Category Archives: Technology

Conference explores faecal sludge management, a key link to up-scaling sanitation

Getting ready to access the pit for emptying, eThekwini , South Africa. Photo: Elisabeth von Muench, SuSanA

Since many experts believe that flush toilets and sewerage are unaffordable for the large majority urban and rural communities, faecal sludge management (FSM) is seen as a key link to up-scaling sanitation.

But do we need to reinvent the toilet or invent a sanitation industry? That was the concluding thought of Water for People’s Steven Sugden, one of the 100 or so presenters at the Second International Faecal Sludge Management conference (FSM2). Looking at all the presentations, the impression you get is that we need both better technologies and better business models.

FSM2 ook place in Durban, South Africa from 29-31 October 2012. The conference was structured around the following themes:

  • On-site Sanitation as a Business
  • Socio-political Aspects of On-site Sanitation
  • Understanding On-site Sanitation
  • Toilet Design for FSM Optimisation
  • Pit Emptying – What are the Options?
  • The How of Faecal Sludge Treatment
  • Waste Not Want Not – Beneficial Use of Faecal Sludges
  • Technology and Innovation
  • Health Aspects of Faecal Sludges

All the presentations are available on the SuSanA website.

SEI and SuSanA to lead new sanitation learning & sharing platform for Gates Foundation

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has chosen the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) to lead a new sanitation learning and sharing platform.

The Gates Foundation’s Sanitation Science and Technology Programme has over 80 projects. SEI and SuSanA have been tasked to share the results from these projects in an open public forum engaging a broad range of experts and the general public.

Over the next 15 months SEI will work with the Programme Grantees of the Foundation in order to broaden understanding and discussion about their work. The grantees will be encouraged to work through the SuSanA that has about 200 institutional members and some 2000 discussants on its Discussion Forum (www.forum.susana.org).

In August 2012, the Foundation gave a grant to the Water and Sanitation for   Africa (WSA) to set up the Africa Sanitation Think Tank (ASTT).

Related web sites:

Source: SEI, 09 Nov 2012

Gates Foundation announces new round of grants for on-site sanitation

The Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is inviting innovators to send letters of inquiry for round 3 of the Reinvent The Toilet Challenge.

Successful applicants will receive grants to design, prototype and test on-site, self-contained sanitation modules for individual families or neighbourhoods. Self-contained means no connections to piped water, sewerage or energy (electricity/gas) utility services. with Capital and operational costs should not exceed US$ 0.05/user/day. Designs should be able to deal with sanitary products like paper, cloth, sand, and other personal hygiene products and chemicals.

There is a two-step application process:

  1. submission of a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) in the form of a 5 page concept note by  8 November 2012, 11:00pm PST
  2. eligible applicants will be requested to submit a full proposal

For the full call, submission guidelines and online application go to:

www.gatesfoundation.org/watersanitationhygiene/Pages/loi-round3-reinvent-toilet-challenge.aspx

Gates awards US$ 3.4 million in new sanitation grants

Bill Gates with His Royal Highness the Prince of Orange (left) at the Reinvent the Toilet Fair in Seattle on August 14, 2012. Photo: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced a second round of Reinvent the Toilet Challenge grants totaling nearly US$ 3.4 million. The announcement took place on 14 August during the Reinvent the Toilet Fair in Seattle, USA (see also the earlier post Winners of the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge).

Winning grants:

Cranfield University This nearly US$ 810,000 grant will help develop a prototype toilet that removes water from human waste and vaporizes it using a hand-operated vacuum pump and a unique membrane system. The remaining solids are turned into fuel that can also be used as fertilizer. The water vapor is condensed and can be used for washing, or irrigation. Read Cranfield University’s press release.
Contact: Fiona Siebrits/ +44 (0) 1234 758040 / f.c.siebrits@cranfield.ac.uk

