Gates Foundation launches several rounds of reinvent the toilet challenge (RTTC)

  • Carol McCreary
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Re: Gates Foundation launches 2nd round of reinvent the toilet challenge

Appreciated succinct, informative overview of the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge on Saniblog. Let's hope more in depth reporting which is accessible to the general public is coming. Many the early stories have been superficial.

Jack Sim introduced me to Sallie Tisdale who is working on a Reinventing the Toilet feature for the New York Times Magazine. Should be good.

At the Fair yesterday, the conversations were extremely rich. I was impressed by some of the low tech solutions that haven't gotten a lot of play in the media. The use of black soldier fly larvae and tiger worms by London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. re:char with its factory in a 20-foot container to produce oil drum bio char stoves which double as UD toilets. And Andrew Lerner's low-cost 5 unit structures for emergencies; pee and poop fall directly into the long term composting pile. Here are a a few photos. www.flickr.com/photos/28305104@N07/sets/72157631102590654/

Carol McCreary
Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human (PHLUSH)
1240 W. Sims Way #59, Port Townsend, Washington 98368 USA

Toilet availability is a human right and well-designed sanitation systems restore health to our cities, our waters and our soils.
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  • Carol McCreary
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Re: Gates Foundation launches 2nd round of reinvent the toilet challenge

Who knows what's the best is until folks tweak and retweak in the light of feedback like this. But the Fair had dozens of potentially huge, low tech innovations that the press missed, in mostly congratulating the winners.

Also I wonder how the prize money was scaled to fit the need for tweaking and next iterations. There are folks working in their backyards on whole system approaches with exquisite monitoring who could do a whole lot with a couple of thousand bucks.

Carol McCreary
Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human (PHLUSH)
1240 W. Sims Way #59, Port Townsend, Washington 98368 USA

Toilet availability is a human right and well-designed sanitation systems restore health to our cities, our waters and our soils.
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  • Markh79
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Re: Gates Foundation launches 2nd round of reinvent the toilet challenge

Thanks for the update Carol. I look forward to when the details of these low tech solutions are readily available to the public.

In my opinion the ambitious challenge should ignite the developed world wastewater utilities to recallibrate their benchmarks of what they are aiming for. As suggested by Christoph it would be great to see the developed world waste water utilities get behind the challenge and use their capacity to support the gates foundations findings or go it alone. At the end of the day if they are successful it will revolutionise sanitation globally.

It would have been nice if the winner had satisfied the challenge to utilise the internal energy and chemical potential of excreta. as suggested by the gates foundation quote posted by Elisabeth, which was:

"...Thermodynamic calculation shows that excreta contains enough embodied energy to sustain a chemical process (drying, combustion, heating, filtration, evaporation etc)."

Im interested to hear more about the solutions that met this criteria.
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  • Carol McCreary
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Re: Gates Foundation launches 2nd round of reinvent the toilet challenge

See the latest blog post at PHLUSH.org. Some prototypes appeared to come to fruition very recently. Each exhibit had handouts but by Day 3 they were running out.

It might be useful for me to list the two dozen or so exhibitors ( in several categories - not just the contestants ). That way we can inquire or look for news items and details on their websites as they are posted.

Carol McCreary
Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human (PHLUSH)
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Toilet availability is a human right and well-designed sanitation systems restore health to our cities, our waters and our soils.
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  • Markh79
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Re: Gates Foundation launches 2nd round of reinvent the toilet challenge

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  • srhoton
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Re: Reinvent the toilet fair in Seattle 14-15 August

I received several news links from friends, family, and colleagues who know my interest in sustainable sanitation. Below are a few that I didn't see posted here. I'm happy so many major news networks covered the story! Has anyone seen a full list of all models shown at the fair?

Regards, Sara

www.abc.net.au/news/2012-08-15/bill-gate...t-the-toilet/4199962

www.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2012-08...60480/1?csp=obinsite

www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations...01f1abab19_blog.html

m.futureoftech.msnbc.msn.com/technology/...-funded-prize-942373
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  • RowanBarber
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Re: Gates Foundation launches 2nd round of reinvent the toilet challenge

I am looking forward to hearing about some of the other entrants in the "Reinvent the toilet" challenge. If nothing else it is great to see some mainstream media coverage of the issues faced by 2.6 billion people.

