Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Solar Powered Toilets - Shining New Light on Waste Disposal

Sorry for the pun, but it seemed appropriate.

The story is very exciting, or at least as exciting as waste disposal can be.  To date, most sewage disposal, as in waste from toilets, goes into a city system and is processed at a large waste treatment facility.  The process is costly, inefficient and wastes lots of water.  The alternative septic tank used in rural locations has a number of drawbacks as well.

Enter the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  They offered a prize for research groups to reinvent the toilet.  The idea was to make an affordable, efficient and a model that could be used world wide in developing countries with little or no waste treatment facilities.  A tall order for a stinky problem.

Never fear, the smart folks at Caltech rose to the challenge and flushed away the competition  with their solar-powered toilet.  The unit takes waste sewage and converts it into hydrogen gas, pure water and fertilizer.  Nice trick.  The video below explains.

1 comment:

dave94015 said...

Caltech's ideas (or others) could also be useful in developed countries (like drought-stricken and rural parts of the USA). It seems a shame that we waste good water for sh*t!