Physical sciences, Earth sciences

Introducing the green toilet

Flush toilets use large quantities of water and are expensive to operate and maintain. Therefore, European sanitation engineers are advancing a clean, efficient and environmentally friendly alternative.

Traditional flush toilets may be flushed 5 to 7 times a day per person, using about 6 litres of water each time, whereas 'dry' toilets require no water to work. However, possible drawbacks include the emission of bad odours, poor hygiene, the generation of parasites, inadequate performance during heavy usage and limitations on size.

An EU-funded project called 'Demonstration of a new biocide dry toilet with improved functionalities for three specific markets' (DRY CLOSET) is addressing these problems by developing three different prototypes of an innovative and efficient dry toilet system. The three demonstration prototypes comprise a kit model, a truck model and a massive model.

The kit prototype can be transported long distances in a shipping container and can be easily assembled by two people in two days. The prototype was found to work very well and is being sent for further trials to the island of Martinique in the eastern Caribbean.

Expected to have a significant commercial impact, the compact truck model is designed for military, emergency and public events use. First results for the massive prototype, which is designed for use in rest areas, are also very positive and the product is expected to be a best seller.

Three developments will be key to the success of DRY CLOSET toilets. The first will be the biocide polymer and coating contained in the toilet, which will ensure slipperiness, hygiene and the removal of parasites.

Another development will be anti-struvite precipitation compound for avoiding toilet pipe blockages and clearing of the toilet system pipes. The final development will be an improved biofilter for removing bad odours.

DRY CLOSET will therefore benefit the environment as it does not require the use of water or harmful chemicals. It will also help to protect public health by providing cost-effective and hygienic toilets.

last modification: 2015-05-22 11:03:13



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