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
Lagos State Government [...] unveiled one solar-powered toilet project recently constructed for the use of its residents living in Lekki.
The government also approved more than 100 of the same projects for rural communities across the state.
Speaking during an inspection tour, Commissioner for Rural Development, Prince Lanre Balogun, explained that the state government chose the projects because most people in Lagos communities “are defecating the environment because they do not have toilets.”
He added that the lack of toilet facilities in different Lagos communities informed the state government’s decision to build the communal toilet powered by solar energy to serve the community. He said: “In this area, people defecate in the open environment, this is bad. These solar-powered toilets, if properly maintained, could last for 25 years. It is of the same standard you can get anywhere in the world.”
Source: Gboyega Akinsanmi, This Day / allAfrica.com, 10 Sep 2009