Feeds

back to article Bill Gates-backed SOLAR POO RAYGUN COMMODE unveiled

Bill Gates' Microsoft gigawealth giveaway charity has already conferred many benefits on a suffering humanity*: today we learn of yet another, as boffins reveal a magnificent waterless solar raygun portaloo which uses focused sunbeams to incinerate human excrement and turn it into a miracle charcoal style substance with many …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Anonymous Coward

What a sh!t article

Ho, ho, ho

3
0

Re: What a sh!t article

Engineering to bridge: Dump the into the reactor core you say?

1
0

BBQ

Sterling work, although I think there's going to be an issue selling it to the public for use as a BBQ fuel. Hickory smoked - fine. Poo-smoked - maybe less fine

3
0
Silver badge

Re: BBQ

At least you'll have an excuse if you BBQ chicken tastes like shit.

1
0

Re: BBQ

These things are going to be used where they are already cooking with cow pies or cow dung so they're already used to it.

0
0
Silver badge
Mushroom

ooooo

A non curry based hot ass feeling......

1
0
Bronze badge

Sounds a good idea...

to me, human poo is a very useful resource - and one that is waisted (ahem) by just flushing away. The dry earth closet has been around for years this is just an evolution of that. Hopeful this movement will gather momentum.

2
1
Bronze badge

Re: Sounds a good idea...

I second that motion. (eww)

2
0
Silver badge

Re: Sounds a good idea...

"and one that is waisted (ahem) by just flushing away."

Maybe in your part of the world. In the UK raw sewage is settled into sludge and liqors, the liqors are treated to biological oxidation, further cleaned and the water returned to the watercourse, and the sludge is subjected to anerobic digestion (often with methane recovery for CHP uses). Most (about 75%) of digested sludges are used a farming fertiliser and soil conditioner.

There's a few areas that don't do this (eg because of heavy metal contamination of the sludges from industrial processes) but these are getting fewer and fewer as standards improve (and as China takes on the dirty work), and there's a few areas where its uneconomic to transport the solids to suitable agricultural or land reclamation sites.

4
1
Bronze badge

Re: Sounds a good idea...

That's a movement we can all get behind, erm, on second thought ....

2
0
Silver badge

Credit to The Gates'

This kind of research isn't fashionable, but can make a huge difference. I like that they go for the unfashionable problems because they're 1) more likely to have more unexplored possibilities and 2) not going to get much private investment and 3) as an engineer I see that's better bang for buck and 4) as an engineer I scoff in the face of fashion...

6
1
Bronze badge

brilliant

The process ... involved a lot of ... testing.

“The great thing about the Gates Foundation is that they provide all of the teams with the resources they need” for this, says Linden.

that is all

7
0

Re: brilliant

Did they include Windows 8?

0
1
Silver badge
Joke

Next

They'll make carbon fibre or graphene from biochar. Holding that carbon fibre fishing rod suddenly feels different

1
0
Vic
Silver badge

Re: Next

They'll make carbon fibre or graphene from biochar. Holding that carbon fibre fishing rod suddenly feels different

That's nothing. What about the carbon-fibre chassis in your new supercar?

"Oi, mate! Your car's shit".

Vic.

6
0
Silver badge

Re: Next

"This new graphine-substrate CPU is just the shit!"

1
0
Silver badge

One slight niggle

Excellent idea, and some good lateral thinking, but this whole appropriate/alternative technology often works best when it can be fixed by a village blacksmith/odd-job-man - how common are African odd-job-men who can hadle fibre optics?

And one question - I assume the wee is filtered out into a tank for direct use on the fields, otherwise it'll take a lot of sunlight to boil it all dry.

0
0
JDX
Gold badge

Re: One slight niggle

I think the FO here is just a "light pipe", not anything fancy.

2
0
Bronze badge

Re: One slight niggle

On the plus side this could also help in countries where they've got water but chop down a lot of tress for fuel.

On the negative side I can't quite see how this works. If you have a dump some of it goes down the sides and doesn't neatly collect in a nice box at the bottom.

