Now don’t be grossed out, but it seems human fecal waste will actually be useful to something – obtaining hydrogen and even water to drink out of it! The bold initiative belongs to a team of researchers from Imperial College London, the University of Manchester and Durham University, who received the funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The purpose of technology is actually very humanitarian, being intended for the people in the developing world if they are to power their homes and sustain any type of life.
The project has two steps: first, they expect to see an independent sanitation device as a kind of basis for the technology itself, and only after they see that in place, the researchers plan to go forward.
So step two would mean bringing forth a portable device that contains a porous scaffold with bacteria and metal nano-particles. When the fecal matter is run through, it reacts with the particles and the result is water and hydrogen.
The first demonstrative prototype is expected by 2013. However, in the long run, the team wants to make it smarter than most, who touch their limit with 2 resources. Just think of one single device producing 3 different types of resources at once: electrolytes for electricity, methane for energy and ammonia as a fertilizer.
Of course, the device can be used by anyone who wants to have a self-reliant household, but it is the developing world that seems most in need of it. In this rhythm, it looks like anything will be re-used in the near future!