VIDEO: Bill Gates drinks processed wastewater

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.”

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