In countries across the world, there are as many as 2.3 billion people who currently live without any access to clean, basic toilets. Developed in response to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Reinvent the Toilet challenge, in 2011, the new Nano Membrane Toilet requires zero water or external power to treat human waste. What is more, it costs only 5 cents per person every day to operate this ingenious system.
Invented by scientists at UK’s Cranfield University, this innovative green toilet is meant for places which lack the infrastructure to support traditional toilets that used large amounts of running water. Instead, the new contraption uses a rotating barrier of sorts to flush both urine and feces into separate chambers below, while also preventing odor from diffusing into the air. Initially, sedimentation separates the two forms of waste. One of the chambers contains a special nanotechnology membrane that filters the liquid waste, allowing only water molecules to pass through.
The solid waste, on the other hand, is sent into the second compartment, which is known as the gasifier. It is then incinerated to produce heat energy that can in turn power the waterless toilet, thus eliminating the need for any external energy. This particular technology, however, is currently under development. At present, the Nano Membrane Toilet works by coating the solid matter in paraffin wax to ensure proper, pathogen-free disposal.
According to the scientists, the only waste product generated by the commode is ash from the incineration of feces. The resultant filtered water can actually be used for a variety of household chores as well as gardening. The energy produced during the process can help charge an array of small appliances, including mobile phones. As Alison Parker of Cranfield University points out, all the individual components of this green toilet are built from inexpensive, off-the-shelf materials. This makes it ideal for use in areas where poverty has long denied people access to basic toilets.
Unlike similar technologies, the Nano Membrane waterless toilet is lightweight, which means it can be easily delivered to remote, rural homes. What is more, it is incredibly simple to operate and maintain. According to the developers, the technology will be trialled next year in certain parts of Africa, especially Ghana.
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Via: Sci Dev Net