The Nano Membrane Toilet

Treating human waste onsite without external energy or water.

Cranfield University is developing the Nano Membrane Toilet which will be able to treat human waste on-site without external energy or water. The toilet is designed for single-household use (equivalent to 10 people) and will accept urine and faeces as a mixture. The toilet is still under development; this is the vision of how it will work: The toilet flush uses a unique rotating mechanism to transport the mixture into the toilet without demanding water whilst simultaneously blocking odour and the user’s view of the waste.

Solids separation (faeces) is principally accomplished through sedimentation. Loosely bound water (mostly from urine) is separated using low glass transition temperature hollow-fibre membranes. The unique nanostructured membrane wall facilitates water transport in the vapour state rather than as a liquid state which yields high rejection of pathogens and some odorous volatile compounds. A novel nano-coated bead enables water vapour recovery through encouraging the formation of water droplets at the nanobead surface. Once the droplets form a critical size, the water drains into a collection vessel for reuse at the household level in washing or irrigation applications.

Following release of unbound water, the residual solids (around 20-25% solids) are transported by mechanical screw into a gasifier which will convert them into ash and energy. The energy will power the membrane processes, and there may be extra energy for charging mobile phones or other low voltage items.

The toilet will be rented by the households and maintenance will be undertaken with a trained operative responsible for the franchised area.

Do you want to gain the skills to develop a technology like this? Apply now for our MSc courses in Community Water and Sanitation, Energy from Waste, and our MDes course in Design and Innovation for Sustainability and Innovation and Creativity in Industry

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Prizes and publicity!

We are pleased to announce the Nano Membrane Toilet has been selected as winner of the award for Excellence in the Field of Environmental Technology Research, by a panel chaired by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco.   The award was p...

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Posted 18th March 2015

Perspectives from potential users

Earlier this year four members of the Nano Membrane Toilet team traveled to Ghana to hear from our potential users and get their input into the design of the toilet.We were really pleased to work with Clean Team who made sure we got all th...

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Posted 17th March 2015

New team members

We're delighted to have two new post-docs join the team from across the world!Chih-ying (Karen) Wang has a PhD  entitled "Diffusion in hydrogel-supported lipid bilayer membranes" from McGill University in Canada and joins us following ...

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Posted 9th March 2015

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