Jorge Chapa

POOPTRICITY: Want Electricity? Flush Your Turbine Toilet!

by , 03/05/08
filed under: Renewable Energy

sewage power, poop power, hydroelectric power, water power, rushing water energy, toilet power, electricity, alternative energy, green power, toilet power, toilet electric, hydroelectric power, toilet microturbines, toilet turbine, Benkatine Turbine

What if every time that you flushed your toilet you could generate just a little bit of power? That is the idea behind the Benkatine Turbine by Leviathan Energy, which aims to get power from any pipe that water rushes through. So not only could you install this within a municipal system, but according to the company, you could get power from the water rushing down your gutter drains!


There is nothing really new here, after all, rushing water is the basis of all hydroelectric power. It is the location and scale of this system (ie. in your toilet!) that makes it such an innovative product. According to the company, the turbine is intended to be scalable, meaning that it can work well in both municipal water and sewer systems, as well as in smaller pipes such as residential drainage and guttering systems. It is meant to be used in conjunction with other turbines in order to maximize the efficiency of the system.

It is a simple invention, but a great idea nonetheless. Let’s face it, how cool would it be to get power from water which would normally go to waste?

+ Eco-Friendly Gadgets for Your Home and Your ‘Hood @ Wired
+ Leviathan Energy
+ Benkatine Turbine Patent Filing

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31 Comments

  1. Sc0tt1e October 5, 2008 at 1:13 am

    Sorry guys, I wanted this to work…but the laws of physics win,s again. the pressurized water system we use is simply based on differential pressure normally created by raising the pressure on one end by elevating water by converting some form of energy with a pump. If you reduce the pressure on the upper end OR increase the pressure on the lower end by creating an obstruction the differential will be lowered and the WORK the system is supposed to do (siphon the toilet water, pressure wash our bodies etc) will be less than optimal or you choose to increase the energy in the system by raising more water (as someone else said by stealing the energy from from another sourse. LOOK if what is being proposed really resulted in additional energy then we could couple that energy back into our pump and we would have perpetual motion WITH extra energy. Like I said I thought this was a great idea..but it defies the law on conservation of energy and can not work.

    Scottie

  2. Smarty Pants August 8, 2008 at 2:46 am

    put one of these at the entrance to the pipes below a water tower. thus gravity helps it generate power like a hydrodam. and it does not require more energy from pumps cause the water is already being pumped into the water tower

  3. sirron August 4, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Put a BIG one under Niagara Falls.

  4. all said and done &raqu... March 31, 2008 at 3:07 am

    [...] Pooptricity – Inhabitat – Clever sustainability ideas [...]

  5. Elliot Lake March 12, 2008 at 1:43 am

    Many municipal water systems must install pressure regulators to moderate their water pressure to keep from damaging distribution piping (in hilly areas, anyway, like mine is). And many households must install pressure regulators for the same reason. So, one could perhaps install something like this, damp down excessive pressure and capture energy in the process. And neither installation would have any effect on sewer flow.

  6. weekend reads « m... March 11, 2008 at 7:15 am

    [...] Pooptricity: The turbine toilet. via: Inhabitat [...]

  7. HAPPYFRUITS » Blo... March 10, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    [...] Inhabitat » POOPTRICITY: Want Electricity? Flush Your Turbine Toilet! – [...]

  8. delightfully dorky̷... March 9, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    [...] producing energy, and now your toilet may be able to help you produce power with every flush. The Turbine Toilet gathers power from the pipe that toilet water rushes through after a flush, thus taking advantage [...]

  9. Dieter Schmied March 8, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    The arguments that this thing will cause the public sewage system problems are bogus. As to the portion of the system on your property, it will depend on the velocity of the black water to prevent solids from building up in the device.
    At a first glance, I can’t see enough savings to pay for the unit , installation and maintenance. Individually, we don’t have enough potential energy given the mass that we would produce.

    I could see it working on a high rise building or one that uses a process with enough water discharge above the level of the public sewer.

    One could generate far more energy by never walking down stairs; instead of walking down stairs, one would have a rope attached to a sheave, which is attached to an armature, which would act as brake to slow descent when one would ride down the rope to lower levels. And no one can call this a shitty proposal.

  10. Benkatine Turbine Makes... March 8, 2008 at 10:43 am

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  11. Readerslab » Turb... March 7, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    [...] Inhabitat] Related Posts Wave power to be put to use in California It looks like California could be getting [...]

  12. Laurent March 6, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    Great, this is typically the kind of project that we (as a company) are looking for to develop and distribute in Asia. I would be very interested to see the cost benefit of such a system and different options according to different system.

