Revolutionary Israeli toilet gets Gates Foundation grant

Earmarked for homes in developing nations, the device needs no water and generates its own power to turn waste into sterile, odorless compost.

An Israeli-invented toilet that needs no water and leaves no waste caught the interest of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which awarded parent company Paulee CleanTec $110,000 “to create next generation sanitation technology to help make sanitation services truly safe and sustainable for the poor.”

“We are one of only very, very few Israeli companies that have received any grants from this foundation,” points out Oded Halperin, one of the company’s original investors.

The toilet is based on the same principle as the high-tech pooper-scooper featured on ISRAEL21c last October.

Invented by renowned Hebrew University biotech innovator Prof. Oded Shoseyov based on an idea Halperin thought up, the device gathers droppings and turns them into odorless, sterile powder within seconds after the dog-walker pushes a button to release an activation capsule from the cartridge inside the unit. The resulting powder is a fertile composting material.

Earmarked for developing countries by the Gates Foundation, the toilet will go a step further.

No water or electricity needed

“For the solid waste, which also can include toilet paper, we are mixing it with our chemical formula for not more than 30 seconds and it will turn immediately into odorless, sterile fertilizer,” Halperin tells ISRAEL21c. “The fertilizer will be automatically dropped into a removable canister where it can be collected from time to time and than be used for field and/or home crops.”

The liquid waste will be sterilized separately in another reservoir, and then pumped up to flush the toilet – powered by heat energy created from the solid-waste process and stored in a battery. According to the still-secret drawings of the patent-pending device, the internally created heat would even power a light inside the stall.

“Just to back up the energy source, we will also use a small solar panel on the roof,” says Halperin. “There’s no need for any sewerage or electricity infrastructures or connections. No need for water to flush. No special maintenance — the chemicals can be put in its dispenser once a month, and the cost of one use is only a few cents.”

‘Reinvent the Toilet Challenge’

These features are a good fit for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge,” which aims to improve on the limitations of the 18th-century toilet still in use today, for 2.6 billion people lacking access to sanitation.

According to the foundation, reinventing the toilet could save millions of lives and help end poverty. About 80 percent of human waste goes into rivers and streams untreated, and 1.1 billion people don’t use a toilet.

The winning solution must be hygienic and sustainable, with an operational cost of no more than five cents per user, per day. It may not discharge pollutants and must generate energy and recover salt, water and other nutrients. It may not rely on water to flush waste or a septic system to process and store waste.

The one-year Gates grant is first-phase funding. If the foundation likes what it sees, Paulee CleanTec will then submit a second proposal for a $1 million or $1.5 million grant to complete development and build a prototype.

Meanwhile, Paulee CleanTec signed a deal with a major international player in the pet market, which will allow for the development of different kinds of devices for collecting and disposing of dog and cat droppings based on the existing patents.

In addition, the Ramat Gan-based company is considering opportunities for raising funds from private and strategic investors as it looks to widen its potential applications to hygienic solutions for trains, airplanes, boats, motor homes and other modes of transportation.

About Abigail Klein Leichman

Abigail Klein Leichman is a writer and associate editor at ISRAEL21c. Prior to moving to Israel in 2007, she was a specialty writer and copy editor at a daily newspaper in New Jersey and has freelanced for a variety of newspapers and periodicals since 1984.
  • E.E. MOSS

    HOW FANTASTIC ! THIS IS WHAT CAN BE DONE WITH BACKING OF SPONSORS . TO THE END RESULT OF BETTERING THE WORLD WE LIVE IN . THIS MAKES MUCH MORE SENSE THAT MAKING BIGGER BOMBS WHEN WE ALREADY CAN KILL THE WORLD 50 TIMES OVER .

  • JAEL CHAN

    WOW! So clever !
    This is an amazing invention!
    Please let me know how can I purchase his device ?
    I will be coming to Israel in October this year. Please advice where can I see this prototype t
    toilet ?
    Thank you and blessings !
    Jael Chan

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary.naulty Mary Naulty

    can’t wait for the pooper-scooper to hit the market in u.s.

  • IKE

    Is this a lot of shit/

  • Graham R-B

    If this works, think of how much valuable drinking water can be saved from being wasted as it is, currently, flushed down the toilet. The proverbial ‘beautiful rose which grows on a dung heap’ might have been the genus of this boon to all creation and the short circuiting of its ecosystem.

  • Sophie

    Here is jus another example the Only in Israel… do we find this kind of technology that will benefit the world and is considerate of underdevloped countreis…the country that truly wants peace and the good of the world.

  • tsvieps

    This is really BIG!! Bring sanitation to billions without using water and at low cost. Much more important than an Iphone or Ipad…what Steve Jobs should have been working on. Super that Gates recognizes its importance and is helping it along.

  • fr

    if this work, it is truly a great stuff and.
    Prof. Oded Shoseyov should be nominated for Noble prize. Good luck prof

  • Uday Pasricha

    This is real innovation and for those living in our country a way to give back some dignity to the 500 milion who have no access to facilties. It is paradoxical that they dont have access because if one was to add a few liters a few times a day for another 500 million one could perhaps create ocean levels to change. This technology and product should not need sales, it should be funded and if possible licensed for profit of the investor, but needs to be made in the country of usage. Import and export logictics alone could prevent access and add a value that will make this remain, just a case study for innovation awards which never gets implemented.

  • Helge Sorensen

    1. Clean water, 2. soils free of excessive salinity, and 3. proper disposal of human & animal waste…these are KEY-KEY axioms for societal stabilization and societal advancement…ABSOLUTELY KEY!
    Great reading! THIS report should be in our TV & Newspaper “HeadLines” instead of the repetitive/redundant/numbingly usless nonsense we presently encounter!

  • http://www.facebook.com/philip.blom Philip Blom

    The cheapest way, of course, is simply to use a compost toilet. A bucket that can be closed with a lid, a seat and organiic material on top of every delivery..