The Loowatt toilet is a dry-toilet that seals waste into a biodegradable film for transport and further processing, creating either energy or fertilizer.
Loowatt toilets are versatile waterless-flush sanitation systems that seal waste into a portable cartridge using biodegradable film. The cartridges prevent odors and enable periodic emptying by a team of waste-collectors. Once waste is collected it is processed anaerobically to produce biogas, electricity and fertilizer. Overall this system is obtained with an initial monetary deposit and maintained with a monthly fee for emptying and replacement of the biodegradable film.
There are both permanent and temporary installation options. The Home toilet is equipped with a manual flush. The Pro toilet is portable and equipped with an electric flush and a remote monitoring system that signals capacity alerts for the collection services.
In Madagascar each toilet requires a 16 USD deposit for use rather than purchase; the technology remains owned by Loowatt. In addition, a service fee of approximately 4 USD is charged each month for maintenance and materials.
Other water-less toilets available include the Dry-Flush toilet which similarly bags and contains waste, but these devices are at a higher cost and for purchase rather than the leasing model used by Loowatt. In Madagascar there are no other sanitation companies that let users rent toilets, and in the UK none of the rentable toilets available are dry.
Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation
Loowatt targets a range of users including urban households, off-grid communities, and event sites. In Madagascar, programs for both public toilets and waste treatment and household toilets and waste-to-value treatment systems were implemented. In the United Kingdom, toilets are often used for events and festivals.
Toilets are constructed locally using available materials and are integrated with imported Loowatt waste-sealing units.
In partnership with local governments and organizations, Loowatt provides waterless toilets to households and communities in Madagascar, the Philippines, and the UK.
By January 2021, over 1,000 toilets have been distributed.
Type of toilet
Method of evacuation
How the fecal sludge is stored
The holding volume of the containment
Time until emptying is estimated to be needed
The toilet was designed to provide sanitary toilets where water is not accessible for flushing.
Loowatt utilizes a biodegradable film to seal waste. This prevents odors and improves safety by eliminating user contact with the waste.
Refills & maintenance: There are two alert mechanisms to indicate the container needs to be replaced: the Loowatt app or color-coded polymer film.
Loowatt employs a closed-loop process to transform human waste into biogas for electricity and fertilizer for crops. The waste is collected by a service team and transported to a waste processing facility. The film is separated from the waste so that the waste can be treated using anaerobic digesters to produce the biogas and fertilizer products.
Additional schematic information can be found in Eawag’s Assessing the Costs of on-Site Sanitation Facilities study report.
The toilets are serviced and emptied periodically by trained staff.
The loowatt toilets require a monthly fee paid by users which covers the cost of repairs and components of the toilet mechanism that need replacing.
Over 10 yearsInterview with designer
Loowatt’s target goals are to provide household and community sanitation services that are locally managed and then to scale production to ultimately meet the sanitation needs of growing urban communities. Loowatt aims to serve over 1 million people in under-served communities by 2022, in addition to over 5 million people annually throughout the EU.
As of 2021, over 252,000 people have used Loowatt toilets, 745 tons of waste has been processed, and 56 MWh of energy has been generated.
The toilet has been tested by the manufacturer and users.Interview with designer
The Loowatt systems were designed to ensure that users did not have contact with the waste deposited into toilets. One safety factor that is still being considered is the transfer of waste from the toilet-containers to transportation services, which can result in sewage being spilled into yards.
The toilets are integrated with a waste-processing facility built in Madagascar’s capital, which processes the waste collected from each of the company’s leased-toilets every six months.
Siegel, R.P., 2015, Energy otherwise flushed away: a waterless toilet can provide the feedstock for a biogas digester, Mechanical Engineering-CIME.
Ulrich, L., Salian, P., Saul, C., Jüstrich, S. & Lüthi, C., 2016, Assessing the Costs of on-Site Sanitation Facilities, Eawag Aquatic Research.
Larsson, E. & Nilsson, M., Towards sustainable sanitation in slum areas: A field study in Mumbai, Linkopings University.
NoneInterview with designer
The toilets are evaluated by users for functionality and appropriateness, and feedback is given to the design team.Interview with designer
Loowatt toilets were used by staff at the 2018 royal wedding.
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