SEDRO-WOOLLEY — Sedron Technologies — formerly Janicki Bioenergy — revealed this week a new self-sustaining toilet design at the Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing.
The toilet, developed with funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, operates without any plumbing, Sedron Technologies President Sara Van Tassel said.
Once flushed, waste from the toilet is heated, evaporating the water and killing pathogens, Van Tassel said. The dried solids are then burned to create steam to generate electricity for the household and to power the toilet. The excess heat is used to dry incoming waste, while excess water is used to flush the toilet.
The technology has been branded the “Firelight Toilet” because the fire that heats up waste is visible when the toilet is operating, project lead Margaret Faller said.
The toilet has the potential to save lives in developing countries, according to Bill Gates’ website.
By sanitizing waste, the toilet can prevent disease caused by contaminated water sources.
The technology looks like a normal toilet, Van Tassel said. It was developed about three years ago as a scaled-down version of the Janicki Omni Processor — a device which turns sewage sludge into drinking water and electricity.
“After we developed the Omni Processor, we started to focus on what a household toilet solution would look like,” Van Tassel said.
With a few tweaks to the process and size of the equipment, Van Tassel said the company was able to design a toilet-sized unit. That design has been improved on over the past few years, she said.
Next summer, the company will place a pilot unit in Durban, South Africa, as well as in Larrabee State Park.
The technology has the potential to be beneficial for state parks because it will eliminate the cost of removing waste to be treated elsewhere, Van Tassel said.
The toilet is intended to initially serve the developing world, Faller said, with the possibility of being offered domestically down the road.
Faller said Sedron Technologies aims for the toilet to cost 5 cents per user per day over the life of the unit. The company has not determined a fixed, upfront cost for the toilet.