The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Lifestyles

August 18, 2012

A winning way to deal with waste: The toilet, reinvented

A solar-powered toilet that turns urine and feces into hydrogen and electricity has won a $100,000 first prize in the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The prize was announced this week at the foundation's "Reinvent the Toilet Fair" in Seattle, Washington, which continued Wednesday and showcases dozens of projects that aim to create an inexpensive and eco-friendly alternative to the flush toilet. Researchers are expected to use more than 50 gallons of soy-based synthetic feces to demonstrate their prototypes during the 2-day fair.

The flush toilet is convenient and hygienic, but the technology has its drawbacks: It uses clean water to flush away a potential source of nutrients and energy, and it's prohibitively expensive for many of the estimated 2.6 billion people who lack access to sanitation. The Gates Foundation launched its toilet challenge a year ago, funding eight projects that aimed to invent a toilet that could be operated for 5 cents per user per day while recovering salt, water, nutrients, and energy.

The winning design, developed by Michael Hoffmann of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and his colleagues, uses solar power to run an electrochemical reactor that breaks down human waste to produce hydrogen gas. The gas can be stored and used to run the reactor at night or on cloudy days.

The $60,000 second place prize went to M. Sohail Khan of Loughborough University in the United Kingdom. He and his colleagues developed a toilet that transforms urine and feces into biological charcoal, which can be burned, and clean water.

Third place and $40,000 went to Yu-Ling Cheng of the University of Toronto in Canada and her colleagues whose design dehydrates and smolders solid waste, sanitizing it within 24 hours.

Tove Larsen of the aquatic research institute Eawag in Dübendorf, Switzerland, Harald Gründl of the design firm EOOS in Vienna, Austria and their colleagues won a special $40,000 prize "for their outstanding design of a toilet user interface."

Text Only
Lifestyles
  • Student leadership Alumni honor students at luncheon CLINTON -- Clinton Community College student leaders were recognized at a student leader luncheon. The CCC Alumni Association honored 30 students, who were nominated by the CCC staff and faculty for showing leadership in the classroom, on campus and

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • EICC to host career fair DAVENPORT-- Manufacturing jobs are available for those who look for them. Eastern Iowa Community College's Blong Technology Center is helping in that search with its upcoming Advanced Manufacturing Career Fair, from 2 to 6 p.m April 29. Several area

    April 18, 2014

  • CCC Veterans Association host 'Honor Flight' showing CLINTON -- The Clinton Community College Student Veterans Association will be host a public showing of the Honor Flight Movie at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 8. The movie will be shown at Clinton Community College Auditorium, 1000 Lincoln Blvd., Clinton. The

    April 17, 2014

  • Sound of Music Screenings showcase films at TLP MOUNT CARROLL, Ill. -- Timber Lake Playhouse will host two events next month. A sing-along "Sound of Music" event will be held at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 3, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 4, at the Mount Carroll theater. A screening of "Young Frankenstein

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • April is Donate Life Month

    CLINTON -- The month of April is National Donate Life Month across the United States. Hospitals across the nation, like Mercy Medical Center in Clinton, join to recognize the impact that organ and tissue donations make and to honor the generosity of

    April 17, 2014

  • Screen shot 2014-04-11 at 4.49.09 PM.png Train, entertain your pets with these 3 smartphone apps

    While they may not have thumbs to use the phone, pets can benefit from smartphone apps designed specifically for them.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Alternatives available for addicts DEAR ANNIE: I enjoy reading your column and agree with most of your advice, including your recommendations when it comes to handling alcohol addictions and binge drinking. I do not work in this field, but I've seen alternatives to AA that may be more

    April 12, 2014

  • Peace Soup Peace Soup completes 7th year CLINTON -- Peace Soup concluded its seventh year this week. Peace Soup was held for five Tuesdays during the Lenten season. The series for 2014, "Interfaith Connections to Peace," featured the topic of Christianity. Elizabeth Liggett, pastor at St.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Milkweed plants Raising awareness of milkweed MAQUOKETA -- The Hurstville Interpretive Center will attempt to raise public awareness about milkweed plants. The center is holding a plant sale for area residents to try to include more milkweed plants in the region for monarch butterflies. The sale

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Women's club extends sale CLINTON -- The Clinton Women's Club has extended the deadline for the group's annual silent auction. The deadline for bids is through Saturday for the purse and bag silent auction at the George Curtis Mansion, 420 Fifth Ave. South. During this past w

    April 9, 2014

Elections
Front page
Clinton Herald Photos


Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.

Poll

Should the city of Clinton appeal the open records violation ruling that will cost taxpayers $40,600?

Yes
No
     View Results
AP Video
Olympics 2014
Featured Comment
Featured Ads
Blue Zones Project
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.