Bill Gates Touts Omniprocessor For Electricity and Water From Human Waste

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Bill Gates drinks fresh water made from human waste, and surprisingly it doesn’t taste like urine

Bill Gates continues his philanthropic work, but this time with a machine that turns human waste into drinkable water and free electricity for developing countries.

The former Microsoft CEO even posted a video on his blog of him drinking the water.

Free Electricity And Water

The Gates Foundation has undertaken some notable philanthropic work in the past, and has made big strides in the fight against polio and malaria.

Bill Gates - Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationIt is also looking at ways to improve sanitation in poor countries, because according to Gates, at least 2 billion people use latrines that aren’t properly drained, and this means that human waste enters the water supply.

And conventional western sanitation systems are too expensive for developing countries as it requires thousands of miles of pipes and large quantities of water. But Gates asked engineers to come with a solution for developing countries, and Janicki Bioenergy responded with its Omniprocessor machine.

Essentially, you feed the Omniprocessor machine with human waste, and it generates harmless ash, as well as free water and electricity, which can be fed back into local communities.

“The water tasted as good as any I’ve had out of a bottle,” blogged Gates. “And having studied the engineering behind it, I would happily drink it every day. It’s that safe.”

How it works is that sewer sludge is fed into the Omniprocessor machine on a convenor belt, and it is then boiled. In the boiling process, solids and water vapour are separated. The solids are dried and fed into a fire, which makes high pressure steam. That steam is then fed into a steam engine which drives a generator that produces excess electricity. The water vapour is cleaned to create “cleanest pureness water you can imagine.”

And the Omniprocessor is a self sustaining and green technology. “Through the ingenious use of a steam engine, it produces more than enough energy to burn the next batch of waste,” wrote Gates. “In other words, it powers itself, with electricity to spare. The next-generation processor, more advanced than the one I saw, will handle waste from 100,000 people, producing up to 86,000 litres of potable water a day and a net 250 kw of electricity.”

Bill Gates is course of one of the world’s richest men, but has retreated somewhat from the technology world in the past few years.

When Microsoft appointed Satya Nadella as its third CEO in February 2014, it also announced that Gates would be stepping down as chairman of the board.

However Bill Gates still has a role at Microsoft, advising Nadella on technology and products.

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