Eram Scientific Solutions Private Limited A grant of more than US$ 450,000 will make public toilets more accessible to the urban poor via the eco-friendly and hygienic “eToilet.” Read earlier posts about Eram’s E-Toilet Delight here and here.
Contact: Manohar Varghese / +91 9747060700 / manohar@eramscientific.com

RTI International This US$ 1.3 million grant will fund the development of a self-contained toilet system that disinfects liquid waste and turns solid waste into fuel or electricity through a revolutionary new biomass energy conversion unit. For more info read RT’I’s press release
Contact: Lisa Bistreich-Wolfe / +1 919.316.3596 / lbistreich@rti.org

University of Colorado Boulder A nearly US$ 780,000 grant will help develop a solar toilet that uses concentrated sunlight, directed and focused with a solar dish and concentrator, to disinfect liquid-solid waste and produce biological charcoal (biochar) that can be used as a replacement for wood charcoal or chemical fertilizers. Read the University’s press release.
Contact: Karl Linden / +1 303 302 0188/ Carol Rowe / +1 303 492 7426 / Carol.Rowe@colorado.edu

SourceGates Foundation, 14 Aug 2012

Caltech’s prize-winning solar-powered toilet – video

A video demonstrates the working of the prototype of the solar-powered toilet that won the first prize of US$ 100,000 in the Reinventing the Toilet Challenge issued by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Solar-Powered Self-contained Human Waste Water Treatment System was developed by Prof. Michael Hoffmann‘s research group at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

In 2011 the Caltech team was awarded a US$ 400,000 grant to create a toilet that can safely dispose of human waste and reuse water for just five US dollar cents per user per day.

Solar energy powers an electrochemical reactor, which converts human waste into fertiliser and hydrogen, which is stored in hydrogen fuel cells as energy. The treated water can be reused to flush the toilet or for irrigation.

The toilet, which could cost US$ 1,000 or more per unit according to the Seattle Times, is still a prototype and would need to be adapted before it can be launched commercially.

Source: Marcus Woo, Caltech, 15 Aug 2012 ; Theodoric Meyer, Seattle Times, 14 Aug 2012

Winners of the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge

August 14, 2012 | By Bill Gates

Today I attended the Reinvent the Toilet Fair— a fascinating learning experience and an important step in providing safe sanitation for everyone in the world.

A solar-powered toilet that generates hydrogen and electricity – California Institute of Technology

A year ago, the foundation launched an initiative to tackle the problem of sanitation in the developing world. We called it the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge. In this photo gallery you can learn more about each of the grantees and their sanitation solutions.

This week in Seattle, the foundation is holding a Reinvent the Toilet Fair. Today I awarded prizes to three universities who responded to our challenge a year ago to come up with solutions for capturing and processing human waste and transforming it into useful resources.

The winners included:

  • first place to California Institute of Technology in the United States for designing a solar-powered toilet that generates hydrogen and electricity,
  • second place to Loughborough University in the United Kingdom for a toilet that produces biological charcoal, minerals, and clean water, and
  • third place to University of Toronto in Canada for a toilet that sanitizes feces and urine and recovers resources and clean water.

A special recognition was awarded to Eawag (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology) and EOOS for their outstanding design of a toilet user-interface.

Watch this AP video report on the Reinvent the Toilet Fair.

IRC research calls on BRAC WASH II Programme – extended to 31 Aug 2012

IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre is happy to announce two research calls in the field of sanitation:

  1. Low-cost sanitation technologies for areas with high groundwater tables
  2. Faecal sludge secondary treatment options

These calls are part of the BRAC WASH II programme in which EUR 1.5 million will be used for innovative research, tendered to consortia of leading European and Bangladeshi research organisations. The other action research calls will focus on low-cost water supply technologies; Geo-referenced database for monitoring; menstrual hygiene management; and saline intrusion.

1. Guidelines for research call on low-cost sanitation technologies for areas with high groundwater tables

2. Guidelines for secondary treatment options for faecal sludge

Extended deadline for submission of full proposal application forms: 31 August 2012

Please do not send requests for information or applications to the Sanitation Updates blog.