Gates plans to fund an invention that aims to filter toilet waste back into "drinkable" water. According to Sarah Haigh from the Manchester University, who is an expert in nanotechnology that deals with the science of manipulating atoms in matter, considers that waste water from toilets can be made safe to drink.
The invention could prove especially beneficial to the third world countries. Haigh also believes that a range of materials can be extracted from human waste that can be used to produce energy.
The invention cannot, however, be bottled as mineral water, but can be considered a boon to those countries that don’t have access to clean drinking water. The Daily Mail has quoted her as saying, "I get a lot of comments about the research I do. I don't mind people making jokes as long as they're clean ones."
She added, “There has been a lot of research into biofuels. There is a lot of energy already present in human waste. Nano-scale materials mean that you can harvest the hydrogen and turn it into hydrozene - which is basically rocket fuel."
Haigh believes that a scaffold device holding a mixture of bacteria and tiny metal nano-particles will react with the water that can result in the extraction of useful hydrogen, this is then filtered once again to produce clean water.
The idea to fuel-producing, water-cleaning device for the developing world elicited warm response and beat more than 2,000 other proposals. The group that came up with this idea will receive another 1 million dollars from the Gates foundation if they are successfully able to demonstrate the chemical reactions they proposed.
Gates, known for his philanthropic endeavours is determined to utilize a large portion of his assets towards the betterment of the world. The researchers plan to have a prototype ready by 2013.
Haigh further stated that they plan to turn the visit to the toilet to an investment by developing novel materials that convert natural waste into a useable resource. She adds, "This technology will be particularly important for remote locations in developing countries and will have the added benefits of reduced pollution and lower waste disposal costs."