Video: A New Toilet
This past August, a University of Toronto engineering team won third prize ($40,000) in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, which called for a toilet design that
…renders the bodily wastes of an adult human into water, CO2, and mineral ash; at a per capita daily total cost not to exceed $0.05; in a safe, enduring, environmentally satisfactory manner that is adequately human-engineered; in a way that it will be widely acceptable by the world’s poorest people.
The resulting prototype had to look beyond traditional toilet systems. Wastewater infrastructure is not common, and traditional toilets use water–a scarce resource in many developing countries.
The U of T solution uses a sand filter and UV-ray disinfecting chamber to process liquid waste and a smolder chamber, similar to a charcoal barbeque, to incinerate solid waste that has been flattened and dried in a roller/belt assembly. The result is a toilet that is sustainable, easy to use, and that processes waste while protecting the community from contamination. Click here to view a video explaining the design.
Professor Yu-Ling Cheng, head of the Centre for Global Engineering, is a member of the team that developed the toilet. “The design challenges forced us to be more creative,” she says in the below video interview. “We have to take into account the users, their cultural assumptions, their financial limitations, the climate and weather… we become much more connected when we [understand the context]. We become global engineers, global citizens.”
PHOTO: Via engineering.utoronto.ca