Billions of people are stricken by disease every year because of a lack of sewage systems, water processing plants, and proper plumbing.
Proper waste management involves expensive infrastructure built to last for decades, if not centuries, regularly maintained by professionals. This is simply impossible in many venues, so a different approach, which doesn’t require central sewage plants, electricity, or expensive maintenance, would be more appropriate.
A team at University of Colorado at Boulder have developed a solar powered toilet that can be used just about anywhere with sufficient sun to serve a family of up to six people while generating charcoal for heating the house. The system uses the light of the Sun to heat up the poop, sterilizing it and turning it into biochar. This is done using eight mirrors that focus light on a postage stamp spot which is connected to a bundle of fiber optic cables that guide up to 700 watts of light toward the waste. The light essentially cooks the waste, rendering it into a safe biochar. This biochar can be used as a fertilizer or burned as a heat source. The team will be unveiling their high tech toilet in India later this month and hopes this technology will be rolled out to millions of people around the world.