Nano-membrane toilet to eliminate water for sanitation

As part of the Gates Foundation global challenge to reinvent the toilet in developing nations, the UK’s Cranfield University has designed a solution that uses nano and advanced water treatment technologies...

As part of the Gates Foundation global challenge to reinvent the toilet in developing nations, the UK’s Cranfield University has designed a solution that uses nano and advanced water treatment technologies.

The university received $800,000 worth of funding from the ‘Reinvent the Toilet Challenge’ of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Water (see Water & Wastewater International story)

Cranfield’s Nano Membrane Toilet can treat human waste on-site without external energy or water, allowing it to be safely transported away and potentially reused.

The concept uses a combination of nano and advanced water treatment technologies and works by essentially reducing the water content of the sludge through membranes that allow extraction of water as a vapour, using a mechanism powered by the user.

Resulting sludge moves downwards under gravity and is encapsulated in briquette form, with the potential for reuse in combusting or applying to land as a fertiliser.

Cranfield University said the reinvented toilet will also have potential in developed as well as developing countries, such as Africa.

The results of the first round of grants are being featured at the Reinvent the Toilet Fair on August 14 and 15, 2012 at the foundation’s offices in Seattle, Washington. The fair will showcase innovations from around the world, working towards the shared vision for a ‘reinvented toilet’.

A prototype of the Cranfield concept is due for completion next year.

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- In July WWi magazine, together with charity Pump Aid, launched Operation AFriQUA to help bring water solutions to developing communities in rural Malawi.

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