Gallery: POO POWER: New Toilet System Turns Human Waste Into Electricit...

 

Poo power is rapidly becoming the energy source of choice in many countries, powering everything from homes to motorcycles. Now scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have invented a new toilet system that not only turns human waste into electricity and fertilizers, but also reduces the amount of water needed for flushing by up to 90%!

The system is known as the No-Mix Vacuum Toilet, due to its vacuum suction technology that is similar to those found on aircraft. The toilet system works by having two chambers separate the liquid and solid wastes so that only 0.2 liters (.05 gallons) of water are required for flushing instead of the usual 4 to 6 liters (1-1.5 gallons). If this system is installed in your average public restroom, it is estimated that is would save about 160,000 liters per year (42,267 gallons)!

The No-Mix Vacuum Toilet then diverts the liquid waste to a processing facility where components used for fertilizers — nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium can be recovered. Meanwhile all solid waste is sent to a bioreactor where it will be digested to release bio-gas which contains methane. The gas can then be converted to electricity and used to fuel power plants or fuel cells.

Grey water will of course be released into the drainage system where it will be treated, while any leftover food that is detected can be sent either to the bioreactors or turned into compost and mixed with soil, resulting in a complete recovery of resources.

Associate Professor Wang Jing-Yuan, Director of the Residues and Resource Reclamation Centre (R3C) at NTU who is leading the research project, said: “The ultimate aim is not only for the new toilet system to save water, but to have a complete recovery of resources so that none will be wasted in resource-scarce Singapore.”

“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,” Prof Wang said. “With our innovative toilet system, we can use simpler and cheaper methods of harvesting the useful chemicals and even produce fuel and energy from waste.”

The project’s ultimate aim is to convert all of the country’s waste into useful resources. It is all part of Singapore’s National Research Foundation’s Competitive Research Programme, which aims to transform communities that are not linked to the main sewerage system.

+ Nanyang Technological University

Via Science Daily

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9 Comments

  1. Rajendra Jain April 19, 2014 at 9:02 am

    0.2 liters of water shall not always keep the toilet CLEAN ENOUGH for the use by other person I think.

  2. Gregg Bell December 28, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    So, basically like an airplane toilet, how self contained is it, or is it like others are saying and a city retrofit is needed

  3. Dave Green December 19, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    how many homes does it need to be cost effective

  4. Mohamed Mwangi July 16, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    Like this system how far can i get this method at my toilets & i say cogratulation

  5. rickyad August 30, 2012 at 6:41 am

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  6. Sustainably Yours August 15, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I reckon you have to connect all the toilets in the city to the vacuum system, so a complete retro fit to a city is required. I think the investment on that will suck unfortunately.

  7. plumbinghow July 17, 2012 at 1:36 am

    In my personal experience working in plumbing is that 0.2 L could not be enough, I am doubtful there, but great concept idea and i like what they’re trying to accomplish.

  8. crazilycreative July 4, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Does this mean that the sewer system has to have separate pipes to transport the solid and liquid wastes? Can existing buildings be retrofitted with these kinds of toilets?

  9. Meikle641 June 29, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Um, pretty sure that grey water stops being grey water if it is used to flush a toilet. Thus the need for treatment. That said, excellent progress.

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