Bill Gates wants to potty train the world on solar-powered toilets. The developing world, specifically, where 2.6 billion people lack access to modern toilets connected to advanced sanitation infrastructure. This contributes to 1.5 million deaths due to preventable diarrheal illness, according to the World Health Organization. To address the problem, the Gates Foundation awarded grants to teams from CalTech, Stanford, and elsewhere yesterday, at a “Reinvent the Toilet Fair” in Seattle. The winning latrines incorporate innovative features like the ability to generate their own energy from solar power and biofuel, and require little or no infrastructure to keep processing poo.
That’s the quick and dirty rundown of one component of the Gates Foundations’ $370 million Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Initiative; here’s the Foundation with its snazzier multimedia presentation: