Bowled Over by Toilet Technology

Super smart seats and community-conscious commodes aimed at huddled masses yearning to breathe free

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Bowled Over by Toilet Technology
Photo-Illustration: Eawag/EOOS

Photo: NTU
Made by Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, the No-Mix Vacuum toilet diverts urine, which is rich in nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, to a processing facility. There these elements are extracted for use in products such as fertilizer. The fecal matter goes to a bioreactor where it is digested and yields a biogas rich in methane. The methane can be used in stoves for cooking or in turbines for generating electricity. Because of its vacuum suction, the toilet needs only 0.2 liters of water to flush away liquids; getting rid of solids takes about a liter of water. Today’s toilets use up to 20 times as much water for each flush.

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