Gates-Funded Future Toilet That Will Change How We Think About Poop
Friday, February 21, 2014
Yan Qu and Clement Cid spend a lot more time thinking about poop than your average academics. The pair, both at Caltech, are part of a team working on what could be the future of bathrooms: a self-cleaning, solar-powered toilet that turns human waste into hydrogen and fertilizer.
In 2012, their toilet won the Gates Foundation’s Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, which asked entrants to create a safe, cheap, and hygienic toilet–one that could serve the 2.5 billion people around the world who lack access to safe sanitation. Now the toilet system is getting some help from the toilet maker Kohler and taking a trip to India for testing.
The Caltech toilet has been a long time in the making. In his previous job as co-founder Sonoma Research, team leader and Caltech engineer Michael Hoffman worked on a number of toilet-related projects, from U.S. Navy wastewater treatment plants to a NASA space shuttle system for urine removal. The Gates-approved toilet is, in a sense, a continuation of this work.
- Health Care