It may not be an appetizing thought when you’re putting the dinner on – but a new loo turns human waste into fuel. The ‘No Mix Vacuum Toilet’ is an airplane-style vacuumtoilet which splits waste into solids and liquids. Liquid waste is processed for chemicals such as phosphorous for fertilizers. Solid waste is processed in a bioreactor to create ‘biogas’ – a methane-rich gas which is, the scientists promise, odorless and safe for cooking.
Canny scientists have invented a new toilet system that can turn human waste into electricity and fertilizers, and reduce water for flushing by up to 90 per cent. Coined the No-Mix Vacuum Toilet, the loo has two chambers that separate the liquid and solid wastes – and uses vacuum suction technology like airplane toilets. Solid waste will be sent to a bioreactor where it will be digested to release bio-gas which contains methane – an odorless gas used to replace natural gas used in stoves for cooking. Flushing liquids in the new toilet would only take only 0.2 liters of water and flushing solids requires one liter, compared to four to six liters in a conventional loo.
According to the inventors, if it is installed in a public restroom and flushed 100 times a day, it will save 160,000 liters in a year – enough to fill a small swimming pool. The No-Mix Vacuum Toilet will divert the liquid waste to a processing facility where components used for fertilizers such as nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium can be recovered.
An old port city on Spain’sAtlantic coast has emerged as a prototype for high-tech smart cities worldwide. Blanketed with sensors, it’s changing the way of life for its residents. Santander is a picturesque coastal city – the sound of waves, crashing on the seawall, provides a gentle backdrop to daily life. Aside from the occasional ferry from England, the town in the northeast of Spain doesn’t get too many foreign visitors. It turned quite a few heads, then, when delegations from Google, Microsoft and the Japanese government all landed here recently, to literally walk the city streets. What they’ve been coming to see though is mostly invisible: 12,000 sensors buried under the asphalt, affixed to street lamps and atop city buses. They silently survey parking availability, and whether surf’s up at local beaches. They can even tell garbage collectors which dumpsters are full, and automatically dim street lights when no one’s around.
Santander’s old port city is being revolutionized with sensors The sensors were paid for by a 9-million-euro ($11.8 million) EU grant, and are supervised by Luis Munoz at the University of Cantabria.
Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA ) and its brash CEO, Elon Musk, love nothing more than to name an outrageous-sounding technological goal — and then meet it. The latest: Musk said this week that Tesla will be able to offer cars that are (mostly) self-driving in three years.
That’s way ahead of giants General Motors (NYSE: GM ) and Toyota (NYSE: TM ) , which have been saying that 2020 is a more likely date for the arrival of autonomous cars. In this video, Fool contributor John Rosevear looks at what Musk really said and argues that Tesla’s goal this time isn’t revolutionary — instead, it’s more likely to be the basic price of admission to the luxury-car market in a few years’ time.
Scientists in Kenya have discovered a massive underground reserve that could allow the drought-ravaged country to meet its water needs for the next 70 years. Discovered in the desert of Kenya’s Turkana region, the Lotikipi Basin Aquifer contains more than 200 billion cubic meters of fresh water, and is about the size of Rhode Island. All told, the region has at least 250 billion cubic meters of fresh water stored in underground reserves, which are replenished at a rate of 3.4 billion cubic meters per year. The discovery, first reported by ITV News, will be officially announced Wednesday by the Kenyan government and UNESCO, which helped realize the project with funding from the Japanese government.
The project was spearheaded by Alain Gachet, president and CEO of Radar Technologies International (RTI), a France-based natural resources exploration firm. Over the course of six months, Gachet and his team of researchers used RTI’s WATEX mapping system to survey the northern county of Turkana, one of Kenya’s driest and poorest regions.
A new major study conducted by a team of international researchers suggests that increasing the intake of caffeine protects the liver from certain diseases. The study, led by Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School (Duke-NUS) and the Duke University School of Medicine, suggests that increasing the intake of caffeine helps in reducing fatty liver in those with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is caused due to the deposition of fat in the liver and not due to excessive intake of alcohol. People with NAFLD show symptoms of fatigue, abdominal discomfort and malaise. Although rarely, victims may even suffer from mild jaundice. Nearly 70 percent of people worldwide, who suffer from obesity and diabetes, have NAFLD and nearly 30 percent of U.S. adults suffer from this condition. Except for diet and exercise, there is no effective treatment for NAFLD. The study researchers found that a morning cup of coffee or tea not only perks up a person for work but helps in reducing fatty liver in NAFLD people. There is a growing pile of evidence on the health benefits offered by coffee and tea consumption. At the same time there are studies that highlight the downside of coffee and tea consumption. But this is the first study that links coffee to a healthy liver.