Free - receive our print magazine
The Hydrogen Journal news & articles Social network RSS news feed Hydrogen news on a map About The Hydrogen Journal Links to hydrogen energy websites Links to hydrogen energy events Contact us SISTER PUBLICATIONS
Carbon Capture Journal Digital Energy Journal Tanker Operator
Bill Gates Foundation toilet competition - winner makes hydrogen
Applications, Aug 17 2012 (The Hydrogen Journal)
- The Bill Gates Foundation has run a competition to find a new toilet design for the developing world - and the winning toilet makes hydrogen.
The competition has been running for a year, called the "Reinvent the Toilet Challenge", and ended with a fair in Seattle, USA.
The first prize of $100,000 went to California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in the United States for designing a solar-powered toilet that generates hydrogen and electricity.
In summer 2011, Michael Hoffmann, the James Irvine Professor of Environmental Science at Caltech, and his team were awarded a $400,000 grant to create a toilet that can safely dispose of human waste for just five cents per user per day. The lavatory can't use a septic system or an outside water source, or produce pollutants.
His proposal was to build a toilet which uses the sun to power an electrochemical reactor. The reactor breaks down water and human waste into fertilizer and hydrogen, which can be stored in hydrogen fuel cells as energy. The treated water can then be reused to flush the toilet or for irrigation.
Second prize to Loughborough University in the United Kingdom for a toilet that produces biological charcoal, minerals, and clean water,
Third prize to the University of Toronto in Canada for a toilet that sanitizes faeces and urine and recovers resources and clean water.
"The flush toilets we use in the wealthy world are irrelevant, impractical and impossible for 40 percent of the global population, because they often don’t have access to water, and sewers, electricity, and sewage treatment systems," said Bill Gates.
"Worldwide, there are 2.5 billion people without access to safe sanitation—including 1 billion people who still defecate out in the open and more than 1 billion others who must use pit latrines."
"Beyond a question of human dignity, this lack of access also endangers people’s lives, creates an economic and a health burden for poor communities, and hurts the environment."
"And in an era where water is becoming increasingly precious, flush toilets that require 10 times more water than our daily drinking water requirement are no longer a smart or sustainable solution."