Cranfield University's Nano Membrane Toilet project has landed a major funding boost to secure the next phase of development of a novel and sustainable sanitation solution for the benefit of the huge number of people around the world who currently have no hope of being able to access a clean and affordable toilet in their home.
Dr Alison Parker, from the Cranfield Water Science Institute, said; "This is a great moment; the new funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will support our research teams in water, energy and design to tackle the considerable challenge of turning the laboratory prototype Nano Membrane Toilet into a product for the marketplace."
The Nano Membrane Toilet uses a waterless flush; a unique rotating mechanism that drops the waste into a holding tank whilst simultaneously blocking odour and the user's view of the waste. The solids then settle to the bottom of the tank, while the liquids float on the top. The solids are transported out of the tank by mechanical screw into a combustor where they are burnt and transformed into ash. The heat generated can be converted into electricity which is used to power toilet operations, and any residual energy is used for charging mobile phones or other low voltage items. The liquids pass over a weir in the holding chamber and into the membranes bundle. The unique nanostructure membrane allows clean water to be extracted from the waste which can subsequently be used in the household for washing or watering plants.
The toilet is designed for single-household use (up to ten people) and accepts urine and faeces as a mixture. Developed with the aspirations and needs of the user in mind, it is small and easy to transport to locations where there is no access to a water supply and sewer. In comparison to the public toilets relied on by urban communities around the world, a household toilet offers convenience, dignity and security especially for vulnerable groups like women, the disabled and the elderly.
A new video has also been released highlighting some of the recent innovations and improvements to the toilet. With World Toilet Day (19th November) helping to raise awareness and inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis, Cranfield's toilet is attracting interest from around the world, and was recently showcased at the Toilet Investment Summit in Mumbai, India.
About Cranfield University
Cranfield is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.