EcoBot III

Ecobot III robot and team

Energy autonomy

The early stage work for the EcoBot-III project, was funded by EPSRC,  finished in 2007 and provided the foundation for the BREADbot development. The main objective of this project was to develop a robot with onboard fluid circulation, capable of collecting its energy from the environment and getting rid of its own waste; all of these functions are powered by the Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs).

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Due to the challenging nature of this project rapid prototype technology was fully utilised in order to produce a uniquely designed, lightweight and strong robot structure comprising multiple parts. Ecobot ingestion / digestion / egestion chamberFurthermore, because of the scarcity of onboard energy, the team was required to develop ultra low power electronic circuitry to operate the robot.

Ingestion/Digestion/Egestion Vessel

This is the upper most component of the robot which consists of the ingestion, artificial digestion and solid waste excretion mechanism. The image shows sludge within the vessel and solid waste sedimented into the egester.

Sludge and Water Distribution and MFCs

Ecobot sludge distribution deviceThis is the middle section of the robot which consists of the sludge distribution mechanism (white solid helical rings), and the MFCs (24 in total) which are shown just below the distribution mechanism. Underneath the MFCs there is an overflow collection tray which feeds back into the ingestion vessel above.

Theme Leader

Project team

Robot development

  • Dr Ioannis Ieropoulos
  • Professor John Greenman
  • Professor Chris Melhuish

Technical support

  • Mr Ian Horsfield
  • Mr Sam Coupland

Contact Address

Bristol BioEnergy Centre
Bristol Robotics Laboratory
University of the West of England
Coldharbour Lane
Bristol, BS16 1QY

Page last updated 14 August 2014

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