This blog is run by students at Portland State University. Each term we have been working with a local group called Green Empowerment. Their mission is to go to under-served areas and use technology in order to help provide necessities such as clean water and sanitation facilities.
As part of the sanitation works, they have been introducing composting and biogas toilets. By utilizing the process of decomposition, the composting toilet can make usable fertilizer for agricultural purposes. The biogas toilet takes it one step further. By restricting oxygen in the holding chamber, decomposition releases methane which can then be captured and stored for later use as fuel.
In 2012, the Bill Gates foundation funded a project that produces potable water from sewage sludge. It’s generically called the Omni Processor and, in addition to the water, it produces energy, in the form of steam by burning the dry left-over material. In fact, there is enough energy to run the machine as well as power additional things that the people might need.
It’s another interesting way that we can utilize the “reuse” part of reduce, reuse, recycle. The more we invest in technologies that can lessen our dependency on natural resources, the better off, on the whole, the health of the planet will remain. Every little bit counts.