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New toilet turns your waste into 'odourless' gas for cooking2nd of August 2012
A bid to turn solid toilet waste into 'biogas' - a methane-rich gas that is odourless and safe for cooking - has been launched by scientists in Singapore.
The No Mix Vacuum Toilet uses vacuum suction similar to that in an aeroplane washroom to divide solid and liquid waste into separate chambers. Liquids are then processed for useful elements for fertilisers while solid waste is digested in a bioreactor to produce biogas. The methane in biogas can be used to produce electricity and replace the natural gas used in cooking ovens.
The system is said to use water more economically than conventional toilets. Solid waste can be flushed using only one litre and liquid waste requires 0.2L of water compared with the average of four to six litres in conventional toilets.
According to scientists, if the toilet is installed in a public washroom and flushed 100 times daily it will save 160,000 litres of water a year.
"Having the human waste separated at source and processed on-site would lower the costs needed for recovering resources since treating mixed waste is energy-intensive and not cost-effective," said Professor Wang Jing-Yuan of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) who led the project.
"With our innovative toilet system we can use simpler and cheaper methods of harvesting useful chemicals and even produce fuel and energy from waste."
The scientists intend to trial the prototypes in two public lavatories at the university and, if successful, the No Mix Vacuum Toilet could be seen worldwide within the next three years.