The Earth Auger Toilet: urine-diverting composting toilet (Fundacion In Terris, Ecuador) - updates on progress
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UDDT stands for urine-diverting dry toilet. UD stands for urine diversion.

TOPIC: The Earth Auger Toilet: urine-diverting composting toilet (Fundacion In Terris, Ecuador) - updates on progress

The Earth Auger Toilet: urine-diverting composting toilet (Fundacion In Terris, Ecuador) - updates on progress 08 Apr 2013 19:43 #4079

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    mtfioravanti
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  • Researcher and advisor in Sustainable Development, Environmental education, Eco-efficiency, Sustainable Sanitation.
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Hi,

I am from Ecuador, South America. I am a researcher and advisor in sustainable development, ecological sanitation, water and waste management and environmental education. I am part of Fundación In Terris, a non-profit that promotes sustainable rural development, and am working with Dr. Chuck Henry, President and Design Engineer of the US company Critical Practices LLC, Senior Lecturer at the University of Washington, Bothell, and international consultant. He has extensive experience in composting and the use of organic amendments as fertilizers, for amendments in restoration and remediation, design and installation of compost systems (having invented and licensed two through the UW, including the Earth Auger composting toilet), wastewater treatment and reuse.

Through the Fundación In Terris in Ecuador we received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for developing prototypes of a functional, effective, comfortable and affordable urine-diverting dry toilet (UDDT).
Out prototype is called “Taladro de la Tierra” (“Earth Auger Toilet”) and is a totally decentralized and mechanized low cost unit."

Name of lead organization: Fundación In Terris
Primary contact at lead organization: Marcos Fioravanti This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it – Chuck Henry This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Grantee location: Ecuador
Developing country where the research is being tested: Ecuador

Goal(s): The goal of this project was to develop several prototypes of a mechanised, pedal-operated, low-cost, easy-to-use, odourless urine-diverting dry toilet (UDDT).

AfichePlano60x80af-small.jpg


Objectives (or activities or key research components):

1. Development of prototypes: Several prototypes of “El Taladro de la Tierra“ (The Earth Auger) were designed based on earlier work Dr. Henry had done at the University of Washington. These are decentralized pedal-operated urine-diverting dry toilets (UDDT) where diverted urine is infiltrated into the ground and faeces are being composted. The main innovations with the prototypes were the mechanised, foot-pedal-actuated dry-flush system and sawdust delivery systems. When the pedal is operated the faeces, cleansing paper and automatically added sawdust are mechanically processed through a pipe with an auger inside, which mixes, aerates and moves them through a composting chamber to storage (e.g., buckets). In storage it is detained for an additional 1-5 months (depending upon number of users) for compost stability and pathogen kill prior to being used as a soil amendment. Direct handling of excreta by the user is thus not required as the whole process is pedal-operated until harvest. The urine is harvested separately in hose-connected containers, or mixed with wash water and used in a grey water system. The toilets differ in price and number of accessories: in mass production the different units are expected to cost between US$150 and US$ 300.

2. Testing: Six families in Ecuador tested two different Earth Auger prototypes. The overall results were great acceptability and all families would be willing to pay around US$150 for the toilet. Concerns included the sawdust handling as it could be associated with breathing allergies, the potential for lever to get broken (happening in only one of the tested prototypes), and being able to aim the urine stream into the urine diversion component. Preliminary pathogen analyses suggested more rapid dieoff with our system compared to traditional vault systems (we will focus on pathogen dieoff in our future work).
The following table summarizes comments and feedback from users:
comments-and-feedbacks-from-users.png


3. Improvement of prototypes: The major following improvements have been identified and will be tested: Single or double-augered pipe in the compost chamber; introducing urine in the compost auger system; pedal construction with direct gears instead of chains; optimisation of the system to avoid any risk of the auger jamming; design of storage chamber(s) for easy handling and replacement; design of pedestals and seats for infants; and alternative materials for sawdust.

Start and end date: April 2011 to October 2012
Grant type: Grand Challenges Explorations, Round 6
Funding for this research currently ongoing: applying for a Phase II at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Research or implementation partners: Critical Practices LLC

Current state of affaires:
Currently new prototypes are being developed that include improvements identified above. Moreover, we are working on ways to produce our UDDT less expensively, adding durability and simplifying components. We have designed some major changes in mechanisms that we will continue to develop and test, such as the flush seal, gearing systems, and small-scale manufacturing techniques. As our goal is to have a simple, yet effective system, we will continue working towards systems with easy operation and low maintenance.
We are now applying for a Phase II with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in order to continue prototype’s improvement, develop mechanisms to ensure pathogen die-off and to scale up production. In this phase we are working with several partners for improvement of robustness, pathogen die-off, developing a business plan development including a marketing strategy, and field-testing.
We believe our prototypes can be available for large-scale projects in about one year, depending upon successful implementation of our planned demonstrations and the availability for funding for facilities and tools. We think our major markets are rural and disadvantaged suburban communities, where other sanitation alternatives are economically not achievable and where the by-products (compost and urine) can be effectively recycled.

