Generating electricity from sewage: Awards for Nottingham startup

A biofuel cell technology for generating electricity from wastewater has secured two national engineering awards for a team of researchers at the University of Nottingham.

The team met in 2020 as PhD researchers at the university via the Young Entrepreneurs Scheme. Now, their early-stage cleantech startup, Pipeline Organics, is seeking further support.

The group has developed what is described as a higher efficiency biofuel cell technology which is seemingly amenable to retrofit into existing infrastructure to immediately start generating renewable electricity. A fully operational product is expected to launch in 2025.

On Friday 3 November, the team scooped up two awards at the Engineers in Business Champion of Champions grand final at the Royal Academy of Engineering in London hosted by TV presenter and engineer, Rob Bell.

The team impressed judges, winning the Enterprise Award worth £5,000, and picked up the top prize in the Startup category, winning a further £3,000 and mentorship to help them take their business idea to the next level.

Arielle Torres, Chief Executive Officer of Pipeline Organics, said: “The support that comes with these awards is exactly what we need right now. We’re at a critical point in our business, preparing to scale through strategic hires and raising capital investment. These prizes take us one step closer to reaching our goals.”

Andrew Raslan, Chief Operating Officer of Pipeline Organics, adds: “We aim to capitalise on our recent successes and expanding portfolio of research to secure additional grant funding to support market alignment and technological advancements. One of our main objectives is to establish co-innovation partnerships with target customers, including within the water industry in order to access Ofwat Innovation funding.”

The team also received CV packages from PurpleCV and entrepreneurial books from Cambridge University Press and Double your Price, a book by David Falzani MBE, which covers how pricing works with practical insights, tools, and actionable guidance.

The event was the culmination of a year of enterprise competitions held across UK universities, with thousands of undergraduate and graduates taking part.

Each year, Engineers in Business Fellowship champions business education for engineers and supports universities by giving them grants to award prizes to engineering students who develop ideas that can make a positive impact on society.

For more information about the competition, visit