Toilet Of The Future Has Been Selected By Bill Gates (Here’s What It Looks Like)

    August 15, 2012
    Chris Crum
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What will the toilet of the future look like? How will it work? These are questions the Bill & Linda Gates foundation sought the answers to with its “Reinventing the Toilet” initiative. Now, the Foundation has selected a winner for its “Toilet Fair,” a competition designed to encourage breakthroughs in the toilet and sanitation space.

First, a little background.

“Poop. Doo Doo. Number 2. Kaka. Crap. $#%@. There’s a ton of it, and dozens of words to describe it, but for 2.6 billion people around the globe, there’s no place to actually do it,” a promo video from the Gates Foundation says. “Imagine that. No reliable, sanitary toilet. What would you do? Well, what you have to do – use anything you can find, which means in no time, you have a big pile of problems, like diseases – deadly diseases that are filling half the hospital beds in developing countries.”

“The flush toilet, as you and I know it, requires a massive amount of sewer infrastructure and immense amounts of water – two things increasingly hard to come by,” the video says. “Now is the time to eliminate that health hazard, recycle waste, and turn crap into valuable resources, like clean burning fuel, fertilizer, and believe it or not, fresh water. Today, our toilets can’t do that, but the toilet of tomorrow can…Let’s get our $#%@ together, and do it.”

Bill Gates discussed the winners on his official site, TheGatesNotes:

This week in Seattle, the foundation is holding a Reinvent the Toilet Fair. Today I awarded prizes to three universities who responded to our challenge a year ago to come up with solutions for capturing and processing human waste and transforming it into useful resources. The winners included: first place to California Institute of Technology in the United States for designing a solar-powered toilet that generates hydrogen and electricity, second place to Loughborough University in the United Kingdom for a toilet that produces biological charcoal, minerals, and clean water, and third place to University of Toronto in Canada for a toilet that sanitizes feces and urine and recovers resources and clean water. A special recognition was awarded to Eawag (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology) and EOOS for their outstanding design of a toilet user-interface.

Here’s the winner from the California Institute of Technology:

Toilet Of The Future

It’s described as, “A self-contained, solar-powered toilet and wastewater treatment system. A solar panel will produce enough power for an electrochemical reactor that is designed to break down water and human waste into hydrogen gas. The gas can then be stored for use in hydrogen fuel cells to provide a backup energy source for nighttime operation or use under low-sunlight conditions.”

Here’s what the Delft University of Technology came up with:

Toilet Of The Future Number Two

This one is described as, “A toilet system that applies microwave technology to transform human waste into electricity. The waste will be gasified using a microwave-induced plasma. This process will yield synthesis gas (syngas), a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The syngas will then be fed to a solid oxide fuel-cell to generate electricity.”

Here’s one from Eawag: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology and EOOS

Future Toilet 3

This one is described as, “A functional model of a urine-diverting toilet that recovers water for flushing. The urine and feces will be safely transported to a decentralized processing center. The water used for cleaning will be recycled by a gravity-driven biological membrane.”

And here’s what Loughborough University came up with:

Toilet Of The Future 4

It’s a toilet that produces biological charcoal, minerals, and clean water.

Bill Gates has been tweeting about the initiative and its winners throughout the week:

The Telegraph is sharing a short video from the event:

“Inventing new toilets is one of the most important things we can do to reduce child deaths and disease and improve people’s lives,” Gates said on his site. “It is also something that can help wealthier countries conserve fresh water for other important purposes besides flushing.”

“We don’t have all the answers yet, but I’m optimistic that we can and will solve this problem,” he added. “I’m hopeful that this unusual summer fair will be a positive step toward that important goal.”

It certainly looks like some pretty creative minds are on the case.


    Now , that’s some $#!T you can believe in!!!

  • Lin

    I’m sorry but until they show something the average American can relate to, this adventure is not really realistic. By the way ,how does one prepare to use one of these facilities??

    • http://www.webpronews.com/author/chris-crum Chris Crum

      I think the idea is more geared toward those who don’t have toilets to begin with.

      • Lenny Bruce Jacobs

        Here is how you prepare…get a good paying career so you can spend your money on this…while some working class plumber is laughing his butt off!

  • Lori

    The best toilet around for the environment is a composting toilet which has been around for awhile…or the outhouse :)

    • Carolyn

      I agree about the composting toilets. Why reinvent the wheel? These look too fancy and expensive.

      The best composting toilets separate the liquids from the solids, which allows the solids to break down faster. Then the compost can be used to fertilize fruit trees, thus producing food.