Links, further readings, etc:

Documents available in SuSanA library:
susana.org/lang-en/library/library?view=...p;type=2&id=1779

Short description on the webpage of “Partners in Development”: www.pid.co.za/index.php/abstracts2/99-fi...waterless-sanitation

Presentation from the 2nd Fecal Sludge Management Conference 2012 in Durban: www.susana.org/images/documents/07-cap-d...n-terris-ecuador.pdf

Youtube film on the presentation from the 2nd Fecal Sludge Management Conference 2012 in Durban: )

Youtube film “Baño Ecológico Taladro de la Tierra / Composting Toilet”:
Youtube film “Baño Ecológico "Taladro de la Tierra" en Ecuavisa”:

Pictures:

sanitarioeco.gif


Capturadepantalla2012-10-31alas19.04.01.png


DSC_4276.JPG


IMG_2870.jpg


IMG_2685.jpg


IMG_2708.jpg
Attachments:
Marcos Fioravanti B.
Taladro de la Tierra Project
Fundación In Terris / Critical Practices LLC

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Last Edit: 14 Jan 2014 10:51 by muench.
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Re: The Earth Auger Toilet: Innovation in Waterless Sanitation (Fundación In Terris, Ecuador) 09 Apr 2013 11:38 #4087

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    dorothee.spuhler
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Dear Marcos

Thank you for the Introduction of you and your colleague and of el Baño Ecológico "Taladro de la Tierra" !

Where are the pictures taken from and how many prototypes do you have built so far?
What are the current costs of construction and o&m and what is the limit you aim to attain?
You mention the development of a business model for the next phase and that you see your main market are rural and disadvantaged suburban communities. How would those be reached and what are your partners for this second phase?

Regards

Dorothee
Dorothee Spuhler
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Re: The Earth Auger Toilet: Innovation in Waterless Sanitation (Fundación In Terris, Ecuador) 12 Apr 2013 16:24 #4136

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    mtfioravanti
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Hi Dorothee!

Thanks for your questions.

Those pictures are in Ecuador, in a periurban community called Monte Sinaí. There are more than 250.000 people living withaut sanitation services; no sewage, just improvized and non safety solutions. We have been testing prototypes in this community during the last 5 or 6 years, but during 2012 we tested 6 of our lastest versions.

The current cost is around $200 depending on the version. But now we have found ways to do it a lot cheaper, even without going big scale technologies like plastic injection. The goal is to produce it for less than $150, and we are realizing that is toatally possible with the lastest approaches. My colleague Chuck Henry can tell more about this.

We have big plans for our second phase, but it is still under evaluation by the Gates Foundation. I prefer to wait until we have official agreements, but we are working on partnerships in different subjects: pathogens elimination, market research and business plan, local authorities in housing, health and sanitation, testing parts and components, etc.

Regards!, Marcos
Marcos Fioravanti B.
Taladro de la Tierra Project
Fundación In Terris / Critical Practices LLC

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Last Edit: 12 Apr 2013 16:25 by mtfioravanti. Reason: Grammatical erros!

Re: The Earth Auger Toilet: Innovation in Waterless Sanitation (Fundación In Terris, Ecuador) 12 Apr 2013 21:19 #4139

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    muench
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Dear Marcos,

Thanks very much for your detailed description of your research grant with all those photos and videos, much appreciated! I wish you all the best with this project!

But I always immediately worry when I see an auger (same as "screw conveyor" in this context?) to move faecal matter from A to B. I suspect it could easily be blocked and then it would be very, very messy and difficult to repair it, wouldn't it? Do you have photos of such an unblocking activity?

Also, I wondered why the auger has to be so long, but then I realised that this is your composting chamber, right? How do you get enough air and moisture into it for composting? The air cannot get in from the length of plastic pipe, only at the front and back, right? Do you have photos and analyses about the compost that comes out in the end (in your ppt it says that it stays in the pipe for a total of 1-4 months)?

COMPOST EXIT
A small amount of
compost exits after
each flush, having
been detained for 1-
4 months
(depending upon
number of users)


Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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Last Edit: 12 Apr 2013 21:20 by muench.
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Re: The Earth Auger Toilet: Innovation in Waterless Sanitation (Fundación In Terris, Ecuador) 13 Apr 2013 15:12 #4141

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    christoph
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Dear Marcos,
I remember a very similar product from South Africa.
Could you explain where is the difference to the Toilet shown in this video


from this company http://www.ecosan.co.za/product_info.html?

I remember there was quite a discussion in ecosan res icluding prices, failure. It is (? was?) a plastic molded, ready to sell, product. From what I recall it was not too cheap.
From my understanding it is almost the same. It would be interesting to understand the differences.

Thanks a lot
Christoph
Last Edit: 13 Apr 2013 16:10 by christoph.

