The Power of Waste: Applications of microbial fuel cell technology in livestock agriculture

9 July 2018, 10.00 AM - 9 July 2018, 5.00 PM

Note: This event is only open to University of Bristol staff and postdocs.

The increasing awareness of the high environmental costs of farming and their links to climate change, soil degradation, biodiversity loss and other environmental challenges has driven the urge to find sustainable and more environmentally friendly ways of farming.

Professor Ioannis Ieropoulos, Director of the Bristol BioEnergy Centre at the Bristol Robotics Centre, UWE, has pioneered Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) Technology to utilise waste in innovative ways. Essentially, an MFC is a biochemical system where a process of microbial metabolism, fuelled by organic waste of different sorts, is used to generate electricity (Ieropoulos 2005). MFC applications range from robotics and biosensing to pathogen killing and power generation.

Farms and abattoirs are promising locations to develop MFC applications. From slurry management and waste water management to animal blood and waste milk disposal, MFCs applications could have the potential to dramatically improve the environmental footprint of livestock farming whilst lowering the cost of production and –even better– powering self-sufficient alternative energy production systems. MFCs could hold an important key to the challenge of farming well and eating well, both in the immediate short term of transitioning through Brexit, but also in the long-term by ensuring our ways of farming and eating now sustain the right of future generations to live well in the future.

Bristol Veterinary School (BVS) counts a farm, an abattoir and a farm animal practice in its assets, and Wyndhurst farm is about to be developed into a highly instrumented research farm.

This brainstorm session at the BVS Langford campus with Professor Ieropoulos as the key speaker will bring together an interdisciplinary group of scientists to co-develop research ideas and from a network to foster collaborations. The workshop will take place on 9th July in the BVS Langford campus. We will start at 10am and finish by 17:00. The event includes lunch and visits to the farm and abattoir.


Ieropoulos, I., 2005 “Comparative study of three types of microbial fuel cell” in Enzyme and Microbial Technology 37(2), p. 238-245


Contact information

Please email Dr. Maria Paula Escobar, Lecturer in Farm Animal Science, Bristol Veterinary School, University of Bristol, before 28 of June to register.

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