The “Nano Membrane Toilet,” is developed by a group at Britain’s Cranfield University, and is designed to produce clean water and create green energy while using minimum resources, and of course our excretion. This project received a grant during the second round of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Reinvent the Toilet Challenge. It is a waterless commode which requires no power or water to be used. It’s target population is around 2.5 billion people across the globe who lack access to hygienic toilets. Even in the year 2016, having billions of people with no access to hygienic and safe to use toilets, it is quite a tragedy and warrants our utmost attention, said Cranfield researcher Alison Parke in an interview.
Here’s how the toilet is supposed to work. After someone has used the toilet, the waste will collect at the bottom of the toilet bowl in an enclosed space. Upon closing the lid by the user, the rotates and empties its contents into a holding container. Solid material will settle to the bottom, while liquid waste will float on top of it, enabling them to be separated into different chambers for processing.
The waste water collected will be drawn through special hollow-fiber membranes after it is being turned into a vapor, and then it will be purified. This vapor then will be re-condensed into water and stored in a tank connected with the toilet for later usage. The researchers say that this water will be pure enough for tasks like garden irrigation and laundry, which will be a huge breakthrough for the water scarce areas.
The de-hydrated solid waste at the bottom of the drum is then transported via a channel by a screw-shaped pump. This waste will be dried out and sent into a gasifier compartment, where it will be burned and energy for the the water-treatment system will be extracted from it, with still enough left over to charge small devices like mobile phones etc.
Current prototypes look similar to the traditional toilets with a slightly larger base in the front. So it is quite feasible to start using without any major re-hauling required. This toilet is for use in private households for up to 10 people daily, and it’s prime focus is on the areas that lack sewer infrastructure.
Small-scale beta testing of the Nano Membrane Toilet will start from the United Kingdom and then the attention will be put on moving the technology towards Africa.
In order to keep the project going and realize its full potential, the research group’s best bet is to commercialize the concept as soon as possible. Targeting the higher-income countries for installation in the safari camps, boats and rural vacation spots etc can be the next thing in this project. With the main goal of improving sanitary conditions for the billions of people around the globe, this idea does have a great commercial and practical potential.
Here’s a video on how this amazing toilet works:
Have something else to add to this article? Comment below!