Thursday, 6 September 2012

Bill Gates and the high tech loo

Who doesnt know Bill Gates!!! after all he found a way for all of us to use computers. Windows had made it so easy for all of us that even an uneducated guy can just 'point and click' at what he wants!! Just think of those days where one had to punch a plethora of coded lines just to get our favourite program started.  This one man and his team(which i heard included many indians) had transformed the way we use our computers and made them an intrinsic part of our everyday lives.

He made his trillions and one day, he decided to retire and continue to work for his philanthropic organisation ' Bill and Melinda Gates foundation'.  He travels to many countries including india.  One of his important concerns is that Governments should take on a project after his organisation starts it in pilot mode.  His argument is that philanthropic organisations can only fund/initiate innovative pilot projects but the real funding for implementation on a large scale must be taken on by the government.  

What he says is true. No philanthropic organisation however rich, can afford to implement social programs which legitimately should have been implemented by the government.  They can chip in where there are perceived bottlenecks in the planning and implementation to show the way as a 'path maker'. Anyway whatever any philanthropic organisation could contribute towards implementation of governmental schemes would be 'peanuts' literally in comparison to the volume of funds that are allocated for social development.  The only question is - actually what % trickes down to the most needy?

Anyway, Mr Bill Gates has now decided to reinvent the toilet - yes you read right - the toilet!!! He gave a grant of $100,000 (about 55 lakhs)to Caltech university for the same, taking their total committment to the project to about $ 400 million (200 crores)  Surely this project is more socially relevant than the 'windows' but what does he hope to get out of it?

Mr Bill Gates believes that the conventional toilet is not environment friendly and uses too much water.  So he started funding the research first to cut down on the amount of water and next to utilise the waste as manure/for power generation/or to make it more easily decomposable etc.  In this way he considers that potable water could be saved and many ailments due to improper disposal of waste could be avoided. 

Well said Mr Gates!! we look forward to your invention!!! There is one intresting one already. Its called the EVAC system used in some of the warships and merchant ships.  It uses a combination of vacuum generation and water to flush out the waste.  A conventional old fashioned toilet uses 20 litres of water to a flush.  The modern flushes use about 10 litres but an EVAC uses only 1.6 litres of water per flush.  It may not be suitable for residential house because of the complicated machinery required to create vacuum but it surely should be the way for hotels/malls or commercial etablishments. Imagine a mall with a footfall of 50,000 visitors per day and considering atleast 50% use the rest rooms, that is a whopping 2,50,000 litres per day per mall which could be reduced to about 40,000 litres a day using EVAC.
and trust me - this technology is available since 20 years!!! Its just that we didnt bother about it!!!

With the new thrust Mr Gates had taken, I think it would drive many heads in such directions!!

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