"One-and-a-half million children die each year from diseases related to poor sanitation. We're building a disinfecting toilet that doesn't need running water or massive treatment plants and is cheap and odor-free.
It's a squat toilet, which is what many people around the world prefer. The waste falls onto a sloped conveyor belt. Solids stick, and liquids run off into a bed of sand, which filters everything 10 micrometers or larger, including most parasites and their eggs. Then the liquid falls into a shallow trough, where an ultraviolet lamp—running on five watts from a solar panel on the roof—destroys any other pathogens in minutes.
The sand filter's top layer will get clogged, so a corkscrew mechanism skims it off to join the solids, which another belt squeezes to remove moisture so they can be burned efficiently. The user would light the waste in a smolder unit every night, which would leave just a tiny bit of ash and sterile sand.
To test our components, we've decided to use a nonhazardous feces surrogate—same calorific content, same moisture content, looks like it, feels like it, but made out of ingredients like miso paste and peanut butter. When the full prototype is built by December, we'll switch to the real stuff."
—Jason Gerhard, an engineer at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, is working on the disinfecting-toilet project with Yu-Ling Cheng, Mark Kortschot, and José Torero. As told to Flora Lichtman.
Logical. But. Enticing homeowners to go for this expense means trimming the cost. Gotta get rid of the mechanical bs. There has to be a low profile configuration for areas where basements aren't common. And finally, this increases the flow of a stink pipe's vapors greatly. Gonna likely want a remote stink pipe.
WOW WOW WOW it's the worlds stupidest thing ever! who wasted their time on this!?!
You got burned
This is amazing life changing, life saving research. Make it happen and change the world!
Seriously? You got any better ideas, because we'd love to hear them!! You just make yourself look stupid by putting down someone's design, especially without saying what you would do instead.
There is no avoiding just how malodorous this will be. Great concept, but 1st-world expectations will demand a better solution to the smell.
Some users here miss the point.... This isnt a replacement for your bidet this is for communities who cant afford to waste water flushing their poo. Or there simply isnt infrastructure for a flushable toilet, and this seems to be a better solution than burying peoples sh*t (Which can still affect people if not done properly).
I imagine this being done on large scale in rural areas, not in a persons home.
This seems way to complicated to be practical. There are lots of simpler systems available right now. The conveyor belt alone will make this too costly and failure prone.
Wouldn't it be much easier to build an outhouse?
Well, it's good to know, someone gives a sh#t about sanitation!
A way to powering an house with a Outhouse. See another project in this field. http://www.bellanaija.com/2012/11/23/the-passion-of-innovative-young-minds-meet-the-four-nigerian-teenage-girls-who-developed-a-urine-powered-generator/
I think the majority of the people posting haven't read the first paragraph or just do not understand what is being said.
Rube Goldberg much?
There are too many points of failure here. The solar panel, the motors that drives the conveyors and the UV bulbs all have high potential for failure. Heck, I can't even get a floor fan that will last 2 years, how is a person who can't afford a septic tank going to buy a pair of reliable motors when the initial ones fail? Are they just not going to have a toilet until the NGO can come out and fix it for them? Or are they not going to eat so they can pay for replacements?
The key here is passive or very nearly passive waste treatment. Harness what already exists in nature. There are so many options, its ridiculous. The liquid waste can be converted to fertilizer through the nitrogen cycle... it changes to ammonia, then nitrites, then nitrates that you can use to fertilize crops that you can feed to your animals. (Humane waste fertilizing crops for human consumption is generally considered bad) There are several bio-reactors out there that can take the solids and generate energy from them, even it its just letting them break down and produce methane. You can separate the two with a foot-pedal-powered 'salad spinner'. If you're concerned about parasites and other bad things, you could even sterilize the liquid waste using a Fresnel lens and the sun before it goes through to where the fertilizer is made (and the you can have your solar panel and UV lamps OUTSIDE of the septic system pointing at the lens for when the sun isn't shining (obviously, with the solar panel charging a battery during the day).
