A cheap, easy to maintain, “green” toilet that uses no water and turns human waste into electricity and clean water will be trialed in 2016, possibly in Ghana. Dubbed the “Nano Membrane Toilet” by its creators from Cranfield University, UK, this new approach to managing waste could help some of the world’s 2.3 billion people who have no access to safe, hygienic toilets.
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.