      Old-fashioned outhouses are not a good idea, oxygen never gets incorporated into the mixture, so the wastes don’t readily break down, and they pollute the groundwater.

      • Colleen

        I agree about the composting toilets and can see the use for compost as fetilizer . Every home should have one so it could help stop the spread of disease. In our drinking water, But I think Bill Gates is looking for a profit from this thats why he is looking at someone to come up with a idea that would produce an energy replacement for our use of hydro and fuel. Not sure where the water fits in this picture other than using less or having your own filtration recycle system in your home . Septic systems and wells always work well and wind mills never had to rely on anyone else for water or hydro. cheeper cleaner thats the key . Birth control needs to be a must for the ritch and the poor and there are some that need to be fixed so they never have kids .

  • http://chennal4newsteam Brick Tamland

    Hey! where did you get those cloths? At the toilet, store? I LOVE LAMP!

  • its me

    If these 2.5 billion people cannot afford to get 1775 technology how are they suppose to afford one of these monsters?

    • Funniest Julie

      Absolutely!… I´m agree..

    • Edward

      I totally agree! its a costly project..

    • John Grayson

      Even the Africans (along with Bill Gates) understand you need infrastructure to take the stuff away. Your toilet is connected to something that goes to something that treats and safely disposes of your stuff. Duh. These devices use solar power which just happen to be there and other technologies to rid the waste of its health danger on the location. On the subject of costs it is amazing that someone has to tell you the money and Bill Gates are known to be connected along with philanthropy. Just to think some of you think the Africans are dumb when you don’t know sh..

  • Lenny Bruce Jacobs

    I sit I shit I wipe I walk….this isn’t rocket science….why spend so much on something you shit into….computer? TV? you are there to crap….I just dont get it…I must be on the wrong planet..

    • http://yahoo Ernest

      He misse one important thing. You can’t teach the people of Africa to use a simple toilet. Missionaires have been trying to do this for over a hundred years and as soon as they leave the Africans go back to using the woods or sand because they do not have to clean it up.

    • Jason Challandes

      Yeah it is easy if you have a toilet, plumbing and running clean water

    • Commander

      You are.
      Please leave immediately.
      Thank you.

  • Steven James

    Bill Gates turned crap into a valuable resource with Microsoft Windows. This somehow seems more appropriate. Way to go Bill!!!

  • Jason Challandes

    This crap is over my head

  • Bruce

    As a drug rehab my son went to in Arizona, The World Is Our Bathroom,

  • Edward

    Whats the cost to install? the cost of the supplies? How many flushes can it hold while its recycling? Looks like alot of work to have 1 installed. let alone a costly one…

    • http://increativeprocess Penelope Slade

      This is the infancy of the reinvented Gates toilet – that means it will take more time and innovation, just like computers, to make it smaller, better, more efficient and faster, just like computers. And then, there will be one in almost every home, just like computers. Right?!!!!!

  • The Chef

    How about making a toilet that converts everything to a fuel that your car can run on I can bet everyone would be in line to use it to save money as the saying goes , Shit would pay for its self ….. LOL.

  • Susan

    Why not just use composting toilets, which have been around quite a while, and are used by the Amish and people who have remote getaway cabins far from sewer systems. It’s like reinventing the wheel. Again.

    • Carolyn

      I agree. Why reinvent the wheel? These look too fancy and expensive. If the people can’t afford the infrastructure for the 1775 era toilet, why do we think that they would be able to afford one of these?

      Composting toilets are the way to go. What we need to do is to teach them how to make their own composting toilets. As long as they do it right, it is the cheapest and best answer. Then they can use the resulting compost to fertilize fruit trees (or other crops that don’t touch the ground), thus producing food. Why waste all that good s**t?

  • Dan

    If you think I will ever drink my shit you are mad wrong. I will shit and let someone else drink, Bill Dumb ass gates for instance can drink my shit.

  • sheff

    Where do you put the paper?

  • Bruce Draken

    Ever wonder why it’s ok to print crap (a 4-letter word) but it isn’t ok to print shit (a 4-letter word)?
    The word shit is a derviative of the Anglo-Saxon “shite,” the actual word used for human excrement. When the Normans invaded England from France centuries ago, they banned the Anglo-Saxon language from court because they considered the Anglo-Saxon people and culture “crude” and “vulgar.” The pithy native words for certain bodily functions were replaced with euphemisms which have stuck ever since. This is why, ridiculously, it is ok to refer to excrement as “poo,” a baby word, rather than the grown-up word of the Anglo-Saxons.
    There really is no good reason to consider “shit” a “bad word,” to represent it by symbols like &$#@!! or to wash anyone’s mouth out with soap for using it. It’s merely a long-outdated convention based on one tribe of Germanic people thinking they were more cultured and refined than a different tribe of Germanic people, centuries ago.
    So let’s be adults and not continue to use baby words for the universal human reality of shit

