In the most rural parts of the world, getting access to basic necessities such as water and electricity can be a problem – and it is always in the best interest of everyone to make sure a decent sewage system is in place for obvious reasons. Well, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation wants to improve living conditions in such places by handing over $3 million to be shared among eight universities in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America, where the Foundation hopes they can “reinvent the toilet”.
The new toilet would need to be safe and clean in a standalone setup – basically, it needs no pipeline, sewer or power connection. The whole point of this toilet is to reduce the number of people who currently lack safe sanitation – all 2.6 billion of them. The Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands who received part of the funding might be on to something new, where their theoretical solution relies on human waste as a source of renewable energy.
This is made possible be drying and gassing human waste using plasma that are created in microwaves, resulting in a gaseous mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. This “syngas” will be sent over to a solid oxide fuel cell stack that generates electricity. All exhaust from the fuel cell will be transferred to dry the waste, making the process sustainable indefinitely.
Good luck, guys!
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