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The Toilet Tech That Will Change The Future, According To Bill Gates
In 2012, the Gates Foundation awarded a nearly $810,000 grant to Cranfield University to help develop the Nano Membrane Toilet. The toilet, which doesn’t require any plumbing, has delicate built-in mechanisms that are designed exclusively around separating and disposing of urine and fecal matter without the need for added water.
The "bad" part of urine is separated out from usable water with a "unique nanostructured membrane wall" within the toilet, and the water is sent to a tank to be used for bathing and feeding plants, but not for drinking. Solids are sedimented and separated with a thin blade and sent to a combustor to be turned into electricity for low-power applications, resulting in an ashy substance that requires removal once per month.
According to WHO, as of June 23, 2021, about 46% of the world's population doesn’t have access to proper sewage treatment, and relying on a single family bathroom is quite common outside of North America, Australia, and parts of Europe. For example, in Ghana, "As [of] 2015, only one rural household out of ten were using improved household toilets while three in every ten of them practiced open defecation.”
When your urine and feces don't have anywhere to go, your toilet or latrine pit leaves runoff waste products that attract dangerous bacteria which can pollute nearby water sources and spread disease. In response to the worldwide sanitation crisis, Bill Gates is leading the charge on just one of many entrepreneurial forces that seek to invent and proliferate a newer, cleaner, and less ecologically demanding toilet.