Energy From Human Waste

Did you know that you could turn your waste into water, and if so would you drink it?

A machine called the OmniProcessor is now capable of turning sewage waste into drinkable water, and it was has been developed by the Janicki Bioenergy and paid for by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Figure 1 shows what the machine looks like. It not only converts waste into water but also into usable electricity. It is an ideal product to have in the areas of developing countries that lack good sanitation infrastructure because it solves the sanitation problem and helps money flow into the community.


Sanitation seems to me like something so insignificant because I am privileged knowing that if I need to “go” I would just have to walk down my hallway in Maple Dorm. However, using the bathroom is not as easy for a large population of the world. “2.5 billion urban residents—practice open defecation or otherwise lack adequate sanitation, and an additional 2.1 billion urban residents use facilities that do not safely dispose of human waste.” To put this into perspective, the earth is populated by 7.125 billion people and 4.6 billion of these people, or 6.5 in 10 people, do not share the same privilege to go to the bathroom that I or I am sure most if not all of you reading this blog post have.

The OmniProcessor not only makes humanitarian sense, but also economic sense, which is rare. The machine also converts human waste to electricity that a community can use to bring light to their homes or use the internet, which governments of developing countries all over the world could use to generate revenue and create jobs that would help people live life at a better standard. Additionally, because the OmniProcessor effectively deals with human waste countries that have poor sanitation infrastructures could find a way to safely dispose of its citizen’s waste and save the money the currently spend on sanitation. For example, “in India, bad sanitation practices costs the country nearly $54 billion a year, or 6.4 percent of its GDP.” This machine could help put that take that money out of bad sanitation practices and into education or creating new jobs to help the people improve their living standard.The OmniProcessor has the potential to help people all over the world live better lives and focus on getting an education or working rather than worrying about where to use the bathroom.

Janicki Bioenergy plans on starting an OmniProcessor plant in Dakar, Senegal and testing how the machine would work in the developing world. However, today Figure 2 shows the only machine located in Sedro-Wolley, Washington and Bill Gates himself tasting this water that was once someone else’s poop.  “It’s water!” exclaimed Gates after tasting water that will undoubtedly save the lives of millions people who are similar to you and me with the only difference being a bathroom.

Bill Gates

For more information on this exciting new machine please watch this short 2 minute Youtube video.

One thought on “Energy From Human Waste

  1. Juan,

    I really enjoyed your post! The OmniProcessor is an incredible invention that, as you said, could save millions of peoples lives. I found it incredible that with todays technologies you can turn waste into not only water, but energy! I would say that is a pretty renewable source! I do have one question, how much would it cost to run this machine and how must energy is used while the machine is in use? In other words, is there a sufficient amount of energy saved or money saved when using the OmniProcessor?

    Keep posting!
    – Kristin Smith


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