“I watched the piles of feces go up the conveyer belt and drop into a large bin. They made their way through the machine, getting boiled and treated. A few minutes later I took a long taste of the end result: a glass of delicious drinking water.”
That’s how Bill Gates described the Janicki Omniprocessor, which he visited last November, in his blog yesterday.
A human waste problem has been solved. The Omniprocessor, a creation of Janicki Bioenergy, is an ingenious, self-powered machine that turns human waste, in the form of sewage sludge, into clean drinking water and produces more electricity than it takes to run. It can send the excess electricity back into the community as it recycles sewage waste. According to Gates, the water is indeed fit for a billionaire.
“The water tasted as good as any I’ve had out of a bottle. And having studied the engineering behind it, I would happily drink it every day. It’s that safe.”
Not only is the machine exactly what both the developing and developed world needs, it’s also great for entrepreneurs because between the sewage waste removal and the electricity produced, you would be making money — yes, you can actually make a profit off of something that helps the world. And the machine Bill Gates visited is only a prototype.
“The next-generation processor, more advanced than the one I saw, will handle waste from 100,000 people, producing up to 86,000 liters of potable water a day and a net 250 kw of electricity.”
The Omniprocessor, if distributed throughout the developing world, would create water and electricity for the over 2 billion people worldwide that still use latrines to rid their waste — waste that contaminates water sources that the very same people rely on.
“Diseases caused by poor sanitation kill some 700,000 children every year, and they prevent many more from fully developing mentally and physically.”
There is no word yet as to how much the next-gen processor will cost. With all the other tech news we get swept up in as a developed society, it’s refreshing to hear about the great strides being made towards fixing the real problems affecting the world.