Earlier this year, Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates made headlines for drinking water that had been human waste pumped in from local sewage facility just five minutes earlier. The billionaire activist did the seemingly unsanitary deed to demonstrate the ability of “Janicki Omni Processor” (JOP) – a self-powered machine that turns human feces into clean drinking water, electricity and ashes.
Sounds incredible, no?
As it turns out, the astounding machine that can not only provide clean water but can also reduce diseases is now getting a test run in Dakar, Senegal – a West African city of 3.4 million people, where about a third of population has no access to a proper sewer system. Due to the lack of infrastructure, these people store their waste in pits or septic tanks, thus exposing themselves to deadly diseases and contaminating the underground water as well.
JOP has been installed in Dakkar as part of a pilot project that aims to provide clean, drinkable water to the struggling areas of the world and ultimately save lives by reducing diseases, according to Gates' recent blog post.
“You may recall that the JOP takes human waste and turns it into drinking water, electricity and ash. (It is actually one of several Omni Processors being developed that treat human waste and produce something of value.) It’s tempting to focus on the drinking water, for obvious reasons. But the goal is not to provide water. The goal is to dramatically improve sanitation for all the cities in poor countries,” he wrote.
Find out more about his initiative in the video posted below:
“Today at least 2 billion people use latrines that aren’t properly drained, and diseases caused by poor sanitation kill some 700,000 children every year," Gates added. "Unfortunately, rich-world solutions aren’t feasible in poor countries – they require too much expensive infrastructure."
Developed by Seattle-based company Janicki Bioenergy, the Omni Processor can convert about 14 tons of sewage into electricity and drinkable water each day.
Moreover, the next version of the machine will also be able to burn most types of garbage along with human waste, and will be easier to maintain. Gates also announced that he has great a business plan and a brilliant team of engineers working toward making this a reality.
If the project finds success in Senegal, it could change lives of millions not only in Africa, but all around the world.