Tag Archives: Electricity
Scientists in Singapore have come up with a toilet system capable of converting human waste into electricity and fertilisers.
The No-Mix Vacuum Toilet, which was developed by researchers at Nanyan Technological University (NTU), uses the same vacuum suction technology as found on aircrafts. It gets its name as it’s able to separate solids and liquids from each other. The process then enables it to create useful byproducts.
The No-Mix Vacuum Toilet is also able to reduce the amount of water required by 90% per flush. Typically, usual toilets use around 4 to 6 litres of water every time it is flushed. Public toilets can be flushed around 100 times every day, so the new technology could save as much as 160,000 litres per year for just one toilet.
The ability to save water is particularly significant in Singapore, where resource scarceness has become a problem. The new technology will make it easier to recycle all water, so none goes to waste whatsoever. NTU’s Director of the Residues and Resource Reclamation Centre, Professor Wang Jin-Yuan, has made it an aim to revolutionise the toilet as we know it. His ideas push for economically minded technology which is also mindful of resources available.
“Having the human waste separated at source and processed on-site would lower costs needed in recovering resources, as treating mixed waste is energy intensive and not cost-effective,” Prof Wang explained. “With our innovative toilet system, we can use simpler and cheaper methods of harvesting the useful chemicals and even produce fuel and energy from waste.”
The No-Mix Vacuum Toilet works by recovering the waste’s useful components – such as nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium – to be used as fertilisers. Other waste not used as fertiliser can be be sent to a bioreactor, from which methane will be released. The methane can later be converted into electricity.
Singapore’s National Research Foundation’s Competitive Research Programme gave the project $10million (£6.4million) in funding. The money will aid in the next step – linking sewerage systems so they conform to the new facilities.
Scientists at NTU hope to trial the prototypes in two of the universities restrooms. If successful, it’s hoped that the forward-thinking technology could be used around the world within the next three years. The toilet will be showcased at the upcoming WasteMET Asia 2012 event, where Professor Chang Wei-Chung, Dr. Chen Chai-Lung, Dr. Apostolos Giannis, Dr. Rajinikanth Rajagopal and Professor Wang Jin-Yuan will present what has been a year and a half in the making.