New toilet turns human waste into resources
SINGAPORE - Scientists from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have developed a new toilet system that converts human waste to electricity and fertiliser.
It also reduces the amount of water needed for flushing by up to 90 per cent, compared to current toilet systems in Singapore.
Dubbed the No-Mix Vacuum Toilet, the system has two chambers which separate liquid and solid wastes.
Using vacuum suction technology, flushing liquids takes only 0.2 litre of water while flushing solids requires only one litre. Existing toilets use four to six litres of water per flush.
Liquid waste will be diverted to a processing facility where components used for fertilisers can be recovered, while solid waste is sent to a bioreactor to release bio-gas which contains methane. Methane can be used in stoves or be converted to electricity.
"Singapore has been relatively clean over the last few decades, but we can still improve a little bit," said Associate Professor Wang Jing-Yuan, Director of NTU's Residues and Resource Reclamation Centre. "In Singapore we don't have natural resources, that is why we've been thinking if we can use all these waste materials. To me, all these are resources."
Scientists have been working on the system since 2010. The system is part of a project that has received S$10 million from Singapore's National Research Foundation's Competitive Research Programme.
The NTU plans to carry out a six-month trial starting next month, with prototypes installed in two toilets in the university and used by an estimated 500 students.
Talks are also underway to test bed the project in a new town in two years' time. Scientists further hope to commercialise the system and export it to other countries.
By Olivia Siong
27 June 2012
NTU scientists have developed the No-Mix Vacuum Toilet that converts human waste to electricity and fertiliser. PHOTO COURTESY NTU