Curious as to what the toilets of the future will look like? The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation sponsored a competition to design toilets of the future. Factored around sustainability and water management, these new technology super-poopers are still prototypes today. However, new innovations for making pooping safe for the world could be ready for business soon. Be advised, we are not making up the names of the devices.
Innovative Toilet of the Future by Eawag: Innovative Toilet of the Future
1. Solar-Powered Poop Blaster
Solar Powered Poop Blaster: New Technology in Toilets - Solar Power and Innovative Design
Technically the poop blaster is called the Porta-Toilet Facility, designed by researchers at CalTech. This system is a solar powered waste treatment system that turns poop into fuel. It can service up to 500 people a day and produce hydrogen, electricity and water. The water can then be used to flush the next time. The hydrogen is used in fuel cells that keep the toilet running after dark when the solar power is asleep.
2. Three-Stream Toilet
Eawag Toilet System: New Innovation in Toilets of the Future by Eawag
Using new innovations in toilet technology, the Eawag group – or Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology – created a squat porta-potty that automatically opens and closes. It separates liquids from solids, and then treats them independently. It recycles water used for flushing, and then seals itself after you have finished your business. In a questionable use of new technology, the Eawag toilet allows users to watch the progress of the poop through a clear plastic window. The group sees this bathroom renovation as ideal for developing countries.
3. Gasify Poo With Plasma
Delft University of Technology created a concept system that turns dried poop into hydrogen gas. This new innovation dries the feces first, and then burns it at super-hot temperatures. Super-hot as in over 2500 degrees Celsius. Plasma gasification occurs when an electrical current passes through a gas, creating plasma. The plasma is exposed to the pre-dried poop, creating hydrogen gas for storage in a fuel cell. This new technology also kills all pathogens in the dried feces, which is a major public health bathroom renovation boon.
Toilet That Converts Waste to Fuel: Future Technology for Toilets - Innovative Toilet Turns Waste to Fuel
4. The Singapore Sling
Not to be outdone, the National University of Singapore used Pee Power to create urine-based fertilizer. The system is based on a urine-diversion toilet that separates Number One from Number Two. A solar-powered poop dryer does its thing, and then the poop is burned. The burning heat evaporates the urine, leaving two products behind: water and fertilizer.
Urine, it turns out, is made of lots of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. After the system has done its business, users are left with ash, water and fertilizer, all agriculturally useful products. The system uses old-fashioned manual labor to operate, which may be a drawback, especially when advertising poop-burner jobs in the local classifieds. However, many areas of the world desperately need both improved sanitation and agricultural fertilizer.
Singapore Prototype Toilet: Future Toilet Innovation - Singapore University Prototype Toilet
5. The Poop Grinder
Bringing up the rear in bathroom renovation is Oklahoma State University with the poop grinder prototype. This device mechanically disinfects feces, making it safer to handle. The poop goes between two cones, which rotate and heat the poop to 200 degrees Celsius. The heat kills the bugs in the feces, reducing health risks from raw human waste. This machine is also crank-operated. The best thing about the Poop Grinder is the image and accompanying video.
Poop Grinder Prototype: New Innovations in Toilets - Poop Grinder from Oklahoma State
If you watch the video, you'll find out where in this contraption the poop goes in and comes out.
We think it is amazing how the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is supporting so much work towards sustainability and health issues in the developing world. Waste handling is but one part of the need for new innovations in waste management. Glamorous? No, probably not. But the new technology is definitely needed in an increasingly crowded world.
How do you think these future poopers can be adapted to everyday home use? Will your future bathroom renovation include technology to turn waste into fuel for your home? Are you as amused by some of these toilet names as I am?
Sources: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Mental Floss