If you believed Bill Gates’ contribution to day-to-day computing was impressive, his latest job might be ground-breaking.
The cofounder of Microsoft has made it his mission to save the planet in his retirement through his philanthropic work together with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Now, the husband and wife team are backing a pilot project that hopes to turn human feces into clean drinking water in some of the weakest regions of the planet.
Video from “Gatesnotes” reveals Gates, listed by Forbes as 2014’s wealthiest person in the world using a net worth of $76 billion, drinking a glass of water made by the Janicki Omniprocessor.
The machine, designed by Janicki Bioenergy, an engineering firm produces electricity and water, as well as ash and burns human waste.
Gates writes: “Gates saw the loads of feces go up the conveyer belt and drop into a big bin. A few minutes later I took a long flavor of the end result: a glass of drinking water that was delicious.
“The water tasted as great as any I’ve had out of a bottle. And having analyzed the engineering behind it, I’d happily drink it daily. It’s that safe.
Sipping the water given to him, Gates says jokingly, “It’s water!”
For many across the world, latrines aren’t drained correctly and others defecate in the street. Often, the drinking water is contaminated by the waste. The end result? Gates says that poor sanitation kills 700,000 kids every year.
“If we can develop secure, affordable ways to eliminate human waste, we can prevent many of these deaths and help more kids grow up healthy.”
Gates is now funding the Janicki Omniprocessor’s pilot in Dakar, Senegal, that will examine the method by which the machine can operate with a local community. Gates writes that if it’s a success, they’ll search for other countries to utilize the scheme, including India, where Gates believes lots of entrepreneurs could possess and run the machine.
Remarking on the endeavor, Gates reasoned, “it is the best example of such old saying: one man’s garbage is just another man’s treasure”.
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