the safety and wellness of women and children.
Helping those who live off-grid
People who live off-grid, in slums or refugee camps need products to improve their quality of life, whether it is sustainable electricity or fertiliser for crops.
Our technology transforms communities, changing attitudes towards waste to create products that benefit the poorest, first.
Tell me more
How does the technology work?
Urine is diverted from the toilet into Microbial Fuel Cells (MFC). Microbes then digest the urine and as a by-product of their metabolism, electrons are released which generate electricity. Multiple MFCs are housed in small containers which work to generate enough electricity to power lights, phones and other devices. The process also sanitises the urine to create a disinfectant and plant fertiliser safe enough to be released into the environment.
Who invented it?
Prof. Ioannis Ieropoulous, Director of the Bristol BioEnergy Centre at the University of the West of England (UWE). The technology began as a PHD project in the early 2000s to discover whether robotics could solve self-sustainability without the use of batteries. Prof. Ieropoulous discovered that the answer lay in microbial fuel cells. The system was then developed at the Bristol BioEnergy Centre (BBiC) at Bristol Robotics Laboratory, based at UWE Bristol and with funding by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The name Robial is the fusion of robotics and microbial.
How has it been used to date?
The technology has been successfully trialed at the Glastonbury Festivals 2015, 2016 and 2017 where a Pee Power urinal was installed to generate enough power to display festival information and updates. In Kisoro, Uganda, a Pee Power® generator and lighting system was installed in an outdoor toilet block at a remote girls school. As the block was unlit at night and difficult to reach safely, the light produced meant it could be used without fear or anxiety. A similar trial took place in Nairobi, Kenya at a school in an urban slum. In December 2018, future trials are being led by Oxfam in refugee camps in Ethiopia.
Click to view videos about the technology:
How commercialised is the product?
PEE Power and other Robial products are in the process of being commercialised. With Phase III funding by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the next step is to complete further field trials so that the long-term efficiency of PEE POWER® can be tested in remote locations. Such trials will also focus on the creation of portable MFC containers that can be developed commercially and taken to market.
Who is responsible for the commercialisation?
The specialist innovation consultancy Oxentia Ltd. This work is being led by Dr Bruno Reynolds and supported by experienced team of commercialisation consultants.
Oxentia is working to raise investment, attract a CEO and put in place a management team for Robial. Once this is completed, Oxentia will hand over the running of Robial to the new management team. Oxentia expects this to be done by year 2020.
Robial in the News
05 November 2018
04 September 2017
27 July 2016
Who we are
Oxentia Ltd. is a global innovation consultancy based in Oxford, UK. It provides practical support and advice for a network of global clients who need expertise in helping to commercialise a technology with the potential to be of long-lasting benefit to society.
The University of the West of England, is a public research university, located in and around Bristol, England. It is home to the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) and the Bristol BioEnergy Centre.
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