Solar-powered toilet turns feces into fertilizing charcoal

For all the admirable efforts to solve the world’s problems – beating malaria, improving education access, closing the digital divide – one simple need tends to fall by the wayside: We humans have to poop, and some 2.5 billion of us don’t have the proper facilities to do so.  Think about what that means for a second: Beyond the commodes themselves, roughly a third of the planet’s population lacks sanitation, leaving communities susceptible to disease and filth. 

More than a quarter of all people—some 2.5 billion humans—still lack access to basic sanitation services. But thanks to this revolutionary solar-powered toilet, even the most remote throws of civilization will be granted both a safe place to poop and a means of turning their business into brown gold. Developed by a team of researchers at Colorado University at Boulder led by Karl Linden, professor of environmental engineering, this self-contained waterless toilet uses the Sun’s energy to sterilize solid human waste and transform it into biochar, a porous charcoal that makes for excellent fertilizer and soil amendment. 

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