It may not be an appetizing thought when you’re putting the dinner on – but a new loo turns human waste into fuel. The ‘No Mix Vacuum Toilet’ is an airplane-style vacuum toilet which splits waste into solids and liquids. Liquid waste is processed for chemicals such as phosphorous for fertilizers. Solid waste is processed in a bioreactor to create ‘biogas’ – a methane-rich gas which is, the scientists promise, odorless and safe for cooking.
Canny scientists have invented a new toilet system that can turn human waste into electricity and fertilizers, and reduce water for flushing by up to 90 per cent. Coined the No-Mix Vacuum Toilet, the loo has two chambers that separate the liquid and solid wastes – and uses vacuum suction technology like airplane toilets. Solid waste will be sent to a bioreactor where it will be digested to release bio-gas which contains methane – an odorless gas used to replace natural gas used in stoves for cooking. Flushing liquids in the new toilet would only take only 0.2 liters of water and flushing solids requires one liter, compared to four to six liters in a conventional loo.
According to the inventors, if it is installed in a public restroom and flushed 100 times a day, it will save 160,000 liters in a year – enough to fill a small swimming pool. The No-Mix Vacuum Toilet will divert the liquid waste to a processing facility where components used for fertilizers such as nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium can be recovered.