A flushing toilet copes with this by using water to wash down most of the "remains" but how does that work in a dry lav? I seem to be always cleaning up after the kids, even with a flushing bowl......

1
0
Silver badge

Re: One slight niggle

> I assume the wee is filtered out into a tank for direct use on the fields, otherwise it'll take a lot of sunlight to boil it all dry.

I don't know, but I did stumble upon this:

http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/pee-power-recycling-urine-to-powder-makes-superior-fertilizer.html

And the Swedes have been making toilets with a pee part and a poo part:

http://www.ecovita.net/ekologen.html

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: One slight niggle

Who needs fiber optics ? Mirrors suffice, the rest is just boffinry. Besides, I do not get this whole idea. They are using a Ferrari to tow a trailer ...

1. We have discovered organic degradation quite some time ago, why not use that ? If they insist on trying to create fossil fuel alternatives, they could also simply have the excrements dry out in a conventional, yet enhanced, sun oven (with only mirrors, no fiber optic bs).

2. This system is overly expensive, difficult to maintain, with very little gains and very poor performance in terms of m3 of waste - WTF are they doing ?

3. How are they gonna get the mass into there ?

I do not get it...

What they should do where they do not have sanitation facilities is use sun toilets ... This is just complete utter waste of resources and my time, thanks !

0
0
Bronze badge
Flame

Re: One slight niggle

@Hans 1:

> "... the rest is just boffinry...."

*JUST* boffinry?

I await the deluge of complaining posts from boffins, outraged at your belittling of their endeavours.

0
0
TRT
Silver badge

Re: One slight niggle

You need to make it uni-directional in case someone parks a brown-laser over the hole and blasts a satellite from orbit.

0
0
TRT
Silver badge

Re: One slight niggle

Also... fruit and fibre optics.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: One slight niggle

"how common are African odd-job-men who can hadle fibre optics?"

Unfortunately, quite a few it appears: http://www.oafrica.com/broadband/cable-theft/

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: One slight niggle

A less advanced version would approximate the "-end of a steel barrel" incinerators used by militaries: haul each day's waste out to the focus and roast away. Might take more mirrors, tho.

0
0

Re: One slight niggle

Another comes to mind. What happens during the night time when there's no solar heat? Does it all gather up in overflow? I hope they've got enough storage to last until the next day. BTW, what does burnt excrement smell like? Will it cause air pollution? I suppose all the NIMBYs out there will try to get it stopped by some environmental regulation.

0
0
Silver badge

Can these be installed in volcano lairs?

0
0
Bronze badge

Active or Extinct?

An active volcano wouldn't require it, as you could "flush" direct into the lava streams.

Extinct would require one, but given the limited available light from the opening, you'd be best serve hiring an evil plumber.

2
0
Silver badge

What would its performance be like in the UK? Perhaps the smelly portaloos at festivals are a thing of the past.

0
0
Silver badge

There have been sunny Glastonbury festivals, but not enough for these to be the bog standard bog! I dare say that a demonstration unit might be displayed in the 'Green Fields' area.

To be fair, festival toilets are better than they used to be. The cleanest are those by the mixing desk islands in the middle of the crowds in front of the big stages. You'll need to ask the security guards permission to hop over the scaffold partition, but they can be understanding. Always carry your own absorbent material. Beer and cider will make your trips to the dunny far more frequent, so remember that other mood-altering substances are available.

I wish I had appropriated the door of a Portaloo (TM, the 'Hoover' of the toilet world) at Glasto about a dozen years ago... some Bristoliann bloke had stencilled a picture of a monkey on the door, and apparently such things are worth a lot of money now that some shark/cow-worrier collects his efforts.

0
0
Silver badge

"Perhaps the smelly portaloos at festivals are a thing of the past."

Ignoring the practical problems of lack of sun and the high volume of deposits, I would guess that during the "bake off" the aroma could be even worse than cr@pping in a bucket of chemicals, since the heat will drive off all the aromatics and volatile components.

