MessageToEagle.com - Now, we have an excellent reason to visit a toilet!
Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore have invented a new toilet system that converts human
waste into electricity and fertilisers. It will result in a complete recovery of resources.
It also reduces the amount of water needed for flushing by up to 90 per cent compared to current toilet systems in Singapore.
Dubbed the No-Mix Vacuum Toilet, the system has two chambers that separate the liquid and solid wastes. Using vacuum suction technology,
such as those used in aircraft lavatories, flushing liquids would now take only 0.2 litres of water while flushing solids require
just one litre.
The existing conventional water closet uses about 4 to 6 litres of water per flush. If installed in a public restroom
flushed 100 times a day, this next generation toilet system, will save about 160,000 litres in a year -- enough to fill
a small pool 10 x 8 metres x 2m.
The NTU scientists are now looking to carry out trials by installing the toilet prototypes in two NTU restrooms.
If all goes well, the world can expect to see and even sit on the new toilet in the next three years.
The No-Mix Vacuum Toilet will divert the liquid waste to a processing facility where components used for
fertilisers such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium can be recovered.
At the same time, the solid waste will be sent to a bioreactor where it will be digested to release bio-gas which contains methane.
Methane is odourless and can be used to replace natural gas used in stoves for cooking.
Methane can also be converted to electricity if used to fuel power plants or fuel cells.
The No-Mix Vacuum Toilet (left), converts human waste into electricity (right)
and fertiliser. It also reduces the amount of water required for flushing by 90%. Photo Credits: Channel NewsAsia/Olivia Siong
According to NTU Assistant Professor Chang Wei-Chung from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the system
has many benefits.
"The new system will not only save water, but the most important thing is we can convert the natural human waste into something
very useful, such as the fertilisers, the biogas, energy and electricity as well. So that is its biggest advantage," he said.
It is not just toilet waste that can be turned into useful material.
NTU's Residues and Resource Reclamation Centre (R3C) 'No-Mix Vacuum Toilet' (Photo courtesy of NTU)
The so-called 'grey water' (used water from the laundry and shower and kitchen sink) can also be released
back into the drainage systems. Leftover food wastes can also be sent either to the bioreactors or turned into compost and mixed with soil.
"Singapore has been relatively clean over the last few decades, but we can still improve a little bit," said Associate
Professor Wang Jing-Yuan, director of NTU's Residues and Resource Reclamation Centre.
"In Singapore, we don't have natural resources, that's why we've been thinking, 'can we use all these waste materials?'
To me, all these waste materials, they are resources."
"We'll try to create a seamless experience, so that the user will probably not feel the
differences. Except for the vacuum. The vacuum will create noise levels, which is very similar to the vacuum system
you use in the airplanes. But we believe we are trying hard from the technology side to lower these barriers," Asst Prof Chang added.
There are now plans to carry out a six-month trial, starting in July and prototypes will be installed in two
toilets in NTU and will be used by some 500 students.
Talks are also underway to test bed the project in a new town in two years' time.
Scientists have been working on the system since 2010 and now they hope to commercialise the system and
export it to other countries in the future.
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