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A UV-tech and bio-fuel solution.

The combination of newly proposed UV technology and utilizing human waste for energy through existing bio-fuel models.

Photo of Ria Manchanda
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A multi beneficiary two-fold solution to sanitation.

Self cleaning toilets combined with utilizing human waste into recyclable usable energy through existing bio-fuel models could be the sustainable solution to tackle sanitation in India.

Part 1: Self cleaning toilets for sanitation.

Many public toilet facilities in India are in extremely poor conditions and preliminary research suggests the following key reasons of why:

  • Cost of maintenance
  • Unappealing conditions to use
  • And for many years - no negative stigma attached to open defecation

The first part of this proposal is therefore to implement self cleaning toilet facilities in these public areas, perhaps near slums or markets - essentially areas of high density and human traffic such as Shivaji Nagar, a Mumbai slum where it is estimated that the ratio of toilets to people is 1 to 300.

Utilizing a new ultraviolet technology similar to what is currently being tested by Boeing, to make the public facilities more inviting and comfortable for users. The toilets would automatically close their cubicle doors and then be sanitized after each use killing 99.99% of bacteria on exposed surface areas. Jamie Childress, Boeing’s Research and Technologist explains “It is the resonate frequency of the molecular bonds on the outside of microbes.. so every virus, every bacteria in it literally makes them explode”. The UV light used is different to the rays that cause sunburn - it is much shorter frequency and does not cause harm to humans.

We suggest that the UV in each cubicle is powered through batteries which are energized by solar panels installed on the roof of the public toilets during the day and the waste from each pit is flushed by rainwater and suction.

Part 2: Human waste for bio-fuel energy.

Air pollution is recognized as a major environmental problem contributing as the largely as a cause of poor sanitation and a lack of clean drinking water. The emissions are only increasing due to rapid growth in traffic outpacing the adoption of tighter controls on emissions from vehicles. To address this, the Indian government has announced a national policy on the planning and use of bio-fuels as transport fuels.

In support of this, we are proposing that the human waste gathered from these public self cleaning toilets are then broken down using the Anaerobic Digestion process to produce bio-gas. The bio-gas can be used as fuel directly or further be combined with heat and power to generate electricity. Harnessing the power of poop and this recycling innovation is already being utilized in Kenya, UK, USA and Australia for the powering of transportation and a source of renewable energy. 

The marketable approach.

We are proposing that bio-fuel industry players in India such as Tata Power, Reliance Power, NTPC and Power Grid Corp,to invest in our solution and work with Boeing and the likes of Slamson Ghana and Beijing Century Green Environmental Engineering & Technology Ltd for the multiple benefits of impacting the country’s sanitation, reducing pollution emissions as well as utilizing a renewable source of energy.


How would you describe the stage of development of your idea?

  • Conceptual Development

How big or scalable is the potential of your idea?

The World Bank estimates that there will be 22.5 million people living in Mumbai slums by 2025. With this projected increase in population the conditions we are addressing here will only become worse. We see this an as opportunity to implement our proposed solution and proactively work on the challenge of improving sanitation. The solution can then be implemented to other cities such as Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Delhi and then to other developing countries.

Explain the sustainability aspect of your idea

The following multiple aspects make this a great sustainable product: - The self-cleaning toilet should essentially look after itself with little maintenance required - The clean toilets will become more attractive to the public for use - The use of bio-fuel energy from human waste is a renewable energy source that large entities can utilize removal of the human waste assists to keep the surrounds hygienic and clean - Reduction in emissions over time to assist the economy’s goal in moving towards a greener future

What types of financing would be required for your idea to be successful?

Product development and infrastructure costs could be quite high initially however, with the production of bio-fuel as an energy source the investor should expect that the product is a worthwhile investment and that the product will repay itself over time.

In-country experience

  • Not yet

Is your organization currently legally registered in India?

  • No

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Parker Liang and I (Ria Manchanda) are active contributors of the OpenIDEO Sydney meetup group (hosted by Academy Xi) and have enjoyed working together to develop this proposal. Parker is a student at UTS currently studying a Bachelors in Integrated Product Design and is passionate about changing the world - one product at a time. I am driven by my need to contribute to personal experiences and engagements for a higher quality of life. This is the essence of my motivation and I am personally passionate about this particular challenge due to my Indian heritage and upbringing.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Sahil Somani

It is quiet freasable. Provided that these toilets will be a big jump for people in those areas. This is a good solution for urban India. In the rural sector we need to teach them how to keep the toilets clean rather than letting the toilet clean them selves. And I'm not too sure if this sort of technology will be something the big investors will be wanting to invest in for the areas where people don't know the value of it.

Photo of Ria Manchanda

Thanks for your thoughts Sahil Somani , as it is a conceptual idea at this point in time there is a need for development and testing. Once we are able to create a refined process we would definitely have to also create a compelling story to the prospective investors to seek their capital and support.

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