Scientists in the UK have designed a new cheap, waterless, and energy-producing toilet, and it’s been scheduled for trials in Africa later this year.
Dubbed as the “Nano Membrane Toilet” by its creators from Cranfield University, UK, this new approach to managing waste could help some of the world’s 2.3 billion people who have no access to safe, hygienic toilets.
So, how does this toilet bowl does its magic?
The toilet’s awesome power happens when you close the lid. The bottom of the bowl uses a rotation mechanism to sweep the waste into a sedimentation chamber, which helps block any odors from escaping. The waste is then filtered through a special nanotech membrane, which separates vaporized water molecules from the rest of the waste, helping to prevent pathogens and solids from being carried further by the water.
The vaporized water then travels through to a chamber filled with “nano-coated hydrophilic beads”, which helps the water vapor condense and fall into a collection area below. This water is pure enough to be used for household washing and farm irrigation.
The residual solid waste and pathogens are driven by an archimedean screw into a second chamber. This part of the design is still being finalized, but the current plan is for the solid waste to be incinerated to convert it into ash and energy. The energy will power the nanomembrane filtration process, with enough left over to charge mobile phones or other small devices.
The makers of the toilets are planning to distribute them through a rental system, which would bring costs for users down even further. Ghana has been earmarked as a potential location for the first trial run.
The Nano Membrane Toilet is being developed by researchers at Cranfield University, and was recently announced as a finalist at the Cleantech Innovate showcase.
We are delighted to see this innovative solution gaining national recognition through Cleantech Innovate. The Nano Membrane Toilet has the potential to change millions of lives by providing access to safe and affordable sanitation,” says Elise Cartmell, one of the team.
Let’s just hope for the initial trials go well, for it to be used everywhere from military vehicles to luxury yachts.