Yup. You read that right! A machine that transforms poop to drinking water. Why is this important? Because such technology can be rolled out in countries where there are poor sanitation systems. Whilst solving the sanitation problem, it also generates clean drinking water and electricity. How about that! The machine is called “OmniProcessor”.
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. – Bill Gates
Here’s a Youtube video that explains it all. As TIME magazine writes, “The video is meant to raise awareness about ways to improve sanitation and access to clean drinking water worldwide. Some 2.5 billion people lack access to proper sanitation, and more than 1 billion people have to defecate outside or in public, contaminating drinking water supplies—a problem that can cause disease and death.”
Bill Gates writes,
If we get it right, it will be a good example of how philanthropy can provide seed money that draws bright people to work on big problems, eventually creating a self-supporting industry. Our foundation is funding Janicki to do the development. It’s really amazing to see how they’ve embraced the work; founder Peter Janicki and his family have traveled to Africa and India multiple times so they can see the scope of the problem. Our goal is to make the processors cheap enough that entrepreneurs in low- and middle-income countries will want to invest in them and then start profitable waste-treatment businesses.
We still have a lot to learn before we get to that point. The next step is the pilot project; later this year, Janicki will set up an Omniprocessor in Dakar, Senegal, where they’ll study everything from how you connect with the local community (the team is already working with leaders there) to how you pick the most convenient location. They will also test one of the coolest things I saw on my tour: a system of sensors and webcams that will let Janicki’s engineers control the processor remotely and communicate with the team in Dakar so they can diagnose any problems that come up.