  • Funmi Adegunle

    Thumbs up to you Bill.hope when it is finally produced,it wouldn’t be too costly.the problem with Africa is access to water and affordability to both the 1775 technology and a good plumbing system.you have always been considerate over Africa ,guess you would be this time around…funmi

  • Jeff E

    Conservation of resources has become an important part of all new commercial and residential buildings. New plumbing fixtures, electrical fixtures, and heating/cooling technology is part of the near future of homes, public buildings, and offices construction. With 2.5 billion people on this earth it is time to embrace consevation of our resorces.

  • http://msn rex

    thats some serious s-ittttt there.

  • http://msn rex



    love your ideas Bill and Melinda maybe the WISE will inherit the earth

  • Sisao Tresed

    For $300 million they should turn it into chocolate chip ice cream.

  • Rod Northover

    The day must come where all residences will be totally self sufficient
    Solar for electricity in most cases,water tanks either above or below ground where applicable and in house waste disposal.
    As with all inventions the first is rarely the final solution.
    Well done Bill and Linda

  • Davey Boy

    Having no Toilets in so-called developing countries is just one of the problems that could be solved by a large infusion of cash. A better use of money would be to get a workable Birth Control program in place to stop the ever increasing population problem that society seems to be ignoring.

    • http://no mary

      Maybe Sheldon from “The Big Bang Theory” can help!!One of my favorite shows!!! LOL

      Seriously Bill Gates is absolutely right, so many things need to be updated, Awe
      Bill Gates, what a wonderful mind you have!

  • Dale

    It’s amazing how technology is transforming our world. There are the pioneers with the ideas and then of course we need the business people who can make these ideas marketable and practical in our world.The reinvented toilet could possibly save our planet..if you think about the rising population and having a toilet that cleans our body water (from urine and feces), creates a fuel source and electricity…now that’s fantastic!!!!

  • DDD

    Here Bill is trying to help with this new toilet and so many here just want to sh it on it.
    Way to go Bill; now let’s get onto another idea to help the world like getting rid of all the dumb a sses out there

  • Rene

    Hi I admire Bill Gates for doing good in this world with advancement of technology and always looking for something better. I do agree with some of the comments that I have read, when your poor it does not matter how cheap it is your still not able to afford it. I am in Ontario, Canada and I am a septic system designer, installer and pumper of septic tanks. I live in the country side where sewage treatment plants are far apart and it would cost me a fortune to haul my load of sewage to the city to be treated. I have been experimenting with reed bed with the Ministry of the Environment of Ontario and the University of Guelph in looking for a cheaper way of treating sewage. There are different ways of treating sewage. It can be treated at each house with a septic tank where you could use the methande gas to cook or heat. I know this because I have a neighbour that does work in India where they have 2 group home that cook meals with this methane gas. The only thing they have is a septic tank with some king of cast iron bell over the tank which the sun warms up the sewage producing methane gas which flows through a small plastic hose directly to the gas stove replacing the propane being used for cooking. If you run low in methane you just switch back to propane. I think a plastic bladder could be used instead of the cast iron bell if need be. There also an other way of treating sewage by using plants. You dig a whole in the ground install a rubber liner to stop ground infiltration use pipe and or gravel on the bottom for drainage and add a course sand. You then plant local plants that like water (example here in Ontario we used cattails which grow locally. You dump your pail of sewage in this area where it filters through the roots and the sand and gravel then it overflows through a second bed of sand and gravel and you have clear water to be used for irregation of plants. This water could be desinfected to be reused for drinking but I just dont like to think about HAVING TO DRINK IT. We have been using this treatment very successfully for treating septic tank waste for the last 6 years now. Using this type of treatment we,ve been removing 95 to 98 percent of pollutants out of sewage. It is now clear water just needing disinfection for human consumption. This is cheap to install with very little smell if used and installed at the right place. The plants absorb a lot of the smell. Local people dig the hole rubbler liner or a clay seal will also do, install stones at the bottom with course good drainge soil/sand and plant with local growing plants. Your now in the business of treating sewage. It will take a number of years to fill the area and when full the treated sewage in the bed has been composted and can be used as fertilizer. This did not cost a lot and can be used in the comunities. It is of my personal opinion that would attack this problem.

  • sanchia

    Thats great whoop whoop

    • sanchia

      I love the new idea about the toilet this info will help me with my homework on Toilets.
      Thanks Bill Gates