World’s 1st solar eToilet creates power & fertilizer from waste in India
The world’s first electronic solar public eToilet has been put up in Thiruvananthapuram, in Kerala. It generates power as well as fertilizer from the waste. The toilets have been set up in Pulluvila, a village in the Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala. The village boasts of having the world’s first e-toilet, which utilizes technology to turn waste into fertilizer, generate power, and even produce potable water. The innovative agency behind the initiative is Eram Scientific Solutions, a Thiruvananthapuram-based Company. It has vowed to continue with its innovative interventions such as the E-toilets to radically change the way public sanitation works in India.
What is an electronic toilet or an eToilet?
These E-toilets, which are basically steel cubicles, are equipped with a number of electronic equipment to help them work as an automated, solar-powered, as well as self-cleaning toilets. These E-toilets are India’s first automated toilets, which are hygienically maintained and are also eco-friendly. The portable E-toilets are powered by solar panels in order to do away with the use of electricity.
In fact, Eram solutions came up with an eToilet mobile application for such toilets on the occasion of the World Toilet Day, which was on November 19. The android mobile app can be downloaded for free. Its salient features include the capability to locate the nearest eToilets, provide proper understanding of the mode of operation as well as access, information on facilities, incinerator as well as sharing feedback on user experience of the E-toilet. People can also suggest new places for putting up the eToilets through the mobile app.
India is home to the highest number of people indulging in open defecation
Around 626 million people in India, which is the highest number across the world, defecate in the open since they do not have access to a toilet in their homes. According to a study, carried out by CRY, 11 percent of schools in India don’t have basic sanitation facilities. Only 18 percent have separate toilets for girls and boys, and as many as 34 percent school toilets are unusable. Every month, school girls (from 12 to 18 years of age) are forced to miss school for at least 5 days due to their menstrual cycle since there aren’t proper toilet facilities in the school.
How does the E-toilet work?
The E-toilet flushes itself before as well as after every use with the minimum quantity of water required. On average, every flush uses only 1.5 liters of water, as compared to a normal flush which uses around 8 to 10 liters of water. The floor gets automatically washed after every tenth use. Even the lights turn on automatically and they draw power from an in-built solar panel. Electronic equipment monitor everything through GPRS telemetry including the frequency as well as volume of usage, together with water and electricity consumption. There are also provisions for waste treatment through the use of anaerobic biodegradation. The E-toilet model also has a coin-operated vending machine for sanitary napkins.
A user needs to insert a coin to open the door. The E-toilet’s sensor-based lighting system automatically turns on once the user enters. The system is also capable of directing the users with audio commands. In order to conserve water, the eToilets are programmed to flush around 1.5 liters of water after every 3 minutes of usage and about 4.5 liters is discharged if the usage is longer than the above period. The ‘smart’ E-toilet also cleans the platform automatically. Instructional notes are put up outside the E-toilet in order to guide the user about its functioning. There are She-toilets as well to caters to the needs of girls during the menstrual cycle. These E-toilets, which are put up in schools, are ‘girl-friendly’ and equipped to offer facilities such as napkin vending machines as well as incinerators. A service team periodically conducts visits to the E-toilets for maintenance as well as repair. The eToilets are being put up at easily accessible points for the public.
eToilets a boon for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
Eram Solutions is the only manufacturer of E-toilets in India and it has set up more than 1,600 eToilets in India. The company has received more than 38 national as well as international awards for their innovative intervention as far as sanitation is concerned. Eram Solutions novel intervention in the field of sanitation is radically changing the way public sanitation functions in the country. Its contribution to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is huge.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been supporting the innovative project. It awarded a Rs 3-crore “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge” grant to the company Eram Scientific Solutions for research, development, as well as implementation of the project. The electronic solutions company also received a fair bit of technical support from the University of South Florida (USF), also supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.