Wednesday 31 October 2012

Top three toilets?

From the Gates Foundation website (dated 14 August): ‘Bill Gates Names Winners of the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge’:

California Institute of Technology in the United States received the $100,000 first prize for designing a solar-powered toilet that generates hydrogen and electricity. Loughborough University in the United Kingdom won the $60,000 second place prize for a toilet that produces biological charcoal, minerals, and clean water. University of Toronto in Canada won the third place prize of $40,000 for a toilet that sanitizes feces and urine and recovers resources and clean water.

More details were given in the 1 September issue of The Economist in an article entitled ‘Flushed with pride’ – you really must read this! Here’s a couple of quotes to whet your appetite:

“Urine is filtered through sand, and the resulting fluid is sterilised with ultraviolet light”


“A tank feeds mixed urine and faeces through a rig that heats it to 200°C under high pressure, killing pathogens”

– and these are meant to be prototypes of new household-level toilets for, I presume, the urban and rural poor!

All a bit too much, wouldn’t you say?

[I should have made this post a good few weeks ago, but ill health delayed me.]