TORONTO, Nov. 28, 2012 /CNW/ - A University of Toronto engineering team
has received a major grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
to continue work on designing for a waterless, hygienic toilet that is
safe and affordable for people in the developing world.
The Gates Foundation awarded the grant, worth $2.2 million for 15
months, to U of T Engineering Professor Yu-Ling Cheng, Director of the Centre for Global Engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, and her team. Earlier
this year, Professor Cheng's team, which also includes researchers from
Western University and the University of Queensland, placed third in
the Foundation's Reinventing the Toilet Challenge.
The U of T Engineering solution uses a sand filter and UV disinfection
to process liquid waste and a smolder chamber, similar to a charcoal
barbeque, to incinerate solid waste that has been flattened and dried
in a roller/belt assembly. Going forward, the team will work to further
simplify the process, reduce mechanical complexity and minimize odor.
"I am very proud of our entire team and the work we have done up to
now," Cheng said. "We have proven that our concept works technically,
now we are going to get busy to make sure it will work for the users -
some of the 2.6 billion people in the world who do not have access to
basic sanitation." Western toilets, which rely on running water, an
extensive sewer network and an expensive processing system, are not
suitable for the needs of people in the developing world - many of whom
live in places without the infrastructure we take for granted, she
Working with local partners in Bangladesh, Cheng and her team hope to
have an operational prototype by December of 2013, one that uses
readily available materials and equipment that can be maintained
locally, she said.
"We are all proud of the accomplishments of Professor Yu-Ling Cheng and
her team, and grateful to the Gates Foundation for the continued
support," said Professor Cristina Amon, Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. "The toilet
research project and the Centre for Global Engineering exemplify U of T
Engineering's commitment to doing innovative research that matters and
which has global impact."
Besides Cheng, the University of Toronto Engineering team includes
engineering professors Mark Kortschot, Elizabeth Edwards, Yuri Lawryshyn, and Levente Diosady, as well as PhD candidate Tiffany Jung and research associate Zachary Fishman. Professors José Torero of the University of Queensland and Jason
Gerhard of Western University are also key collaborators on the
SOURCE: University of Toronto - Engineering Strategic Communications
For further information:
For more information on the University of Toronto team, please contact:
Communications & Media Relations Strategist
Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, University of Toronto
For more information on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, please contact: