While 13 percent may not seem monumental, when it’s multiplied out to reflect the world’s current population, it means over 947 million people are without clean water every day.
As early as 2003, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged funds to address water, sanitation and hygiene issues worldwide. Recent projects include reinventing the toilet. But that latest invention out of the Gates Foundation is a new contraption that will give new meaning to “eau de toilette.”
The Janicki Bioenergy Omniprocessor converts sewer sludge into water, electricity and fertilizer.
To create water, the omniprocessor boils wet sewer sludge. The collected water vapor is purified into drinking water. For electricity, the dry, boiled sewer sludge is burned, creating steam. The steam collected drives a generator that not only powers the machine but sends electricity back to the grid.
“The sanitation system as we know it in the developed world cannot work in developing countries,” said Doulaye Koné, the foundation’s senior program officer. “…what we need in developing countries is a very simple system.”
Here’s Bill Gates himself explaining the system and testing the water himself:
The Gates Foundation has not been the only organization to address safe water access. Two years ago, the UN declared 2013 the “International Year of Water Cooperation” to raise the profile of “cooperation in water management.”
There were successes. At the end of the year, an agreement between Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority freed up waters in the Middle East. But, making clean water available to small communities remains a problem.
The Janicki Omniprocessor supposedly pays for itself by selling electricity it creates back to the grid. As for the water?
“The water tasted as good as any I’ve had out of a bottle,” wrote Bill Gates on his blog, adding, “…having studied the engineering behind it, I would happily drink it every day. It’s that safe.