I Smell a Good Idea…

No-mix vacuum toilet invention from Nanyang Technological University

A team of scientists at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have invented a toilet that turns human waste into electricity and fertilizer while reducing the amount of water used by 90-percent. The so-called ‘No-Mix Vacuum Toilet’ is currently undergoing trial runs at several of the university’s bathrooms, and if testing goes well, you may be shitting sitting on one within the next few years.

A typical low-flow toilet uses about 1.6 gallons of water per flush, but the No-Mix Vacuum Toilet is said to use just .05 gallons per flush.

The scientists’ estimate that installed in a public restroom and flushed an average of 100 times per day, each new toilet would save enough water to fill a 30-ft. swimming pool each year.

The toilet is a two-part system separating the solid waste from the liquid. Liquids would get sent to a processing facility to recover nutrients ideal for fertilizers, like potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus.

The solid waste is sent to a bioreactor where it’s burned to release methane gas. Methane can be used to replace natural gas, or it can be used to fuel power plants. This methane extraction process is essentially the same technology being utilized by many landfills across the U.S. today.

Wang Jing-Yuan, Associate Professor of the Residues and Resources Reclamation Center at NTU, stated in a press release "Having the human waste separated at source and processed on-site would lower costs needed in recovering resources, as treating mixed waste is energy intensive and not cost-effective. With our innovative toilet system, we can use simpler and cheaper methods of harvesting useful chemicals and even produce fuel and energy from waste."

The No-Mix Vacuum Toilet was developed as part of a $10 million grant from the Singapore National Research Foundation. It will be on display at the WasteMET Asia 2012 conference held on July 1-4 at the Marina Bay Sands’ Expo and Convention Center.

Via: Science Daily

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