One of the great things that I love about what I do is we get to take
on some of the biggest challenges in global health and global development.
And one of those challenges is water sanitation and hygiene.
每个人都需要干净的水资源的同时还需要 比如 引用一个书名来说 就是 “大家都会排便”
Everybody needs clean water and, you know, to quote the book, everybody poops.
And dealing with this in a clean and sanitary way is really important for quality of life,
and it’s also really important for health and getting rid of certain diseases.
And one of the biggest challenges over the last couple of years, a really fun technological
challenge has been the Reinvent the Toilet Project.
The basic theme of this was looking at: Are there new solutions? Twenty-first century
solutions to sanitation–Echoing what we saw in telephone and communication systems where
a lot of countries completely skipped over building a big network of landlines and traditional
phones and went straight to cell phones.
The question was, could we come up with the equivalent technology that would jump over
building out sewer networks and giant expensive water treatment plants and jump immediately
to non-network sanitation?
And it turns out that new approaches are possible using mechanical engineering and chemical
There is actually a lot of free energy in the waste that can be used to process itself
if the machine to do it is designed correctly.
And you can actually do this in a fairly cost effective way.
为了让各大学 不同的企业 设计公司等其它组织真正意识到这一点
So the Reinvent the Toilet challenge was kicked off about five years ago in order to get universities,
different companies, design firms and so on to actually think about this and put twenty-first
century innovation applied to the problem of human sanitation.
And it’s been remarkably cool and successful so far to see the different approaches that
have come up.
There was one team of a lot of Hertz Fellows that started working on figuring out new ways
to use pyrolysis and other approaches for using electrolysis for drying and combusting.
One group is running a steam engine off of human waste as an input stream.
And where a community would used to have ten tons of waste a day now all of a sudden it
runs a steam engine that generates 150 kilowatts of electricity and puts out 10,000 to 20,000
liters a day of potable water.
So this is just really exciting to see what innovation can do, what new technologies can
do, and actually taking on some of these really big challenges and saying, “What would be
a really definitive technological solution to this that actually solves the problem in
a way that we would never have imagined trying 25 or 30 years ago?”