patent law

The Poop Machine by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill and Melinda have recently announced that they plan to divorce after 27 years of marriage. The two billionaire philanthropists have helped the world with numerous causes through the non-profit of the BIll and Melinda Gates Foundation. One of their endeavors relates to a fecal waste system that generates electricity and potable water, which is described and patented in US patent 10247049B2.

In this patent, ‘wet fecal sludge’ is vaporized to a dry solid fuel. In the process, steam is collected and condensed to clean potable water. The dry solid fuel is used to power a steam-powered electric generator. Thus, the machine takes poop, and turns it into potable water and electricity, bucking the old saying “you can polish a turd but it’s still a turd”.

As shown by the figure below, quite a bit of ingenuity goes into this system, which appears to be fairly closed and self-sufficient. For example, the steam engine that is powered by the dried turd is also used to dry wet turd which creates more dried turd to be used as fuel for the steam engine.

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