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:
- submission of a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) in the form of a 5 page concept note by 8 November 2012, 11:00pm PST
- eligible applicants will be requested to submit a full proposal
For the full call, submission guidelines and online application go to:
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).
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 / email@example.com
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 / firstname.lastname@example.org
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 / email@example.com
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
Source: Gates Foundation, 14 Aug 2012
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
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.
On August 14, Bill Gates will present the “Re-invent the Toilet Challenge“ awards. Last year, the Gates Foundation issued this challenge to create a toilet without piped-in water, a sewer connection, or outside electricity—all for less than 5 cents per user a day.
Now, just a year later, eight finalists from around the world will be showcasing their ideas through working prototypes and full scale models at the “Reinvent the Toilet Fair” hosted at the foundation. The fair aims to inspire collaboration around a shared mission of delivering a reinvented toilet for the 2.5 billion people worldwide that who don’t have access to safe and affordable sanitation.
Finalists include innovations such as a solar-powered toilet that generates cooking gas, a toilet that turns human waste into biological charcoal, and a toilet that turns waste into electricity.
In addition, nearly thirty Grand Challenges Explorations and other Water, Sanitation and Hygiene program grantees aligned with reinventing the toilet will display components of toilet prototypes, full-scale models, designs, and other proofs of concept. These exhibitors are showcasing a range of work, including latrine emptying solutions, user-centered designs for public toilet facilities, and insect-based latrines that decompose feces faster.
We will be sending a press release announcing the winner, along with photos and videos of the prototypes on August 14. We will also be blogging about the event on ImpatientOptimists.org. Tweets will use #innovation, #sanitation, and #toilet.
For more information, visit:
The Ministry of Rural Development has invited the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to partner with it in finding solutions to the sanitation problems in India, where 50 per cent of the country’s 1.1 billion people still practice open defecation.
Jairam Ramesh and Bill Gates, 30 May 2012. Photo: PTI
On the 2nd day of his visit to India, Bill Gates spoke with Rural Development Minister and the Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation Jairam Ramesh. The Minister called for the launch of a global joint initiative to develop low-cost, clean toilets for railways. In India, 11 million passengers commute daily without proper hygienic facilities. Mr. Ramesh also sought help from Gates to pilot sanitation promotion campaigns along the lines of India’s successful Pulse Polio campaign .
A Challenge Paper on Water and Sanitation – 2012
by Frank Rijsberman and Alix Zwane and released by the Copenhagen Consensus Center.
The world has met the Millennium Development Goal on the provision of clean drinking water five years early, but is set to miss its goal on basic sanitation by almost 1 billion people. An astonishing one-third of the world population, 2.5 billion people, lack access to basic sanitation and over one billion people defecate out in the open.
Inadequate sanitation caused a cholera outbreak in Haiti in late 2010 that has now made half a million people sick and cost some 7000 lives; smaller cholera outbreaks are still commonplace during the rainy season in Bangladesh or the low-lying parts of many Africa cities. Diarrheal diseases are still a leading cause of death for children under five, second only to respiratory infections. The World Bank concludes that the economic impact of poor sanitation can be as high as 7% of GDP for some Asian countries and on the order of 1-2% of GDP for African countries.
Copenhagen Consensus 2012 asked Frank Rijsberman and Alix Peterson Zwane from the Gates Foundation to establish the best ways to reduce the size of this challenge.
Less than two years after joining the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “Toilet Team” director Frank Rijsberman is taking on a new position as CEO of the CGIAR Consortium. The Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR) coordinates the work of 15 international centres, including the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), where Dr. Rijsberman served as Director General from 2000 to 2007.
Frank Rijsberman joined the Gates Foundation as director of its Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene initiative on 11 October 2010. In July 2011, the Foundation launched its “Reinvent the Toilet” strategy, which turned the usual distribution of funding and advocacy for WASH programmes on its head by committing 90% of its WASH funding to sanitation.
Dr Rijsberman will start his new assignment at the CGIAR Consortium Office in Montpellier, France, on 28 May 2012.
Source: CGIAR, 19 March 2012
South Africa toilet. Photo: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
“It’s time to get our sh*t together and focus on sanitation”, is the message that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is bringing to the World Water Forum Marseilles.
The lack of progress on sanitation, which was reconfirmed by the 2012 JMP Update, is what originally fueled the foundation’s call to action to “reinvent the toilet.” To us, reinventing the toilet is not just about science and technology, it’s about a whole new approach to working with poor communities in urban and rural areas of the developing world to create affordable, sustainable, and aspirational sanitation solutions.
The Gates Foundation has turned the usual distribution of funding and advocacy for WASH programmes on its head by committing 90% of its WASH funding to sanitation, write staff members Frank Rijsberman and Sara Rogge.
The Foundation is focussing on the following components to achieve its long term vision of providing sustainable sanitation services for all:
- Explore and Implement Sanitation without Sewers
- End Open Defecation
- Provide Sustainable Services at Scale
- Promote Sanitation as a Business
- Cooperate and Partner
In 2011, the Gates Foundation committed US$ 120 million in new commitments, grants and contracts, 90% of which was focused on sanitation, including:
- US$ 79 million for Sanitation Science and Technology, including grants to 8 universities to develop prototypes of affordable toilets that don’t need to be connected to sewers
- US$ 47 million for Delivery Models at Scale by implementing demand-led sanitation programmes, which aim to end open defecation for 30 million people by 2015
- US$ 18 million for Policy & Advocacy grants that support sanitation policy development and advocacy campaigns
Read the full details of Gates Foundation message for the World Water Forum here
Use the following links to read more about the Gates Foundations’s WASH strategy and awarded grants
Source: Frank Rijsberman and Sara Rogge, Impatient Optimists, 12 Mar 2012
Wasting Away: Can a Gates Foundation-Funded Toilet-Design Initiative End a Foul Practice in the Developing World?
A low-tech plumbing challenge searches for the “iPad of commodes”
By Jim Nash | Scientific American, Feb 21, 2012
ACCEPTING THE CHALLENGE: According to UNICEF, 2.6 billion people, almost entirely in the developing world, use bucket, public or open (uncovered) latrines, if they use latrines at all. Image: Courtesy of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Chances are that if you are reading this, you have a private flush toilet a few steps from your bed. Your commode is more reliable than your mobile connection, and likely will outlast all of your home appliances. Yet huge tracts of the developing world have yet to see so much as a latrine, a situation that facilitates the spread of debilitating or even deadly diarrheal diseases.
Advocates for universal access to and use of basic personal sanitation hope their efforts will get a big boost in August, when the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation present several hygienic innovations developed through its Reinventing the Toilet Challenge. Technology alone might help with failing sewers in industrialized countries, but for poor nations, where changing social norms is more important, the Gates Foundation is a powerful ally. The foundation’s involvement could do for sanitation what it has accomplished in the battle to eradicate malaria—raise the visibility of a fundamental health care crisis and encourage new efforts to end it.