Next time you see a dog lapping thirstily at a toilet bowl, pause for thought – next time, it could be you.
A new invention – funded by Bill Gates – aims to turn used toilet water into drinking water.
Manchester University’s Sarah Haigh is an expert in nanotechnology – the science of manipulating atoms in matter – and says, it could make waste water from toilets safe to drink.
The innovation – which has been funded by billionaire Bill Gates – could transform the lives of millions of people in the third world.
Haigh believes a new range of materials could extract energy from human waste.
Although the result may not be bottled mineral water, the researcher says the results could be the difference between life-and-death in regions without clean water.
She said: ‘I get a lot of comments about the research I do. I don’t mind people making jokes as long as they’re clean ones.
‘There has been a lot of research into biofuels. There is a lot of energy already present in human waste. Nano-scale materials mean that you can harvest the hydrogen and turn it into hydrozene – which is basically rocket fuel.
The expert, from Manchester University’s school of materials, believes that a scaffold device holding a mixture of bacteria and tiny metal nano-particles will react with the water to extract useful hydrogen, with the remainder filtered again to produce clean water.