January 21, 2015--How to turn human waste into drinking water – and more (Guardian)

Bill Gates sipping from a glass of water doesn’t sound like riveting television. But add the subtitle: “This water was human waste five minutes earlier” and people will sit up and take notice. That’s precisely the reaction Gates was aiming for earlier this month when he unveiled a new technology on his blog which he claims could revolutionise the way sanitation is provided all over the developing world and improve the lives of millions of people. The Omniprocessor, which has been developed by Janicki Bioenery, a small family-run company north of Seattle, is a compact waste treatment plant that can process sewage for a community of about 100,000 people. Unlike modern sewage plants, which squander huge amounts of electricity treating waste, the technology combines incineration, steam power and filtration technologies to ensure no energy is wasted in the process. Its star turn is to generate 11,000 litres of high-grade drinking water a day – and that is just the start. The processor derives enough energy from the faecal matter it incinerates to run the unit, with 150kw a day spare to export to the grid. It also produces ash, which can be commercially valuable as a soil amendment. Gates said he was impressed by the engineering, and excited by the business model. “The processor wouldn’t just keep human waste out of the drinking water; it would turn waste into a commodity with real value in the marketplace. It’s the ultimate example of that old expression: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” To read the full article visit the Guardian.