Male attendees at Glastonbury, a huge music festival in England, recently found a surprise at the outdoor public urinals. Developed by the Bristol BioEnergy Centre (BBiC), some of Glastonbury's urinals were equipped with technology that turned users' urine into usable electricity.
These outdoor public urinals make use of the Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC), "a technology that can directly convert organic waste into electricity," according to the BBiC -- organic waste that includes urine. The urinals can currently generate enough electricity to power the LED tubes that light them.
The Glastonbury installation is only the beginning, however. BBiC's research team is collaborating with Oxfam to use the urinals in underdeveloped areas such as those within India and Africa. As the technology improves, the BBiC hopes to generate electricity powerful enough to light the interior and exterior of sanitary facilities, thus improving safety for the women and children who use them.