Water news: A machine to filter your toilet waste into water?

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Originally Published April 09, 2012 17:08
rediff.com

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Despite many successful water projects, billions of people still lack adequate water and sanitation.

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Water news:

Coming soon: A machine to filter your toilet waste into water?

April 09, 2012 17:08


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British scientists claim they are developing a unique device which can turn used toilet waste into drinking water.

Water news: A machine to filter your toilet waste into water?

A team at Manchester University, led by Sarah Haigh, says the innovation — which has been funded by billionaire Bill Gates [ Images ] — could transform the lives of millions of people in the third world. In fact, the scientists plan to have a prototype ready to demonstrate by 2013, the Daily Mail reported.

Haigh, an expert in nanotechnology, believes a new range of materials could extract energy from human waste. Although the result may not be bottled mineral water, she says the results could be the difference between life-and-death in regions without clean water.

She said: “There is a lot of energy already present in human waste. Nano-scale materials mean that you can harvest the hydrogen and turn it into hydrozene — which is basically rocket fuel.”

The scientists believe that a scaffold device holding a mixture of bacteria and tiny metal nano-particles will react with the water to extract useful hydrogen, with the remainder filtered again to produce clean water.

Dr Haigh said: “The phrase ‘off to spend a penny’ is used in polite society to refer to a visit to the lavatory. We plan to turn this essential everyday outgoing into an investment by developing novel materials that convert natural waste into a useable resource.

“This technology will be particularly important for remote locations in developing countries and will have the added benefits of reduced pollution and lower waste disposal costs.”

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