About Joanna Duncan

I am a student who is currently studying a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Management at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Joanna Duncan
United Kingdom

In recent years Microbial Fuel Cells have been gaining recognition from the scientific sector as a possible source of energy production. The use of bacteria to produce energy was first discovered in 1911 by M. Potter, a professor from Durham. However, it wasn’t until the 1999 that MFC’s were being considered as a new innovative technology to produce electricity (Rahimnejad et al., 2015).

Microbial Fuel Cells are a bio-electrochemical system that produces a current through the use of bacteria. Through the processes of oxidation and reduction electrons produced from bacteria can be converted into others gases such as oxygen and nitrates (Microbial Fuel Cells, n.d.).

Certain bacteria can be grown under anaerobic digestion for example human waste produced within toilets The bacteria have the ability to transfer electrons to a carbon electrode which acts as an anode. A wire can then act has a resistor allowing electrons to flow through the wire to the cathode. They then combine with protons where oxygen and water is produced. This process allows for the production of energy as both a current and voltage can be generated (Microbial Fuel Cells, n.d.).

If MFC’s are placed within toilets the technology has the capabilities to help tackle climate change. By investing into this technology new methods and materials can be tested in pilot schemes throughout the UK. This in turn, will help to improve the overall sustainability of buildings within the UK by providing a decentralised sanitation system. While also providing an easily accessible energy source.In addition by improving the technology in a developed world it also enhances the opportunity to use this technology within the developing world to develop in a more environmentally cautious approach

By placing MFC's within toilets throughout buildings in the UK . It not only helps in tackling climate change it also provides a clean and holistic approach in producing energy by highlighting a corporations social responsibility in finding new innovative technology to help lower carbon emissions in order to battle the affects of climate change.


Castro, C., Goodwill, J., Rogers, B., Henderson, M. and Butler, C. (2014). Deployment of the microbial fuel cell latrine in Ghana for decentralized sanitation. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 4(4), p.663.

Ieropoulos, I., Stinchcombe, A., Gajda, I., Forbes, S., Merino-Jimenez, I., Pasternak, G., Sanchez-Herranz, D. and Greenman, J. (2016). Pee power urinal – microbial fuel cell technology field trials in the context of sanitation. Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol., 2(2), pp.336-343.

Logan, B. (2008). Microbial fuel cells. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley-Interscience.

Microbial Fuel Cells. (n.d.). 1st ed.

Rahimnejad, M., Adhami, A., Darvari, S., Zirepour, A. and Oh, S. (2015). Microbial fuel cell as new technology for bioelectricity generation: A review. Alexandria Engineering Journal, 54(3), pp.745-756.