An innovative water recycling and energy producing toilet design of the future is the intention of the Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who wants to solve problems involving sanitation, water conservation and saving energy. Last year Gates gave $100,000 in prize money to the California Institute of Technology among other universities for their research on modern toilet design.
A new bathroom toilet design will improve health in the developing world, where 1.5 million children under the age of 5 die each year from sanitation problems, caused by open defecation. The current Western style toilets use too much water and a complex sewer system, which contributes to these health risks.
Gates decided to improve modern toilet design and technology, which have remained unchanged for almost 250 years. The first flush toilet was invented back in 1775 and has not really changed since its initial creation. We need to continue to collaborate, stimulate new investment in this sector, and apply our ingenuity in the years ahead to enjoy new innovations and green toilet design ideas that will revolutionize sanitation in the developing world and transform our dependence on traditional flush toilets in wealthy nations, Bill Gates says.
Modern toilet designs for the future
The challenge of creating modern toilets for the future is to design eco friendly products that are hygienic, safe and affordable, while using little water and produce some energy to operate itself. The modern toilet designs are required to make waste into energy, clean water and nutrients.
Bill Gates gave the award to Michael Hoffman of the California Institute of Technology for the winning entry in the Reinventing the Toilet design contest.
The team from Caltech got the first prize of $100,000 for its working model of a solar-powered bathroom with an innovative toilet design, where a solar panel produces power for an electrochemical reactor that breaks down feces and urine into hydrogen gas, which can be stored in hydrogen fuel cells to provide a back-up energy source for night operation or use in low-sunlight conditions.
Gates is hoping that technologically advanced modern toilet designs will become integrated into society within the next two to four years. His foundation currently spends $80 million per year to address the issues of water, sanitation and hygiene, and create more eco friendly products that support green living ideas.
by Ena Russ
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