VIDEO: Bill Gates drinks processed wastewater

Jan. 8, 2015
Microsoft founder Bill Gates drinks potable water processed from wastewater using a technology he believes can help reinvent wastewater treatment plants...

Microsoft founder Bill Gates may be known for trying to reinvent the common toilet but now he’s setting out to reinvent the wastewater treatment plant.

This week he was seen sipping a glass of drinking water that only five minutes previously was human wastewater.

The technology used to generate the potable water is called the Omniprocessor, designed and built by Janicki Bioenergy, an engineering firm based north of Seattle.

Using a combination of steam power and water filtration, it is hoped the plant can convert up to 14 tons (12.7 tonnes) of sewage each day into water and electricity.

With financial backing from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a prototype is now up and running in Washington, with aims to bring the OmniProcessor to India, Africa, and other developing parts of the world.

Later this year Janicki is expected to set up the technology in Dakar, Senegal. The firm is working on integrating sensors and webcams to the plants so that any problems can be diagnosed remotely.

Estimates put the cost of each plant at around $1.5 million with capacity to treat wastewater for a community of around 100,000 people.

In Bill Gates’ blog – gatesnotes – he said: “The history of philanthropy is littered with well-intentioned inventions that never deliver on their promise. Hopefully, these early steps will help us make sure the Omniprocessor doesn’t join the list. If things go well in Senegal, we’ll start looking for partners in the developing world. For example I think it could be a great fit in India, where there are lots of entrepreneurs who could own and operate the processors, as well as companies with the skill to manufacture many of the parts.”


About the Author

Tom Freyberg

Tom Freyberg is an experienced environmental journalist, having worked across a variety of business-to-business titles. Since joining Pennwell in 2010, he has been influential in developing international partnerships for the water brand and has overseen digital developments, including 360 degree video case studies. He has interviewed high level figures, including NYSE CEO’s and Environmental Ministers. A known figure in the global water industry, Tom has chaired and spoken at conferences around the world, from Helsinki, to London and Singapore. An English graduate from Exeter University, Tom completed his PMA journalism training in London.

Sponsored Recommendations

SmartSights WIN-911 Alarm Notification Software Enables Faster Response

March 15, 2024
Alarm notification software enables faster response for customers, keeping production on track

Automated Fresh Water Treatment

March 15, 2024
SCADA, Automation and Control for Efficient and Compliant Operations

Digital Transformation Enables Smart Water

March 15, 2024
During this webinar we will discuss factors driving the transformation to digital water, water industry trends, followed by a summary of solutions (products & services) available...

Automation for Water Treatment and Distribution Systems

Jan. 31, 2024
Dependable, Flexible Control Solutions to Maximize Productivity