Scientists develop a poop-vaporizing, self-flushing toilet

Avatar By Lliane Hunter | 2 years ago

Diana Yousef, founder and CEO of change:Water Labs, has developed a waterless toilet that virtually vaporizes human waste.  Her company designed the toilet for places that don’t have indoor plumbing, writes Ben Paynter for Fast Company, and resembles a traditional toilet set atop a box with a side vent.

The lining of the toilet consists of a pouch made from a proprietary moisture-wicking polymer.  It sucks water out of excrement deposited into the pouch, dehydrating the sewage while releasing the water vapor.  Essentially, this prototype is a way to have “like a self-flushing toilet,” Yousef says.  She explains that she developed this toilet to solve sewage issues in developing economies.  “I thought initially we’d be this platform where we’d connect the dots between technologies and applications across borders, and we try to solve these problems that nobody was really solving or at least nobody was successfully solving,” she says.

Paynter explains that sanitation services in developing economies takes two forms:  composting toilets, which need lots of space and are smelly; or, personal bucket-based systems, which are continuously collected and carted away by health workers.  The change:Water toilet transforms bowel movements into dried turds, enabling the device to go through multiple uses before users empty it.  For a family of five or six, the toilet should last at least two weeks before being emptied.

The company has built and tested a prototype, and various grants account for the current $250,000 in total funding.  “This is the thing that deals with … sustainability and climate change, and girls’ empowerment, so I just went all in,” Yousef reveals.