Cranfield to develop innovative waterless toilet

Aug 16, 2012

Cranfield University is to develop a waterless, hygienic toilet with the potential to transform the lives of the 2.5 billion people worldwide without access to basic sanitation, thanks to $800,000 funding from the ‘Reinvent the Toilet Challenge’ of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Water, Sanitation and Hygiene initiative.

Cranfield is one of a number of organisations and universities approached by the , Sanitation and Hygiene program of the Gates Foundation as part of the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, which aims to leverage advances in science and technology to create a new toilet that will transform waste into energy, clean water and nutrients.

Many areas which lack access to safe and affordable sanitation are also those areas with non-existent or unreliable water, sewage and electricity supplies. The team at Cranfield proposes a concept for a sustainable solution – the Nano Membrane Toilet - which will be able to treat human waste on-site without external energy or water, allowing it to be safely transported away and potentially reused.

The concept uses a combination of innovative nano and advanced water treatment technologies and the University’s specialist design skills. The concept works by essentially reducing the water content of the sludge through membranes that allow extraction of water as a vapour, using a mechanism powered by the user. The resulting sludge moves downwards under gravity and is encapsulated in briquette form, with the potential for reuse in combusting or applying to land as a fertiliser. This reinvented toilet will also have potential in wealthy countries, as clean, safe water and energy becomes more and more a precious resource and the world becomes increasingly eco-conscious.

The results of the first round of grants are being featured at the Reinvent the Toilet Fair on August 14 and 15, 2012 at the foundation’s offices in Seattle, Washington. The fair will showcase innovations from around the world, working towards the shared vision for a ‘reinvented ’.

A prototype of the Cranfield concept is due for completion next year.

Explore further: Tricorder XPRIZE: 10 teams advance in global competition to develop consumer-focused diagnostic device

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

After PCs, Bill Gates sets out to reinvent WCs

Jul 19, 2011

The man who reinvented computers and made PCs a household item in most wealthy nations, Microsoft tycoon turned philanthropist Bill Gates, is now focusing his attention on recasting the WC.

New toilet technology after 150 years of waste (Update)

Aug 14, 2012

(AP) — These aren't your typical loos. One uses microwave energy to transform human waste into electricity. Another captures urine and uses it for flushing. And still another turns excrement into charcoal.

Tech revolution ends up in the toilet

Jul 09, 2012

It's one of the most critical pieces of technology in your home. And though most consumers don't think of their humble toilet as a tech product, researchers and engineers at global companies are racing to improve designs ...

Filthy toilets a blight on Asian prosperity

May 02, 2011

Fast-growing Asian economies may be flush with money but filthy toilets remain a blight across the region despite rising standards of living, with dire effects on poverty reduction and public health.

Recommended for you

Augmented reality helps in industrial troubleshooting

Aug 28, 2014

At a "smart" factory, machines reveal a number of data about themselves. Sensors measuring temperature, rotating speed or vibrations provide valuable information on the state of a machine. On this basis, ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

unknownorgin
1 / 5 (1) Aug 19, 2012
I know of a large retail outlet that had waterless urinals and did they ever stink, they now have ones using water due to customer complaints.