Bill Gates spoke at a conference in Beijing today named the Reinvented Toilet Expo. Founder of Microsoft took with him a sealed jar of human feces to the expo. He pointed to the jar and said that it could contain “as many as 200 trillion rotaviruses…20 billion Shigella bacteria, and 100,000 parasitic worm eggs.” The action by Gates was done to draw attention to the need of sanitary off-grid toilets which can remove harmful byproducts from the human waste and halt the spread of diseases. The expo was conducted by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and featured twenty toilet designs which were developed by companies from all over the world. Most of these designs used clever engineering to separate solid and liquid wastes safely without giving any odor.
The scientists and engineers developed a leading design backed by the Gates Foundation at Cranfield University. It won the top two awards at the 2018 International Water Association Product Innovation Awards in Tokyo in September. The system is named as the Nano Membrane Toilet, and it uses a brilliant series of gears, screws, and holding chambers to separate, clean, and store the waste. When the user is done and puts the seat down, the hinge of the seat turns a series of gear which opens the bottom of the bowl and squeezes it. Without using any water, the waste is flushed.
Then the waste goes into a holding tank. An Archimedes screw lifts the solid waste and converts it into dry pellets and deposits it into a combustion chamber. The user can remove the ash-like material once in a week and throw it away. Meanwhile, the urine is cleaned, purified and then deposited into a holding chamber under the footsteps at the front of the toilet. This water can be used for outdoor irrigation and cleaning.
The Gates Foundation has invested nearly $200 million into projects which are working on clean water and sanitation. They have also put money behind each of the twenty toilets which were displayed at the Beijing conference. The expo was conducted in partnership with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and the China Chamber of International Commerce.