0
1
Anonymous Coward

Google: Let's put the Internets into helium balloons and float the across Africa, so they can find out exactly what's killing them from laptops they can't afford

Gates: Let's give them innovative toilets, mosquito nets and stoves instead, so they don't die before they get the Internets.

I know which I'd go for - even before factoring in the despicable waste of helium.

11
1
Anonymous Coward

> Let's put the Internets into helium balloons and float the across Africa, so they can find out exactly what's killing them from laptops they can't afford

Did Google say that their balloon project was aimed at Africa? I assumed it was a geographically neutral system which could be deployed across the world (as opposed to only sunny places, in this toilet's case). Besides which, mobile phones are VERY popular in Africa. Increased coverage can only be a good thing for those who rely on them for economic, education, and medical information and alerts.

You also seem to be forgetting that Google is a for-profit entity with some charitable projects, whereas Gates' foundation is itself a charity, whose (supposed) sole purpose is to fund such projects (which occasionally directly aid for-profit friends-of-Gates).

0
3
Anonymous Coward

Yes, they did say Africa. And yes, mobiles are very popular in Africa, so why not keep using the existing technology? That said, there is Africa and there is Africa, the places we're talking about don't have basic sanitation, do you think they can afford cell phones and laptops?

0
0
Bronze badge

@ AC

Laptops: No

Cell phones: very commonly

0
0
Silver badge

Re: @ AC

Poor farmers could afford more things (seed, schoolbooks, medicine) if they got a fair market price for their produce. With a mobile phone (or just their own SIM that they can use in a shared phone) they don't have to take a middleman's word for the current prices.

We lucky blighters might use most of our bandwidth for cat videos, but that doesn't mean that a little data can't go a long way. Just think of of the utility that we used to get from Teletext (weather, stock prices, news etc)

6
0

No they didnt

http://www.google.com/loon/where/

Africa isn't mentioned once, the original paper stated use within the American desert though.

0
0

Re: @ AC

I don't buy Fair Trade because it's a lie. They buy the products for less that the farmers would be able to get on the open market still. A load of shit it is.

0
0
Silver badge

A golf umbrella covered in tin foil

can do about 1kW.

Mind the handle when you sit down though!

0
0
Bronze badge
Childcatcher

So this practically dehydrates the smelly stuff? My word! These chaps just invented instant poo!

0
1
Anonymous Coward

A Profanisaurus entry suddenly becomes more apt.

"Be right back, I'm off to light a bum cigar."

4
0
Bronze badge

More shiny shiny!

In fact this could rank as the ultimate in shiny toys for the rich boys looking to splash the cash. Why go to all this expense and technical jiggery-pokery when compost heaps have been happily digesting waste, often creating enough heat to actually burn, quite naturally. It's a huge sledge hammer of an idea to crack a relatively simple nut. Humanity has been disposing of sh1t for centuries, with or without water, so why the need for this hi-tech monstrosity. Again all I can think of is this need for rich guys to have the biggest shiniest technology they can point to and say 'I did that'.

Education about treatment and dispersal of sewage and simple sanitation techniques would solve this problem much more easily and cheaply, but then there would be no big hi-tech toy to play with.

4
0
Bronze badge

Worst. Metaphor. Evah!!!

Whilst I am sure some would pay good money for the conflated experiences, I prefer to keep nut-cracking sledge hammers as far away from my toilet visits as possible.

0
0

I wonder if it would be possible to adapt it to add on a second chamber which is say in the house where all that heat could be channeled into cooking by switching the cable.

2
0
Silver badge

Good idea!

It would only take a mirror to deflect the energy to a cooking pot, thus making the most of the investment in the reflector assembly.

1
0
Bronze badge

Clouds

I haven't seen much of Africa and India but I did find it to be surprisingly cloudy for much of the day.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Clouds

There are large areas with little cloud cover:try the Karoo or Namibian desert

-but the problem is that very very few people live there.

0
0
Silver badge
Coat

A machine to turn Poo into fertilizer

Great, now I can now get rid of those windows 8 DVD's in a ecologically friendly way

3
1
Anonymous Coward

One more thing

for terrorists to destroy on their mission to bring chaos and misery to the world.

1
1

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.