While installation of this technology might be a great success, I find maintaining the electro mechanical parts a complete failure due to the anti-social issues of dealing with the nature of it all!
Why not put the sand filter directly below the hole and use a hand wound system to remove the feces. when a user has a poo they would wind the handle a certain number of times to "flush" the toilet. Also how about using the gravity light to power it rather than the solar panel.
A lot of third world countries would use this poop-house not as a poop-house but actually has a house-house and do the do-do outdoors, somewhere else.
I have to agree with "fireback". This is way too complicated and expensive for the third world. After a short while it breaks and if an NGO is not around to fix it. The locals surely won't. Lets face it if I had one I would not even fix or service it myself. There are gas generators, composting toilets and all sort of other ideas that sound more feasible than that.
Definitely not a very practical idea.
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Hmm... I am torn, I can't seem to fault a designer to dream up an idea and put it out there because I love seeing creative prototypes. Great solutions have started out as clunky and inefficient designs. Like the other flaws that were pointed out, I would suggest keeping it as close to nature’s ways of dealing with waste as possible.
Unfortunately this was doomed from the start because we all know those solar panels would be gone by nightfall.
Great. More totally unrealistic, fantasyland, utopia crap. Nobody can poop out nice stackable cube shaped poop.
I have been to a number of third world countries. I doubt they'd ever build this or maintain such a device. In any case I don't see how this is any better of a choice. A fly can still get in there. There are already a number of composting toilets in the US but all still suffer the fact that a fly can get in.
I visited a friend in AK....out in the tundra they already have inciner-toilets.
This could be accomplished with two stands of cast iron pipe, and a Fresnel lens.
As much as I admire these Engineers for coming up with a solution to a problem, this would not be practical to people in third world countries. I lived in Africa, and I can see this would be a good idea for people in short term refugee camps. However, this would not be for long term use. There is still a market for it though.....
All that wasted energy producing methane.
My poop of yesterday could be cooking my dinner tonight!
The US military should adopt this. Better than mixing in diesel and lighting it on fire every day.
US military personnel are having issues with their breathing due to all of the garbage that's being burned from them being deployed in remote areas such as Afghanistan and Iraq.
For the larger bases, the burn pits are operated 24/7.
The only thing is the reflectivity of the solar panels. In some areas and operations, they wouldn't want the shininess of the glass to make it easier for aircraft to spot them and drop bombs on them.
I'm sure they can just plug in a generator to run the mechanical parts that the solar panel would have.
I was chatting with a friend about this recently, how things like toilets and car doors seem to be stuck in the past and nobody sees fit to try and come up with viable new alternatives aside from a few concept cars that will never go into production. The idea of going to the bathroom in a puddle of water just seems so ancient, and while we're at it, shoelaces? Really? I'm all for the velcro tabs, I think it;s so odd we still look like cavemen with animal hides strapped to our bodies. Car doors are based on old carriage designs that transformed into automobiles once engines were added, and those came from traditional house doors. Might be time to find a new alternative.
Sure. There are at least 3 designs currently in production in the third world that work better than this and are less expensive. The three ring composting toilet system comes immediately to mind for one. I read about it on this very site in fact.
Some serious issues:
A: urine is sterile. Furthermore UV light only works if the stream is VERY VERY thin. Like a fraction of a millimeter. a single drop is too thick. Generally when used, (and not some quack crap of which there is lots) a fluorescent light system is covered with a hydrophilic coating to make the water spread thinner then poured over it in a sort of waterfall at a carefully controlled rate. Functional systems are ticklish and need frequent adjustment to actually work.
The entire UV light thing is stupid.
B: Poop doesn't burn till it dries, even if you separate out the "liquids". The military burns poop all the time but they do it with diesel fuel or gasoline, and lots of it.
c: There is no way to remove any of the wastes. Ash would build up (if it even worked) and still require removal, and I don't even know what to do with the "bowl of infinite urine" concept
Are you kidding me.. Talk about over engineered.
I hope God is not an engineer.