Eco-Friendly Toilets For Refugee Camps

Problem: One of the main issues at refugee camps is the limited access to sanitation facilities. Residents of these camps have to walk miles in order to access toilets. This walk tends to be dangerous for women at night given the lack of light. To avoid the risk of being sexually attacked, women avoid going to the restroom at night leading to health issues such as urinary track infections (Baskin, 2017).

Technology: Energy, Water, Safety, Health

To address the limited access to sanitation and electricity in refugee camps, students at the University of the West of England in Bristol collaborated with globally renowned aid agency, Oxfam, to design a toilet that uses urine to generate electricity (Mis, 2015).

This technology uses live microbes that feed on urine. These microbes then convert the urine to power. This technology does not use any fossil fuels. It depends on waste products such as urine to generate electricity (Mis, 2015).

The cost of this technology is pegged at approximately $900 to set up as one microbial fuel cell cost around $1.50 to make. The prototype of this toilet was successfully piloted near the University in 2015. Students found this technology could help power a light bulb (Mis, 2015).


  • Logistics company
  • Investors
  • NGO outreach partners


The steps to implement this technology in a refugee camp are as follows:

  1. Partner with UNHCR to pilot this technology in one of the refugee camps
  2. Partner with a logistics company such as DHL
  3. Partner with investors for funds
  4. Partner with NGO partners for outreach and training


Mis Magdalena (March, 2015), ‘Green’ toilet could light up refugee camps’, The Christian Science Monitor, sourced on October 12, 2017 from

Baskin Kara (January, 2017), ‘For Refugee Camps, A Waterless Toilet to Improve Health and Safety’, MIT Management Sloan School – Newsroom, sourced from October 12, 2017 from


2 thoughts on “Eco-Friendly Toilets For Refugee Camps

  1. Because the microbes use waste matter to produce energy, there needs to be an adequate supply of waste to supply the level of energy demanded.


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