Here is my interpretation of how the Toilet 2.0 might work in my community.
One would retain a grid connected potable water supply for drinking, washing, cooking.
One would keep a grid connected sewer, for grey water.
The Toilet 2.0 would be off line (from the grid). Wee & poo would be collected separately as concentrates (much in the same way as Municipal Solid wastes).
The wee could be reprocessed (if necessary) into struvite.
The Poo would be biodigested, composted or incinerated in an offsite facility (but perhaps at community cluster level, rather than a large, remote, centralised sewage treatment plant).
I find it interesting how the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is now into redefining the laws of physics, biology as well as ignoring the well documented connection between availability of water and public Health.
They envisage a toilet which takes input in the form of excreta and anal cleansing material (water, paper etc) but has no outputs. As far as I know this is a pyhsical impossibility. The output will be either a solid, liquid or gas. If it is a solid or liquid it must be transported away (take your choice as a pipe or a vehicle) and if it is a gas then it will be into the atmosphere and I cannot see how excreta can produce the energy to convert itself into gas (further requirement, no utlities).
On biology and public health no water connection, or is this just to the toilet and we can still have the water piped in for all the other uses and pipe it away as well. Humans need water to survive and the ability to keep the environment clean through adequate quantities of water as well as the safe removal and treatment is a major public health intervention.
Also the solutions sound mechanically and electrically complex. One of the beauties of waterborne sewage is the simplicity of operation at household level so that it gives the required level of reliability (ulike for example a computer, which crash and fall apart on a regular basis).
For urban areas where on site disposal of greywater and excreta is not possible I have not seen any viable transportation and treatment solution other than a pipe and centralised treatment works
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is inviting innovators to send letters of inquiry for the following opportunity:
We are calling for a new set of innovative ideas to support our effort to reinvent the toilet. Grants will be awarded to exceptionally highly-qualified research groups interested in contributing to major advances in human sanitation in the developing world. These R&D efforts will comprise a new phase of the Foundation’s Reinvent the Toilet Challenge: fast-paced designing, prototyping and demonstrating-in-operation of entirely stand-alone, self-contained, eminently-practical sanitation modules which intake bodily wastes and swiftly dispose of them definitively – without any incoming water piping, outgoing sewer piping or electric or gas utility services. These modules must intake all outputs of the serviced population – ultimately at single-residence scales – with minimal module footprints and assured biosafety. Thus, chemical and mechanical engineering approaches are preferred.
Letters of inquiry are being accepted online until Thursday, May 10, 2012 10:00 AM Pacific Standard Time. A full description of the topic and application instructions is available at http://www.gatesfoundation.org/reinvent-the-toilet-loi.
If you have questions regarding this grant opportunity, please email us at GDWSHInbox@gatesfoundation.org. Applicants can be at any experience level; in any discipline; and from any organization, including colleges and universities, government laboratories, research institutions, non-profit organizations and for profit companies. We are looking forward to receiving innovative ideas from around the world and from all disciplines. If you have a great idea, please apply. If you know someone else who may have a great idea, please forward this message.
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