Skip to comments.Bill Gates Names Reinvent the Toilet Challenge Winners
Posted on 08/18/2012 2:34:37 PM PDT by null and void
Bill Gates has announced the winners of the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge an effort to develop next-generation toilets that will deliver safe and sustainable sanitation to the 2.5 billion people worldwide who dont have it. The awards recognize researchers from leading universities who are developing innovative ways to manage human waste, which will help improve the health and lives of people around the world.
California Institute of Technology in the United States received the $100,000 first prize for designing a solar-powered toilet that generates hydrogen and electricity. Loughborough University in the United Kingdom won the $60,000 second place prize for a toilet that produces biological charcoal, minerals and clean water. University of Toronto in Canada won the third place prize of $40,000 for a toilet that sanitizes feces and urine and recovers resources and clean water. Special recognition and $40,000 went to Eawag (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology) and EOOS for their outstanding design of a toilet user interface.
One year ago, the foundation issued a challenge to universities to design toilets that can capture and process human waste without piped water, sewer or electrical connections, and transform human waste into useful resources, such as energy and water, at an affordable price.
The first, second and third place winning prototypes were recognized for most closely matching the criteria presented in the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge.
Teams showcased their prototypes and projects at a two-day event held at the foundations headquarters in Seattle on August 14 and 15, 2012. The Reinvent the Toilet Fair brings together participants from 29 countries, including researchers, designers, investors, advocates, and representatives of the communities who will ultimately adopt these new inventions.
Innovative solutions change peoples lives for the better, said foundation Co-chair Bill Gates. If we apply creative thinking to everyday challenges, such as dealing with human waste, we can fix some of the worlds toughest problems.
Unsafe methods to capture and treat human waste result in serious health problems and death. Food and water tainted with fecal matter result in 1.5 million child deaths every year. Most of these deaths could be prevented with the introduction of proper sanitation, along with safe drinking water and improved hygiene.
Improving access to sanitation also can bring substantial economic benefits. According to the World Health Organization, improved sanitation delivers up to $9 in social and economic benefits for every $1 invested because it increases productivity, reduces healthcare costs, and prevents illness, disability and early death.
Other projects featured at the fair included better ways to empty latrines, user-centered designs for public toilet facilities, and insect-based latrines that decompose feces faster.
Imagine whats possible if we continue to collaborate, stimulate new investment in this sector, and apply our ingenuity in the years ahead, said Gates. Many of these innovations will not only revolutionize sanitation in the developing world, but also help transform our dependence on traditional flush toilets in wealthy nations.
Gates added: All the participants are united by a common desire to create a better world a world where no child dies needlessly from a lack of safe sanitation and where all people can live healthy, dignified lives.
The Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WSH) initiative is part of the foundations Global Development Program, which addresses issues such as agricultural development and financial services problems that affect the worlds poorest people but do not receive adequate attention. WSH has committed more than $370 million to this area, with a focus on developing sustainable sanitation services that work for everyone, including the poor.
The foundation also announced a second round of Reinvent the Toilet Challenge grants totaling nearly $3.4 million. The grants were awarded to: Cranfield University (United Kingdom); Eram Scientific Solutions Private Limited (India); Research Triangle Institute (United States); and the University of Colorado Boulder (United States).
Reinvent the Toilet Challenge Round 2 Winners
Cranfield University: This nearly $810,000 grant will help develop a prototype toilet that removes water from human waste and vaporizes it using a hand-operated vacuum pump and a unique membrane system. The remaining solids are turned into fuel that can also be used as fertilizer. The water vapor is condensed and can be used for washing or irrigation.
Eram Scientific Solutions Private Limited: A grant of more than $450,000 will make public toilets more accessible to the urban poor via the eco-friendly and hygienic eToilet.
Research Triangle Institute: This $1.3 million grant will fund the development of a self-contained toilet system that disinfects liquid waste and turns solid waste into fuel or electricity through a revolutionary new biomass energy conversion unit.
University of Colorado Boulder: A nearly $780,000 grant will help develop a solar toilet that uses concentrated sunlight, directed and focused with a solar dish and concentrator, to disinfect liquid-solid waste and produce biological charcoal (biochar) that can be used as a replacement for wood charcoal or chemical fertilizers.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving peoples health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people especially those with the fewest resources have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, WA, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.
Talk about flushing good money down a drain.
It must be nice to have so much money you can afford to throw it down the toilet.
Bill’s full o’shit.
This contest was over long ago - the co-winners were OS X and Linux.
Window 9 Beta program is now open.
Coming from one of the richest men in the world, that concept is ludicrous. Seriously, his own corporation pays people vastly different amounts of salary based upon their worth to that corporation.
I have no problem with trying to find novel ways to improve the basic well-being of the developing world. But there typically is no magic bullet. What it takes is a market-driven economy to produce the wealth for what we in this country take for granted - clean running water, flush toilets, good roads and a reliable food supply. There are no shortcuts to that. You have to build a society with enough wealth to support such.
Apparently we are now again up against The Klinton Toilet, Part No. Two !!!!!
The age of runaway stupid technology, coupled to dumbed-down common sense....blueprint for disaster...
If you build it, they will...er...go...
This is what the bored rich think up while contemplating life sitting on their gold thrones in 1,000 sq foot bathrooms.
All of these “winners” sound like they’re using tens of thousands of dollars of technology. How would that ever be available to all of the billions of human butts in the Third World (or should I say Turd World)?
This will be salvaged and dumped. No common sense.
No mention what a toilet generating hydrogen and electricity costs ... $20,000 each? Just curious.
BTW with 3 or 4 billion I can make a toilet that will light a good-sized city but I wouldn’t let anyone crap in it. ;-)
Sounds like a "solar toilet" is a bit like a combusting toilet that depends on intermittent sun power to do its job. Like, DUH, I'm going to wait till the sun's out to take a dump. The others have wonderful, flowery descriptions that are notably unaccompanied by any drawings or specs showing how they actually operate vs. conventional flush toilets. The lack of real performance information says volumes about ineffective they probably are. The "reporter" was a dolt for not getting it and obviously lacked a good editor.
We need to see a lot more before we can call any of these devices better than conventional flush toilets. Methinks they're mostly greenie monstrosities.
I think it was at our church where there was a poster that had a little kid in Africa saying something like “You poop in clean water?!”
The areas where these folks live are on the margins of usefullness. (Was it that comdedian Sam Kinison yelling for them to move?). But, for whatever reason they don’t move. Any technology that folks can come up with would have to be cheap. And even then it is way more than they can afford.
I recall a thread on FR awhile ago on how some guy in India caught rats for a living - they smoke them out. With a $25 device he was able to catch twice as many rats and send his child to school so he won’t have to be a rat catcher.
But - he still only got the device through some grant program. He was able to pay it off over time. But to think that a $25 device could improve someone’s life so much is hard to believe.
It is the same with the new stoves (rocket stoves). Cheap ($50 or less), fuel efficient (fuel that used to go in a day now lasts a week), and healthier (way less smoke) - but still out of reach of most of the folks that need them.
I imagine the same with these toilets - even if they are at $50 a pop it would be too much.
But hey - at least it’s Bill’s money, and not coming from the government. Although I imagine there are similar programs that we pay for.