Rowan Barber
Australian Sustainable Business Group
Engineers Without Borders Australia
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  • sjoerdnienhuys
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Re: Gates Foundation launches 2nd round of reinvent the toilet challenge

@Marijn of post 24 may.
The same solution may not be suitable for the urban people and the rural people. An increasing number of people is living in urban areas and focus can be on middle and low income housing. The question raised is how people can afford the installations, which are probably as costly as a motor cycle. The income can hardly be generated from the cash-flow of these people, but they can contribute in terms of their excrements, labour and organisation. An important point for low-income communities is that they must be able to manufacture and maintain the equipment themselves. Any comparison with telephone or car industries does not work.
The commercialization of the excrements needs to be optimized to pay for a substantial part of the installation. This means that biogas extraction and use is a must. Not only the gas can be used for cooking, but methane is a mayor greenhouse gas. On a large scale operation the local authorities or the installation company can obtain Carbon Emission Rights (CERs) which contribute greatly to the finance of the installation. In addition commercialization of the resulting compost and urine is important to reduce the countries dependency on most of the important fertilizers. Hence countries implementing an integrated toilet system according to the ideas of BMGF can subsidize the installation for not needing to spend foreign currency on fertilizer imports.
The design of the unit can be greatly mechanized, but middle income and low income communities can also supply paid labour for making the equipment operating. Opening and closing doors, lifting and closing toilet seats are part of the operation. This means that instead of a high level of auto-mechanization, some labour input is required. Local operators can generates local income. Low income people are more prepared to pay a little when local people keep the system clean and working.
The disposition of sanitary towels should be taken care of.
The absence of a public sewage system reduces municipal costs on installation and maintenance or sewage processing. This is translated either in lowering connection cost or subsidy for those that are not connected to the sewer system.
The processing of kitchen waste should be included which is beneficial for the biogas production and grey water can be used for flushing and eventually recycled within the unit through membrane technology, and outside the unit for urban garding.
On another Susana forum I had posted a sketch for such a unit, which can be build in components and fitted into existing or new buildings.
Although it has not a sewer connection some of the activities such as struvite production or drying the effluent need to be done centralized for efficiency.

Sjoerd from The Netherlands.
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  • Marijn Zandee
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Re: Gates Foundation launches 2nd round of reinvent the toilet challenge

@ Carol Thanks for the link to the blog, it has been hard to find more information on the lets say "non-winners" of the contest. I am not sure but you seemed to be considering making an index of all participants, with their web-sites. I would greatly appreciate it if you would take that effort.

@ Elizabeth As far as other media covering the story, I also found it in one dutch paper (NRC Handelsblad) and it was also covered in the Irish Times.

@ Sjoerd
I think some of the points you raise echo my concerns. The high-tech approach that for instance the winner of this challenge takes, makes it in my view not very suited for low-income families. For one, how will they pay for it? I fully agree that solutions that can be in part "home build" are better, not only financially, but also from a perspective of people taking ownership and understanding how they can O&M their toilet.

Further, I would be very hesitant to financially underpin a sanitation system with carbon credits. I am really afraid that companies at some point are not going to keep spending money on them. The process is too non-transparent and too many countries opt out. I think any project that largely depends on CERs may find themselves in trouble a few years from now. But that is just an opinion :-).

Lastly, I did enjoy your sketch. However just struvite removal from the urine is not going to be sufficient. As that does not take care of most of the ammonium, so you need further processing.

Regards

Marijn

Marijn Zandee

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  • jkeichholz
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Re: Gates Foundation launches 2nd round of reinvent the toilet challenge

And here's the Flickr set of the event via BMGF www.flickr.com/photos/gatesfoundation/se...548/with/7780869398/

(though Carol's PLUSH Flickr set is much better :-)

Juergen Eichholz
watsan eng.
water, sanitation, IT & knowledge management
www.saniblog.org

Toilets in Frankfurt/Main www.facebook.com/ffmtoi
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  • Carol McCreary
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Re: Gates Foundation launches 2nd round of reinvent the toilet challenge

Hi, everyone,

As promised, below is the list of the 35 exhibitors copied from the Reinvent the Toilet Fair program. Please note that they come from various categories: GCEG = Grand Cghallenges Explorations Grantee RTC = Reinvent the Toilet Challenge Grantee. OE = Other Exhibitor At the Fair, RTC university teams were awarded prizes and several GCEG grants were announced.

