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.
In Madagascar each toilet requires a $16 deposit for use rather than purchase; the technology remains owned by Loowatt. In addition, a service fee of approximately $4 is charged each month for maintenance and materials. At UK festivals the toilets are promoted as “luxury loos” and cost approximately $45 per adult for use throughout the festival duration.
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 urban customers in Antananarivo, Madagascar at in a pilot program for public toilets and waste treatment, and now continues a second program at the household level to develop a waste-to-value treatment system. In addition the company provides toilets for events and festivals across the United Kingdom.
Toilets are constructed locally using available materials and are integrated with imported Loowatt waste-sealing units.
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Type of toilet
Method of evacuation
How the fecal sludge is stored
The holding volume of the containment
64 L storage, during operation should not exceed 25 L
Time until emptying is estimated to be needed
The toilet was designed to provide sanitary toilets where water is not accessible for flushing. Loowatt replaced traditional flushing with sealing waste in a biodegradable film to prevent odors and user contact with the waste.
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 scaling household sanitation services that are locally managed, and 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.
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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.
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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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