Mr. Gates, don’t forget to put the lid back down

Bill Gates puts money on solar toilet program

By Bill Rigby

The Associated Press

Bill Gates is betting the toilet of the future for the developing world will be solar powered.

The world’s leading private philanthropist handed a $100,000 prize to the California Institute of Technology for its work on a self-contained, sunpowered system that recycles water and breaks down human waste into storable energy.

Bill Gates, third from right, looks at a device that uses solar energy to treat human waste, as he tours the %22Reinventing the Toliet%22 Fair, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012, in Seattle.

Gates is focusing on the need for a new type of toilet as an important part of his foundation’s push to improve health in the developing world. Open defecation leads to sanitation problems that cause 1.5 million children under age five to die each year, Gates said, and Western-style toilets are not the answer as they demand a complex sewer infrastructure and use too much water.

The Microsoft co-founder is looking to change that by sparking new inventions in toilet technology, which he says has not fundamentally changed since the invention of the flush toilet in 1775.

“Imagine what’s possible if we continue to collaborate, stimulate new investment in this sector, and apply our ingenuity in the years ahead,” Gates said at his foundation’s Seattle headquarters. “Many of these innovations will not only revolutionize sanitation in the developing world, but also help transform our dependence on traditional flush toilets in wealthy nations.”



Editorial: Lowly toilet due for a makeover/Arizona Daily Sun


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August 2012