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Earth Technology

Solar-Powered Toilet Torches Waste For Public Health 126

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-just-for-something-and-grins dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "With funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Reinvent the Toilet challenge, [a] team has developed a toilet that uses concentrated solar power to scorch and disinfect human waste, turning feces into a useful byproduct called biochar ... a sanitary charcoal material that is good for soils and agriculture. By converting solid waste to biochar (liquid waste is diverted elsewhere, as it's easier to deal with), the toilet thus allows for sanitary waste disposal without huge infrastructure investments. The toilet itself, called the Sol-Char, is a fascinating bit of engineering. In order to sanitize waste without the help of massive treatment facilities, Linden's team instead designed the toilet to scorch waste in a chamber heated by fiber optic cables that pipe in heat from solar collectors on the toilet's roof. 'A solar concentrator has all this light focused in on one centimeter. It'd be fine if we could bring everyone's fecal waste up to that one point, like burning it with a magnifying glass,' Linden said. 'But that's not practical, so we were thinking of other ways to concentrate that light.'"
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Solar-Powered Toilet Torches Waste For Public Health

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  • by sumdumass (711423) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @04:39AM (#46497213) Journal

    Why would you used a complex system like this? Because you are not at your summer house and instead in Haiti right after the earth quake where they can bring a bunch of these things in easily and have a more sanitary situation then waiting a year for it to decompose properly. Now exchange Haiti with any other city and any other disaster and you won't have to worry about your kids picking berries and foraging for food from the bush your neighbor shits under.

  • by anubi (640541) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @04:49AM (#46497237) Journal

    When some people accumulate enough wealth, they become empowered enough to make a difference in the history of man. Some ( like Gates ) are using their resources in a way which will benefit humanity, others will go out and buy all the rental property they can.

    I am hoping so badly ( hoping, mind you, not really anticipating ) that our lawmakers in Congress will see and craft tax law to encourage the kind of stuff Gates is doing and closing all of these tax advantages of simply rent-seeking and financial churning.

    If Gates gets favorable tax treatments for doing this kind of stuff, it only empowers him to do more similar things as well as lead others to use the power of their wealth in a similar manner.

    If there is one thing Gates has demonstrated over and over, he does have the leadership, organizational, and business skills to do it.

    I know I have left lots of anti-Microsoft rants here: I feel hypocritical in posting this. Those rants were my venting my frustration as an older guy about software becoming so un-necessarily complex with all these special interest groups trying to get their proprietary add-ons adopted into Windows that pranksters have started having a heyday leaving a mess in everyone's machine. I was rooting for a very simple but thoroughly understood OS that was pretty damned bulletproof. My feeling was if pranksters thought setting people's fancy little outhouses on fire, then what I wanted was a simple one made out of cinder block.

Arithmetic is being able to count up to twenty without taking off your shoes. -- Mickey Mouse