Prototype separator system (via Nanyang Technological University)
Finding clean, renewable energy is the top goal for most countries across the globe and a team of research scientists from Nanyang Technological University have taken that notion to all new levels. The team, led by associate professor Wang Jing-Yuan, designed the new toilet to convert bodily waste into both electricity and fertilizer all while using 90% less water per flush (based on the average toilets in Singapore). Called the ‘No-Mix Vacuum Toilet’, the design features two cavities that divide both liquid and solid waste using vacuum suction much like toilets found on airplanes.
Once the waste is separated, it’s then sent to a processing facility that reclaims nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium out of the waste for use as a fertilizer. ‘Solid’ waste is then transferred to a bio-reactor where it can be further processed into methane. The gas cab then be used for stoves and heating or converted into electricity through power-plants and fuel cells. The team doesn’t stop there, as ‘grey-water’ from washing machines, showers and sinks can either be treated and reclaimed or released into sewer systems without damaging the ecosystem.
Even leftover food waste can either be sent to bio-reactors and converted into electricity or composted and mixed with soil resulting in a complete recovery of resources. The scientists plan to outfit two of the University’s bathrooms with the new toilet design this year and eventually have the system available for world-wide distribution in the next three years. With dwindling water and power resources all over the globe, it stands to reason that their new toilet system will help power the planet in the foreseeable future!