More than 25% of the world’s population lacks access to basic toilet facilities, and 673 million people continue to practice open defecation, according to data reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These statistics primarily reflect situations in third world countries where population growth and urban density have limited access to sanitation resources and infrastructure, creating significant threats to public health and water quality.
A new solution designed to address this sanitation challenge is the HomeBiogas Bio-Toilet. The product combines Xylem’s Jabsco toilet technology utilized in marine applications (i.e., on boats) with HomeBiogas’ anaerobic digestion system that utilizes household and human waste to create renewable biogas suitable for cooking. The contents of the toilet are flushed directly into the digester. Each flush uses 1.2 liters (0.3 gallons) of water. The maximum daily biogas output — with the toilet being the only input — is up to 600 liters. The biogas system also can digest household food scraps, which can be added directly into the digester via a “feeding” portal.
Once the waste has been broken down, the biodigester stores the biogas until it’s ready to be used. The digested effluent can drain to a sewer or septic tank, or into a drainfield mulch basin. In HomeBiogas systems taking only food scraps, the effluent can drain into a garden fertilizer system. Each Bio-Toilet system comes with a specially adapted biogas stove to utilize for cooking. According to HomeBiogas, the Bio-Toilet is compact and packed into a single box, making it easy to transport — “even on the back of a moped to a remote village.”