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Technology A better toilet can save millions of lives

Most Americans do not give much porcelain stew. Do your business, flush and take off the pot. But for billions…

Most Americans do not give much porcelain stew. Do your business, flush and take off the pot. But for billions of people around the world, toilets are an important source of anxiety, illness and financial difficulties.

“In developmental regions, [sanitation] infrastructure does not prevent toilets from being drained safely and human waste comes into contact with people,” said Duke University, Professor Jeffrey Glass PopSci by email. The Americans, in general, are dependent on a functional invisible sewage system and wastewater treatment plant for wastewater treatment managed by a municipal sanitation department to safely process its poop. Elsewhere, Detrius flows a bit more freely. “Thus, pathogens enter the drinking water and water used for everyday housework as cleaning.”

These leaking industrial intestines have serious consequences for human health. Pathogens from fecal matter include cholera-causing bacteria; rotavirus, causing gastric influenza; Shigella, the microintressant responsible for dysentery; and also parasitic worms that are keen to colonize a new human host. Every year 500,000 or more children are killed less than 5 years from such diseases. And adults are also not sure: The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention Estimate estimates 9 percent of the world’s total disease burden is due to poor sanitation and contaminated drinking water.

But Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and the world’s most prominent philanthropist, announced that an international network of technicians, sanitation experts and development workers funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has finally cracked the international crisis crisis. The private organization, proud of its public health initiatives, decided to disturb the bathroom in 201

1. The foundation went to remote remote engineering companies, encouraging them – with the grant of money and the potential for lucrative altruism – to develop an independent, bactericidal machine.

At a grounded Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing this week, Gates took the scene with a useful visual device: a mason jar full of poop. “This expo shows for the first time radically new decentralized sanitation technologies and products that are commercially calculated,” he said. “It is no longer a matter of rebuilding the toilet and other sanitation systems. It is a matter of how fast this new category of network solutions will scale.” According to a press release, the foundation is placed in 20 toilet technicians, which are now considered ready for widespread use.

Sedron Technologies, a small engineering company in Sedro-Woolley, Washington about an hour and 15 minutes from the foundation’s headquarters in Seattle, answered the call. The company pivoted for two decades in space technology with companies like Boeing and Lockheed to sanitation. “It was quite a change,” says Sara VanTassel, president of Sedron Technologies. Just six years later, Sedron’s play is paying. The Omni Processor is the center of the Gates Beijing Festival.

The machine, which deals with the size of four side-by-side shipping containers, combines three existing technologies in a closed system. It begins with solid fuel combustion, where solid waste is separated from liquid waste, is mechanically dried and put on flame. The resulting heat boils water, giving vapor power to keep the entire system running. The third and final process, water treatment, goes parallel to combustion and vaporization. Liquid waste diverted from the dryer earlier in the process is filtered and condensed and produces drinking water.

The self-sufficient system does not use outdoor energy, but it produces a lot that excess electricity can be fed into society. “It really combines many standard processes that we are very familiar with, we have just made it much more efficient,” says VanTassel. She estimates that the first machines will be able to filter water for a community of about 2000 to 5000 people.

Sedan humanity’s civilization, we have struggled to contain our collective waste. For centuries, the majority of people penetrated holes or pots: sometimes the fixed “night earth” was used in agriculture. Often it was trampled in nearby rivers and oceans, where it could easily cause disease. The miraculous broomstick occurred in Tudor England a few hundred years ago, maintaining its shape, structure and trust in a sewage network since the 1780s. When paired with well-maintained septic tanks or, more commonly, sewers, they disappeared aging problems with pooping for residents in rich countries, who now buy toiletries, such as heated seats and bowls ed different speeds and water temperatures.

The invention of a whole new system required some creative thinking, and suggestions for the Gates Foundation were different. Pathogens can be killed in three ways: chemicals, biological elements such as excrement-eating bacteria or heat. Engineers followed all three lanes. Add to the rule each system is completely self-sufficient, and the toilet chairs suddenly look much more like a porcelain Rubik’s cube. “For example, a technique can be highly effective in disinfection but is only cost effective at large rates so it should be used in the neighborhood and beyond level rather than households alone,” says Glass. ” Another can be very cost effective but requires electric power can not be used where there is no power grid. “

For the past seven years, the foundation has invested $ 200 million in reinventing the toilet, and Gates announced in Beijing he will spend $ 200 million more. But there are challenges ahead. New York Times reports For example, many of the models shown on the expo are $ 10,000. The price must be dark, for example, $ 500 – if this tube is commercially viable. And it’s also a matter of whether the communities these devices were built to actually want to install an Omni processor or Sedron’s upcoming Firelight toilet.

“I think there will still be a big curve of commercialization,” she says. There is an inherent risk of trying something new, so Sedron is dependent on the need of early adoptors who are keen on innovation. Sanity has really been a state responsibility in some senses and done in a very central way, she says. That’s why the Gate s Foundation “not only funded technological development, they are also trying to truly transform the sanitation process into these decentralized solutions.”

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