Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Nano Membrane Toilet receives further funding

We are delighted to announce that the Nano Membrane Toilet has received further funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to continue the development of the toilet.   This next phase will take us to January 2016 when we will have a prototype ready for field testing.   We're really excited to be starting work again after a 6 month break.

We will be continuing to work on some of the components from phase one, particularly the initial collection chamber, the membrane, the flush and the screw, the latter in collaboration with UKZN.   The biggest change is that rather than coating the dried solids, we're now looking to combust them in the toilet using a gasifier - we'll be working with RTI who are already testing their gasifier in India.   This changes the energy balance of the toilet, for example we can now consider recovering the water using a heat exchanger instead of the beads, and we won't have to use the bicycle power generator or hand crank to power the membrane processes.

These new components will require changes to the overall toilet design, and also an intelligent control system which we'll work on with Three Bird Swan.   We'll also continue to collect the perceptions of our target users, through interviews with the customers of Clean Team in Ghana.

Keep following the blog for updates and get in touch with any questions.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Reinvent the Toilet Phase 1. Design Team progress photos.

Created with flickr slideshow.

As we have now reached the end of Phase one the Design Team wanted to show some snaps of the project as it's developed over the course of the year.

This album shows primary research in Ghana, early idea generation to prevent smell in the form of a waterless flush, the workshop, aesthetic design development, CAD work, building the Aesthetic prototype and the culmination of the first phase of the project; the Reinvent the Toilet fair in Delhi, India.

The Design Team consisting of Jake Larsson, Ross Tierney and Dr. Leon Williams are looking forward to getting back to the drawing board and continuing with the the challenging and fascinating project and also potential future collaborations and opportunities.

Monday, 15 September 2014


We’d like to take an opportunity to acknowledge and thank the partners we’ve worked with so far on the Nano Membrane Toilet.   They’ve all done exceptional work.  

Model Products worked built the technical 'works-like' rig that was on display at the Reinvent the Toilet Fair in Delhi and the Natural History Museum. The rig brought together the individual components to create a whole system that will allow for future testing and development. The rig was built to a very high standard and attention to detail was evident with great consideration given to usability during testing.

NextShoot produced the video that explained the toilet system and the impact to the target market in a succinct and engaging manner. Their enthusiasm, skill and experience combined to convey a complex system very effectively in a short amount of time.

Spectrum Gas Systems fabricated the membrane and condensation test rigs, which were instrumental in benchmarking the performance of individual components. The data generated here informed the design of both the "works-like" rig, and the "looks like" prototype.

BMS were involved in early idea generation and concept development on the odour barrier and the fabrication of the demonstration prototypes. Their diverse background helped during the creative process and with many years practical experience, they were able to produce robust test rigs that clearly explained the ideas.

Artem produced the Aesthetic prototype that allowed people to interact with the toilet and understand the aspirations of the Cranfield team. The ‘looks-like’ prototype gave an impression of a high quality product and fulfilled the aspirational image that the team wanted to convey.