A machine that uses exhaust heat to treat onboard sewage
By Bjorn CareyPosted 06.10.2011 at 11:30 am 14 Comments
When Namon Nassef had to buy a new engine for his boat, he saw an opportunity. He could finally install the invention he had been working on, a machine he calls the Zero Liquid Discharge Sewage Elimination System (ZLD). The device uses engine heat to oxidize and evaporate toilet, shower and galley waste.
In the five years that Popular Science has run the Invention Awards, we’ve seen a lot of remarkable things come out of people’s garages. Some are designed to treat the sick or save the planet. Others are simply fun to play with. But no matter what the purpose, the brilliance of the inventions and the dedication of the individuals behind them are always inspiring.
Fertilizer and sewage runoff cause the worst marine pollution, but we can reverse their effects
By Rowan JacobsenPosted 05.06.2011 at 10:03 am 15 Comments
Marine pollution takes many forms, from the millions of gallons of oil that run off our highways each year to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a massive gyre of floating plastic trash. But the most devastating pollutants are the nitrogen and phosphorus found in our fertilizer and sewage. When too much of either washes downstream, coastal waters become choked with heavily fertilized algae, which then dies and decomposes, consuming the oxygen in the water and asphyxiating animal life. This process, called eutrophication, has created at least 405 “dead zones” worldwide.
BioDomes could safely rid rural areas of wastewater
By Caitlin KearneyPosted 04.29.2011 at 10:10 am 1 Comment
Roughly 7,000 rural communities in the U.S. deal with sewage the old-fashioned way: by dumping it into an open holding pond and letting sunlight and bacteria do the rest. Not only do these ponds smell bad, but it takes the bacteria a long time to render the sewage nonhazardous, a situation that could pose a contamination risk to waterways.
Think your car runs like crap? A sewage utility in Bristol, UK, has converted a Volkswagen Beetle to run on human waste. The Bio-Bug is the first car in the UK to run on byproducts of sewage processing, and if its trial run is successful Wessex Water, the utility company that made the car, might build a whole fleet of them.
In what sounds like the most over-engineered toilet tech ever, Stanford engineers are using rocket science to clean up sewage.
It's actually simpler than it sounds -- the scientists are developing a system that exploits sewage-loving bacteria to produce nitrous oxide, which can be used up by a rocket thruster. The nitrous-powered rocket's only byproduct is hot, pure air.
Bacteria have deployed to Afghanistan to help the U.S. Army clean polluted wastewater. The microbes commonly appear in handfuls of dirt, but now form the main component of two new bioreactors made by scientists at Sam Houston State University in Texas.
Banishing energy-hogging treatment plants and rotting pipes
By Adam M. BrightPosted 02.03.2010 at 10:21 am 4 Comments
Every year, Americans produce 12 trillion gallons of wet sewage and burn 21 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity to clean it to drinking-water standards. Why not put the smelly stuff to good use? Thanks to clever new technology, sewage will be reclaimed to provide power, produce fertilizer and, eventually, yield clean water. In other words, sooner than you think, you'll be drinking your own urine.
Sewage is more than just filth. It’s evidence of our worst habits, everything from caffeine to cocaine, all ingested and flushed down the toilet. Now scientists are using wastewater to drug-test entire cities, and the results are sobering
By Eric HagermanPosted 02.21.2008 at 3:51 pm 16 Comments
Jörg Rieckermann snaps on a pair of purple rubber gloves, picks up a crowbar, and levers a manhole cover out of the way. “Here’s my access to the underworld,” Rieckermann, who speaks with a faint German accent, says as he hoists up a barrel-shaped robot suspended above a stream of raw sewage.