  13. Chris Jensen March 6, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    Rather than trying to reclaim energy from your toilet, you might consider tuning the fill level in your toilet to use less water. Using less water means using less energy to clean and deliver the water. You’ll spend less on your water bill that way than you would gain by installing one of these on a toilet.

  14. Chris Jensen March 6, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    Now, installing these on storm-water drainage systems in really hilly, rainy areas… that might be an idea as long as you spend the money to maintain it and keep it from clogging up. But this isn’t a product for the average consumer. This is actually a symptom of hype in alternative energy. I just spent a little time this morning making an argument that I haven’t seen warning signs of a bubble in alternative energy but this idiotic product idea makes me reconsider.

  15. Chris Jensen March 6, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    This seems like a really stupid way to steal pennies from your local government coffers. I mean, how does the water get to your house in the first place? Pumps powered by either electric or conventional engines pressurize the water and push it around. That isn’t green. That isn’t innovative.

    You might consider doing this if the government starts installing power-generating speed bumps in your area that steal some pennies worth of electricity from you every time you drive over them.

  16. Robert March 6, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    Can’t beleve it!!!! I had the same idea a few weeks ago because I have 90lb of pressure on my water line. I had the idea of heating a hot water tank every time you turn on your water.

  17. Turbine could generate ... March 6, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    [...] Inhabitat] Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and [...]

  18. USA TODAY » Blog ... March 6, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    [...] [Via Inhabitat] [...]

  19. Benkatine Turbine Makes... March 6, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    [...] Source [...]

  20. ---e.... March 6, 2008 at 11:23 am

    I just like the name, Pooptricity!

  21. Recovering That Wasted ... March 6, 2008 at 4:10 am

    [...] Wasted Energy We Flush Away… March 5, 2008 Posted by taoist in Energy. trackback With pooptricity! The real question is how quickly the device pays for itself in energy savings. It doesn’t [...]

  22. Daniel March 5, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    Ok, so they have all these little devices coming out that generate power by spinning a little axle and creating energy. I’m trying to find something that clamps onto an axl of an old airstream trailer that can charge a few deep-cycle batteries. This should be incredibly easy but I can not find one product any where that does this! Whats the deal?

  23. Jeff March 5, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Unless this is used on a natural source like your down spout it is energy negative.

    The city pumps water up into the water tower in order to pressurize the system. By putting this into a pipe you’re requiring higher pressure which will require more energy from the tower pumps. There is no free energy. It’s elementary physics.

  24. Grant Henninger March 5, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    I would love to see the cost-benefit analysis of this. I would imagine that it would take a considerable amount of time to recapture the upfront costs associated with installing these. PV has started to make sense since it only takes a couple of years to make back the installation costs in savings (at least when you factor in all of the current rebates, tax credits and other incentives being offered.) I have a feeling that this system wouldn’t recapture its costs within the life of the product.

  25. Simon March 5, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    At first, I thought it would be stupid to implement this and it would add stress to the municipal water system. But since the water is brought to the tank above the toilet regardless if this turbine is installed or not, it’s true there’s some wasted energy when it’s released down the drain.

    However, I totally agree with the comments about the drain obstruction this device would create. It might be a better idea to use it on the shower drain (gray water for the shower vs brown water for the toilet).

  26. oakling March 5, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    If it worked, this would be really great in conjunction with a greywater system.

  27. taranga March 5, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    Rob is right – all municipal sewers are graded to just the right amount to keep the semi solids moving, any obstruction would take you rapidly back to the middle ages!

    This is very reminiscent of the bizarre idea that you can generate useful power from a collection of wind turbines on the body of an electric car – of course common sense tells us that the inefficiency of the windmill and the extra turbulence will result in less than half the extra energy needed to push such a car though the air being recovered. The only gain would be if the wind is behind you and faster than you wish to travel when a sail would be far more efficient [and lighter] if somewhat questionable from a road safety point of view.

  28. michael bailey March 5, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    As said in the article, this could be used on a rain gutter or shower drain as well.

    I do not know if this would impact how water pressure is created in municipal systems, but it could be added to the supply lines for toilets, faucets, etc.

  29. Rob March 5, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    Most toilets rely on gravity to make them function. Some rely on pumps or pressure vessels.

    ALL TOILTS REQUIRE A FREE FLOWING WASTE DRAIN. Put any obstruction in thew waste line, and your problems will begin.

  30. watershed March 5, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    Wouldn’t this be perfdect co-generation for Laundormats? Put on in the feed line as well as the drain lines.

  31. Terra March 5, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Ha! This is ridiculously brilliant and ridiculously ridiculous at the same time. I love it.

    They should do the same thing for the water that goes down your drain in the sinks and shower.

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