Solar-Powered Toilet Treats and Recycles Wastewater

Combining electrochemical engineering and mobile phone networks, Seva Sustainable Sanitation has created a self-sustaining off -grid toilet that treats wastewater.

Seva Sustainable Sanitation is a smart electrochemical toilet unit, suitable for use in off -grid rural areas of developing countries, which can turn urine into disinfected water with only the help of its mounted solar panels. In this way, the toilet wastewater is sterilized and clarified. Macronutrients such as carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus can be nearly fully recovered from the waste, leaving nothing but water that is recycled for flushing or irrigation.

The toilet unit is also equipped with sensors, a mobile phone-based maintenance guide, and smart grid technology that empowers anyone in the community to repair the system when necessary. When a toilet is out of order, this technology automatically directs users to other nearby sanitation systems. So far, the solution has been deployed in four countries.

Relevance of solution

Worldwide, 2.4 billion people lack access to safe and adequate sanitation,1 making it one of the leading killers of children under five.2 Meanwhile, WHO estimates that, largely due to human waste pollution, two-thirds of the world’s population will be trapped in some sort of water scarcity by 2025.3 By delivering an easy-to-fix sanitation technology that also treats wastewater, Seva Sustainable Sanitation helps solve these problems.

Triple Bottom Line

Environmental

Human waste is the largest single source of water pollution in the world.4 Seva Sustainable Sanitation mitigates this problem by treating wastewater before it ever enters aquatic ecosystems.

Social

By treating and recycling wastewater, Seva helps alleviate the social consequences of waterborne illness and water scarcity, such as poor health and malnutrition.

Economic

Investing in sanitation yields an average return of $5.50 for every $1 invested.5


Sources

  1. WHO. “Lack of Sanitation for 2.4 Billion People Is Undermining Health Improvements.” (2015)
  2. WHO. “Child Mortality.” (2011)
  3. WHO. “Drinking-water.” (2015)
  4. WHO. “Water Quality.” (Undated)
  5. UN. “Sanitation Is a Good Economic Investment.” (Undated)