Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Building a Toilet Fair - Day 1

August 14, 2012
Usually, Sunday would see the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Seattle campus empty save for a duck or two, and maybe a few zealous weekend workers. However, this last week was another story entirely. The campus was buzzing as exhibitors from around the world started to set up toilet prototypes for the upcoming Reinvent the Toilet Fair.

The Reinvent the Toilet Fair held August 14-15, 2012 at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Wash. showcases innovations from around the world that are creating a new vision for the next generation of sanitation. The fair aims to inspire collaboration around a shared mission of delivering a reinvented toilet for the 2.5 billion people worldwide who don’t have access to safe and affordable sanitation.

Here's a look behind the scenes during day 1 of transforming our campus into a toilet fair. 

 Exhibitors begin to construct their display for the Reinvent the Toilet Fair in Seattle on May 14, 2012.


A researcher from Eawag: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology and EOOS assemble a prototype (exhibit 19). The toilet diverts urine and recovers water for flushing. The urine and feces will be safely transported to a decentralized processing center. The water used for cleaning will be recycled by a gravity-driven biological membrane.


Researchers from the National University of Singapore assemble a prototype (exhibit 28). Their toilet uses biological charcoal (biochar) to dry and combust feces. The heat generated will be used to extract water from urine by boiling it under pressure.

Researchers from the Stanford University and the Climate Foundation assemble a prototype (exhibit 35). Their self-contained system pyrolyzes (decomposes at high temperatures without oxygen) human waste into biological charcoal.

Researchers from Shijiazhuang University of Economics assemble a prototype (exhibit 33). Their toilet system extracts and disposes fecal sludge on-site.

It's going to be a great two days, and we'll be checking back in with more photos and video live from The Reinvent the Toilet Fair!! For more about why we're working to reinvent the toilet check out this video:

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