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Nano-toilet could eliminate water needed for sanitation

As part of the Gates Foundation global challenge to reinvent the toilet in developing nations, the UK’s Cranfeld University has designed a solution that uses nano and advanced water treat­ment technologies.

The university received $800,000 worth of funding from the ‘Reinvent the Toilet Challenge’ of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Water.

Cranfeld’s Nano Membrane Toilet can treat human waste on-site without external energy or water, allowing it to be safely transported away and poten­tially reused.

The concept uses a combination of nano and advanced water treatment technologies and works by essentially reducing the water content of the sludge through membranes that allow extrac­tion of water as a vapour, using a mech­anism powered by the user. Resulting sludge moves downwards under gravity and is encapsulated in briquette form, with the potential for reuse in combust­ing or applying to land as a fertiliser.

Cranfeld University said the reinvent­ed toilet will also have potential in devel­oped as well as developing countries, such as Africa.

The results of the frst round of grants were showcased at the Reinvent the Toilet Fair on August 14 and 15, 2012 at the foundation’s offces in Seattle, Washington.

The fair showcased innovations from around the world, working towards the shared vision for a ‘reinvented toilet’. A prototype of the Cranfeld concept is due for completion next year.

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