On April 10-12th Mi-Hy consortium gathered at the University of Southampton (UK) to actively participate at the microbial fuel cell workshop hosted by Prof. Yannis Ieropoulus. Participants came from KU Leuven, SONY CSL, Biofaction, CSIC and University of West England.

On the first day of the workshop participants were offered a lab tour of the Water and Environmental Engineering Group of the university, where Yannis Ieropoulos is the Professor of Environmental Engineering. Under guidance of Prof. Neil Willey from nearby University of West England the team set up a hydroponics unit. Microbial fuel cells in combination with hydroponics can convert nitrogen from waste water and excess CO2 into edible plants (vegetables, herbs).

Day two of the hands-on workshop was also hosted by Yannis Ieroploulos. In his lab the Mi-Hy project team learnt how to build two different types of MFC that use bacteria to convert waste water into electric energy. This lead to discussing the different designs and their pros and cons.

On the last day the nine microbial fuel cells assembled the day before were inspected. They were working fine and produced enough electricity from waste water to power a small electronic device: a weather station that is usually powered by two AAA batteries.

This result vividly demonstrated that electronic devices can be powered by urine and other waste water streams. A byproduct of the MFCs is a treated waste water safe to use as an alternative and renewable nutrient source (nitrogen) for hydroponics plants. Mi-Hy aims to integrate MFCs with hydroponics to combine waste water treatment (recycling of nitrogen and CO2) with food production and electric energy generation.