In the news of the weird in green technology, this product has to be out there! Cranfield University in the UK has developed a toilet, called the nano membrane toilet, that produces clean energy and clean water as by-products of human waste.
Here is how Gizmodo describes the “waste processing:”
The toilet’s magic happens when you close the lid. The bottom of the bowl uses a rotation mechanism to sweep the waste into a sedimentation chamber, which helps block any odors from escaping. The waste is then filtered through a special nanotech membrane, which separates vaporized water molecules from the rest of the waste, helping to prevent pathogens and solids from being carried further by the water.
The vaporized water then travels through to a chamber filled with “nano-coated hydrophilic beads”, which helps the water vapor condense and fall into a collection area below. This water is pure enough to be used for household washing and farm irrigation.
The residual solid waste and pathogens are driven by an archimedean screw into a second chamber. This part of the design is still being finalized, but the current plan is for the solid waste to be incinerated to convert it into ash and energy. The energy will power the nanomembrane filtration process, with enough left over to charge mobile phones or other small devices.
Yes, you read that correctly – you can charge your mobile phone with the by-product of your waste! (We can’t make this stuff up!)
The nano membrane toilet will be put into trial in 2016 possibly in Ghana. The project was funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Reinvent the Toilet Challenge.
On a serious note, this toilet could literally save the lives of women in less developed countries, where sanitation infrastructure has deteriorated and many use facilities outside rather than in their homes. This leaves many women vulnerable to attack and rape. Bringing the toilet back inside the house may help save these women much trauma and injury.
If the toilet passes initial trials, it could be used in further applications, such as in the military and construction industry.
If you can stand to see more about the nano membrane toilet, watch this video: