Every time you flush the toilet, you waste liters or gallons of water, and the waste goes to a costly sewage treatment facility or a septic tank that needs to be periodically emptied. That's not a really smart or sustainable way to handle human waste, but that's the system we have in place.
Researchers at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University, however, have struck upon a more sensible solution with their No-Mix Vacuum Toilet. The device was designed with two goals: 1) To reduce the amount of water wasted in flushing, and 2) To wring some useable energy out of your poop.
"Waste is not waste, but a misplaced resource," said associate professor Wang Jin-Yuan, who led the team. "With this new toilet system, 90 percent of water can be saved, so can you imagine how much water we waste every other day?"
The toilet system has two chambers that separate the liquid and solid wastes and uses a vacuum suction technology, similar to those used in aircraft lavatories.
Liquid waste is diverted to a processing facility where components used for fertilisers such as nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium can be recovered.
Solid waste is sent to a bioreactor where it will be digested to release bio-gas which contains methane that can replace natural gas used in stoves or converted to electricity.
Retrofitting the toilets within an existing city's infrastructure will be tough, as there is extra piping required. But the research team believes it would make a good fit for a new town constructed from the ground-up, and is planning on testing it out in a new community being constructed in Singapore within the next two years.
via yahoo news