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Vortex Bioreactors for the Processing of Fecal Sludge and Waste Water

Mike Allen of Plymouth Marine Laboratory in the United Kingdom proposes to develop a low cost, vortex-based bioreactor that is driven by hand or a bicycle to separate fecal matter from waste water and at the same time introduce bactericidal agents to decontaminate the waste for recycling or safe disposal. In Phase I they designed and built a desk-top vortex bioreactor to test different biocidal agents for their ability to kill bacteria, and to be physically immobilized to enable long term use. Copper embedded onto alginate beads was the most effective and robust combination, and glass beads were shown to bind helminth eggs to enable their separation. They also characterized material flow through the vortex bioreactor to optimize performance. In Phase II, they will work to effectively incorporate the biocidal agent, which requires a high level of mixing, with a method for separating and removing helminth eggs, which requires low turbulence, into one vortex bioreactor by testing different methods of binding helminth eggs. They will also perform field testing with experienced partners, and further optimize the reactor design to reduce costs and promote easy use.

More information about Create the Next Generation of Sanitation Technologies (Round 7)

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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.