According to all of the scientific mumbo jumbo in this video, the Janicki Omniprocessor has the power to change the lives of millions and maybe even billions of people. The basic gist of it, for the un-science-types like me, is that this machine, designed and built by Janicki Bioenergy, has the ability to not only turn sewage waste and human feces into energy, but it can also create fresh drinking water from it. Gross? In theory, but Bill Gates believed in the Janicki Doohickey enough to put his money and potentially awful diseases where his mouth is, because he filled a glass with the poo water and drank it down.
The water tasted as good as any I’ve had out of a bottle. And having studied the engineering behind it, I would happily drink it every day. It’s that safe.
So let’s be serious about this now and understand why a machine like this is so important and valuable to underdeveloped nations.
Why would anyone want to turn waste into drinking water and electricity?
Because a shocking number of people, at least 2 billion, use latrines that aren’t properly drained. Others simply defecate out in the open. The waste contaminates drinking water for millions of people, with horrific consequences: Diseases caused by poor sanitation kill some 700,000 children every year, and they prevent many more from fully developing mentally and physically.
If we can develop safe, affordable ways to get rid of human waste, we can prevent many of those deaths and help more children grow up healthy.
Toilets like those that we are familiar with require pipes and sewers, which is basically impossible in poor nations, writes Gates, so this Omniprocessor is a total game changer.
The Omniprocessor is a safe repository for human waste. Today, in many places without modern sewage systems, truckers take the waste from latrines and dump it into the nearest river or the ocean—or at a treatment facility that doesn’t actually treat the sewage. Either way, it often ends up in the water supply. If they took it to the Omniprocessor instead, it would be burned safely. The machine runs at such a high temperature (1000 degrees Celsius) that there’s no nasty smell; in fact it meets all the emissions standards set by the U.S. government.
The project gets underway with a test facility in Dakar, Senegal, where the engineers and a team watching from America will be able to troubleshoot any issues while better understanding the process. Then, who knows? There could be poop water for all.