Re: The Earth Auger Toilet: Innovation in Waterless Sanitation (Fundación In Terris, Ecuador) 13 Apr 2013 16:48 #4142

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    christoph
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I looked up the old posts in ECOSAN res.
Richard Holden posted in 2010 that they where still beeing manufacured (post #6102), the first time they were mentioned by Detlef Schwager #3089.
Actually I realized the discussion was started by Chris Canaday, so I guess you know the South African people.
Attached you find the installation guide with a lot of useful data (taken from the technical area in Yahoo ecosanres)
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Yours
Christoph
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Re: The Earth Auger Toilet: Innovation in Waterless Sanitation (Fundación In Terris, Ecuador) 14 Apr 2013 19:18 #4143

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    jkeichholz
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re: the South African version - I've found some more snapshots from an excursion by (then) GTZ-ecosan in 2003:


IMG_0099.JPG


IMG_0100.JPG


IMG_0101.JPG


IMG_0102.JPG


I believe the difference to be the sawdust vs. fan.
Juergen Eichholz
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water, sanitation, IT & knowledge management
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Last Edit: 14 Apr 2013 19:23 by jkeichholz.
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Re: The Earth Auger Toilet: Innovation in Waterless Sanitation (Fundación In Terris, Ecuador) 15 Apr 2013 15:48 #4150

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    chuckhenry
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I'm pleased that the auger is being used in more toilets! It makes so much sense to use it to add mixing, aeration and movement, doesn't it? I hope more composting toilets will adopt this idea - and improve/add features that neither EcoSan nor El Taladro currently have - while, of course, respecting each of our unique designs.

A little history: the original 'Earth Auger' (a.k.a. El Taladro de la Tierra) was built in 2001 - my first composting toilet as a potential tool for a University of Washington study abroad program in India. At that time it was affectionately called 'The Poo Screw.' Later, it was disclosed to the University of Washington (who did investigate the similarities of EcoSan with my design).

Since that time Marcos and I have added and tested a number of features (including single lever flush, auger turning and cover material distribution) - many of the developed during the period of our Phase I Gates Foundation grant - and still with the goal of being able to sell the unit for about $150.

To have two great products that have been developed independently (I assume) validates the concept, wouldn't you agree?

Re: The Earth Auger Toilet: Innovation in Waterless Sanitation (Fundación In Terris, Ecuador) 15 Apr 2013 16:28 #4151

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    chuckhenry
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Hi Elizabeth,

Blockage - in one of our earlier models (30cm dia pipe, 2 m long) we had trouble turning the auger when it sat too long, but not an actual blockage. Since that time, we've gone to a 20cm pipe and 1.5 m - more for cost reduction than blockage problems. This greatly reduces torque on the axis, as you would imagine.

Our latest prototype has additional features to help mix and breakup the materials Please suggest something to test!

And, yes, the auger is that long to get a good start on the composting - to make it an acceptable looking/smelling material to store for required pathogen dieoff.
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Re: The Earth Auger Toilet: Innovation in Waterless Sanitation (Fundación In Terris, Ecuador) 16 Apr 2013 17:24 #4164

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    chuckhenry
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About moisture and air, Elizabeth -

"How do you get enough air and moisture into it for composting?" As you know, feces are about 65% water, sawdust varies but can be anywhere from 20% to over 50% water; and that the ideal moisture for composting is between 40-60%. So, one could assume that initially the mix of materials is about right for ideal composting. (Obviously different cover materials will yield different initial conditions - my favorite cover material is used coffee grounds! And yours???) We have a passive air ventilation system (black pipe) that does a great job of moving the air from the toilet seat up through the vent via heating by sunlight. That is more than adequate, and in fact may dry the compost too much through the compost chamber. We have found both situations - in Ecuador, the material dries out too much, in my house in the mountains outside of Seattle, i have experimented around with venting and have greatly reduced the moisture loss - can actually achieve a little leachate (the CO2 evolves, the moisture is left behind). Moisture is definitely a parameter that we are in the process of fine-tuning over our continued development of new prototypes. And we certainly expect to have to adjust the system(s) for various climactic conditions. For example, our next phase calls for demonstrations in the hot humid, hot arid, and the cool Andes.

Re: The Earth Auger Toilet: Innovation in Waterless Sanitation (Fundación In Terris, Ecuador) 17 Apr 2013 07:16 #4169

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    JKMakowka
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Interesting, so you don't actually try to dry the solids as in the classic UDDT approach? How do you prevent excessive smell and maggot/fly larvae infestation etc.?
Krischan Makowka
WASH Delegate - Philippines

Re: The Earth Auger Toilet: Innovation in Waterless Sanitation (Fundacion In Terris, Ecuador) 18 Apr 2013 03:56 #4180

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I prefer to have a (at least a partially) composted product come out of the end of the chamber - much better looking as a soil amendment! We have, however, had situations where the solids dried out quickly due to too much sawdust being used (the family added extra sawdust in addition to what our dispenser provided because she said her children had never NOT had diarrhea and she wanted to keep the toilet clean). In one sense, this drier state may accelerate pathogen dieoff, but I personally object to having an end product that has recognizable dried feces. Not had much of a fly problem in any of our demos so far - presumably because the moisture/temperature is always in a good range for rapid composting. My personal prototype I was using/testing in my basement did have some very small black flies show up - but they disappeared when i started venting and reduced the excess moisture.

I'm sure we will run into conditions that promote fly problems in the future - we'll tackle that problem when/if it shows up!
Last Edit: 27 Jun 2013 11:16 by muench.
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