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High Efficiency, Sanitary Toilet with Sewage Treatment

Peter Dreher of Livvon LLC in the U.S. is developing a simple, low-cost toilet for resource-poor settings that uses a hand crank to remove the water from infected feces and urine, and converts the feces into dry, harmless, odorless pellets in a sealed bag that can be used for fertilizer or fuel. The air-tight system will also control odor and keep out flies and vermin, and requires no water, chemicals, or electricity. The system will help to contain human pathogens such as strains of Escherichia coli that cause many diseases and are particularly deadly to small children. In Phase I, they built the toilet and tested it on cow feces, which has similar water and bacteria content to humans. They found that it killed all the pathogens, sealed in odor, and the urine collector made nitrogen fertilizer. In Phase II, they will adapt the design for mass production, and develop a sustainable business model that generates revenue from the fertilizer and from electricity, which will be produced by a feces-fueled generator, to cover the cost of the toilet and collection service. They will also develop a reward system for using the toilets. They will produce several thousand toilets to test their business model in Africa or Haiti, and evaluate the profit or loss.

More information about Create the Next Generation of Sanitation Technologies (Round 6)

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is part of the Grand Challenges partnership network. Visit www.grandchallenges.org to view the map of awarded grants across this network and grant opportunities from partners.