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

Last Updated: Monday, April 9, 2012 - 18:09

London: British scientists claim they are developing a unique device which can turn used toilet waste into drinking water.
A team at Manchester University, led by Sarah Haigh, says the innovation -- which has been funded by billionaire Bill Gates -- 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."

PTI



First Published: Monday, April 9, 2012 - 18:09

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