Winners of 'Reinvent the Toilet Challenge: India' Announced

Winners of 'Reinvent the Toilet Challenge: India' Announced

The and India's have announced the winners of the .

Six organizations were awarded grants totaling $2 million to develop innovative "next-generation toilets" that can deliver safe, affordable, and sustainable sanitation solutions in India. A collaboration between the Gates Foundation, BIRAC, and the Indian Ministry of Science and Technology, the competition is funded by investments of $1 million each from the Gates Foundation and the ministry's Department of Biotechnology.

Announced at the "Reinvent the Toilet Fair: India" in New Delhi, the grant recipients are , which, in partnership with the , will field test a solar-powered modular electronic toilet that is integrated with a mixed-waste processing unit; the , which will test the use of viral agents to kill pathogens and odor-producing bacteria in fecal waste; Pradin Technologies, which will test the viability of using ultrasound to reduce water use in toilets; the , which, in partnership with Fresh Rooms Life Sciences, will develop a single-household container that uses human feces to incubate black soldier fly larvae, which can be processed into marketable products; the , which will evaluate the concept of using fine sand-like material and an air blower to create a water-free toilet interface free of odor and flies; and , which, in partnership with and Sustainable Biosolutions, will design a septic tank that uses electrochemistry to reduce organic pollutants and improve the quality of discharged effluent.

"Effective and comprehensive sanitation seems an impossible dream for India," said BIRAC chair K. Vijay Raghavan. "Yet today we see a congruence of new and applicable science and technology, its affordability, and sustainable implementation. This congruence is a great opportunity, which we cannot afford to let slip. By implementing effective solutions in each kind of social context, big problems can be dealt with in small units and be catalysts for scaling up."

The Gates Foundation also announced a partnership with South Africa's to field test technologies developed as part of the global Reinvent the Toilet Challenge. The foundation and DST will invest $1 million and approximately $2.76 million (30 million rand), respectively, in the effort.

"By applying creative thinking and new approaches to sanitation challenges, we can improve people's lives. And we have no doubt that these new partnerships with India and South Africa will help us achieve this," said Brian Arbogast, director of the team at the Gates Foundation. "We believe that with governmental leadership, new business models, and innovation, we can dramatically increase the progress made in tackling this global sanitation crisis."

"." Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Press Release 03/22/2014.