Home Technology A New waterless toilet can turn human waste into power

A New waterless toilet can turn human waste into power

Scientists in the UK have designed a new cheap, waterless, and
energy-producing toilet, and it’s been scheduled for trials in Africa later this year.
If initial trials go well, the
technology could be used everywhere from military vehicles to luxury
yachts.The environmentally friendly and easy-to-maintain Nano Membrane Toilet
has secured backing from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and has
been three years in the making. 
At the core of the toilet’s operation is a nanotech membrane, which
separates vapourised water from the rest of the waste after some initial
sedimentation. This process cleans it up for household washing or field
irrigation by removing pathogens while the liquid is in a vapourised
state. Nano-coated beads lead to the formation of clean water droplets
on the other side. 
An Archimedean screw system
then kicks into gear to send the leftovers into a second chamber where
they can be incinerated and turned into ash and heat. While the details
of this second part of the process are still being finalised, the
designers say it should be able to produce enough energy to power the
whole operation, with some leftover to charge small gadgets such as
mobile phones. 

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The remaining ash can be used as a fertiliser, while the closed
lid and a special rotating mechanism (which replaces the flush) will
prevent any unwanted odours from escaping. That last point is important – the squalid state of many toilets
in developing nations can lead to people opting for the great outdoors,
which brings its own set of hygiene and safety issues. 
The makers of the toilets are planning to distribute them through
a rental system, which would bring costs for users down even further.
Ghana has been earmarked as a potential location for the first trial
The Nano Membrane Toilet is being developed by researchers at Cranfield University, and was recently announced as a finalist at the Cleantech Innovate showcase.


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