When you find good (or interesting) technical info on these projects, can you tell us here? Sorry not to have time to search and add links as Marijn suggests. Prototyping evolves and I think exhibitors will start posting more in light of the feedback exchanges among them. (As I've located details I've posted at bottom of our blog post www.phlush.org/2012/08/17/reinvent-the-toilet-fair/ )

1. Fecal Sludge Omni-Ingestor. AGi Manufacturing, Synpase Product Development and DCI Automation, Beaumont Design, Inc. USA. OE

2. Educating children and their caregivers about good water, sanitation and hygiene practices. Sesame Workshop. OE

3. World Toilet Organization Singapore OE

4. Project Sammam Institute for Financial Management and Research [IFMR] represented by Quicksand. India OE

5. Improved latrine pans for pour flush systems. American Standard Brands. OE

6. The Great Wash Yatra: A sanitation and hygiene advocacy campaign Participating organizations: WASH United, quicksand Design, Germany and India. OE

7. Poop Games:Using Technology to design and improve sanitation. Hattery Labs LLC USA

8. An energy-producing, waterless toilet system. Loowatt, Ltd. United Kingdom. GCEG

9. A high-efficiency sanitary toilets with sewage treatment. Livvon LLC USA GCEG

10. A self-mixing biogas generator. Frontier Environmental Technology. GCEG

11. Developing fortified fertilizer pellets from human waste. International Water Management Institute, Ghana. GCEG

12. Sewage Containment and Mineralization Device. (SeCoM) Institute for Residential Innovation [IResl] GCEG

13. Tiger Toilet and Black Soldier Fly Larvae System "The Kone" Longon School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. United Kingdom GCEG

14. Bioelectric Toilet University of Colorado, Denver, USA GCEG

15.Developing chemicals to self-clean and disinfect toilets. American Environmental Systems. USA. GCEG

16. Modeling the next generation of sanitation systems. University College, London. GCEG

17. A toilet that converts human waste to fuel gas. Delft University of Technology. The Netherlands. RTC.

18. The Microflush Biofil Toilet. participating organizations: Ghana Sustainable Aid Project and Biofilcom Ltd. USA. GCEG

19. Diversion for safe sanitation participating organizations: EAWAG: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology; EOOS. Switzerland. RTC

20. A community bathroom block that recovers clean water, nutrients, and energy. University of Kwazulu-Natal. South Africa. RTC

21. A toilet that produces biological charcoal, minerals and clean water. Longborough University, United Kingdom. RTC

22. A device that sterilizes fecal sludge. Oklahoma State University USA GCEG

23. The Earth Auger Toilet: Innovation in waterless sanitation [el taladro de la tierra]. Fundacíon Ub Terris. Ecuador. GCEG

24. A toilet that sanitizes feces and urine to recover resources and energy. University of Toronto. Canada. RTC

25. Safe sludge project. University of California, berkley. USA. GCEG

26. A vortex bioreactor that processes fecal sludge and wastewater. Plymouth Marine Laboratory, United Kingdom. GCEG

27. A device to improve latrine emptying. North Carolina State University. USA GCEG

28. A urine-diverting combustion toilet. National University of Singapore. Singapore. GCEG

29. Urban sanitation solutions for high-use flooded, and difficult to serve areas. Fontes Foundation, Norway/ Haiti. GCEG

30. A solar-powered toilet that generates hydrogen and electricity. California Institute of Technology, USA. RTC

31. Converting human waste to biological charcoal re:char, USA GCEG

32. A wind-driven sanitation systems. A wind-driven sanitation system. GCEG

33. On-site fecal sludge extraction and disposal system. Shijiazhuand University of Economics, China. GCEG

34. A solar steam sterilizer to theat human waste. Rice University, USA GCEG

35. A sanitation system that comverst human waste into biological charcoal. Participating organizations: Stanford University and the Climate Foundation, USA RTC

Carol McCreary
Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human (PHLUSH)
1240 W. Sims Way #59, Port Townsend, Washington 98368 USA

Toilet availability is a human right and well-designed sanitation systems restore health to our cities, our waters and our soils.
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  • erikmartinsson
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Re: Gates Foundation launches 2nd round of reinvent the toilet challenge

Here is a link to Sanitation Ventures homepage with information on the Black Soldier Fly and Tiger worm projects:

www.sanitationventures.com/innovation-bsf-additives.htm

More technical information on teh systems will likely be posted soon...

Sanitation ventures also have a blog that you might want to keep an eye on!

www.blog.sanitationventures.com/
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