For about 40 percent of the world’s population, “going to the bathroom” is often done outdoors in unhealthy conditions. Most people don’t think about human waste much past the moment their toilet flushes each time, there exists infrastructure that transports waste to separate locations for processing in plants. This large-scale process costs money that most developing countries don’t have.
University of Florida researchers have built portable wastewater treatment system called the NEWgenerator. The NEWgenerator is a resource recovery machine that harvests nutrient fertilizers, renewable energy, and clean water from human or food wastes. The machine achieves a high level of waste treatment through the use of state-of-the-art anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) technology. Extensive pathogen destruction is achieved to ensure safe sanitation.
The NEWgenerator is built inside a shipping container, making it compact and easy to transport. There are solar panels on the top of the container that provide all the power, something necessary in areas that don’t have large power grids. There is also a hydroponics system on one of the outside walls where plants can be grown using water generated by the device.
The NEWgenerator takes wastewater and converts it into three things: nutrients, energy and water — hence the “NEW” in NEWgenerator. The water is treated so it is safe to use for irrigation and toilets, while the physical waste filters out as nutrients for plants. Methane gas that can be used for energy is trapped in a large bag on top of the generator.
- University of Florida
- Logistics suppliers
- Municipal governments/sanitation departments
- Communities and individuals that lacks access to safe sanitation
Deployment of Technology
- Perform a pilot study to prove efficiency of the technology and finish field tests of prototypes
- Identify governments and NGO’s that support, and utilities that are interested in implementing the technology.
- Find investors for funds
- Partner with such NGOs and governments for outreach, training, to disseminate and install toilets in areas in need
- Identify and partner with logistics and industrial manufacturers for scalability
By Riya Suthar (rs3750)