Toilets are a key piece of off-grid technology that receive less attention than they deserve.
EAWAG, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, has announced it is making good progress with a multi-faceted toilet it calls the Blue Diversion Autarky.
This toilet (see infographic below( separates urine, faeces and used flush-and-wash water and then puts the used water through a multi-barrier treatment system. This allows the water to be reused in the system, on site.
This means safe and sanitary toilet facilities anywhere without typical water and sewerage infrastructure.
Moreover, the Autarky is sustainable. Every part of the waste is used; the urine and faeces become resources. After they become separated, both are safely extracted from the toilet chambers and recovered off site at a community scale Resource-Recovery Plant where fertilisers are produced.
This Autarky toilet is a follow up and upgrade to the Blue Diversion Toilet, which has been tested successfully with two pilot projects in Kampala Uganda and Nairobi, Kenya. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation financed research of the concepts that were originally presented at their Reinvent the Toilet Challenge.
At this stage, there is still more testing to be done and Eawag is trying to attract investors with a profitable franchising model. The key to the social success of an off gird toilet is making it affordable to the people living in remote areas.
Eawag has targeted India for an official launch and reportedly have been in contact with industrial partners in order to upscale the Blue Diversion Toilet. With a belief that the majority of costs can be reduced by industrial production economies of scale, the focus is to get in contact with interested stakeholders and establish collaboration with an industrial partner.
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