Nanyang Technological University (NTU) scientists have developed a toilet that converts human waste for use as fertiliser and biogas. TODAY reports.
New toilet turns human waste into resources
SINGAPORE – Scientists from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have developed a new toilet system that converts human waste to electricity and fertiliser.
It also reduces the amount of water needed for flushing by up to 90 per cent, compared to current toilet systems in Singapore.
Dubbed the No-Mix Vacuum Toilet, the system has two chambers which separate liquid and solid wastes.
Using vacuum suction technology, flushing liquids takes only 0.2 litre of water while flushing solids requires only one litre. Existing toilets use four to six litres of water per flush.
Liquid waste will be diverted to a processing facility where components used for fertilisers can be recovered, while solid waste is sent to a bioreactor to release bio-gas which contains methane. Methane can be used in stoves or be converted to electricity.
“Singapore has been relatively clean over the last few decades, but we can still improve a little bit,” said Associate Professor Wang Jing-Yuan, Director of NTU’s Residues and Resource Reclamation Centre. “In Singapore we don’t have natural resources, that is why we’ve been thinking if we can use all these waste materials. To me, all these are resources.”
Scientists have been working on the system since 2010. The system is part of a project that has received S$10 million from Singapore’s National Research Foundation’s Competitive Research Programme.
The NTU plans to carry out a six-month trial starting next month, with prototypes installed in two toilets in the university and used by an estimated 500 students.
Talks are also underway to test bed the project in a new town in two years’ time. Scientists further hope to commercialise the system and export it to other countries.
Image from Sean.Caco
The Earth Observatory has two positions open, one for a Policy Director, and the other, for a Programme Manager. Details below.
The Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) at Nanyang Technological University is looking to hire a Policy Director and a Programme Manager for the Secretariat of the Southeast Asian Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change (SEACLG).
The SEACLG brings together a group of senior corporate leaders (CEOs, Chairmen, Board Members etc.) who are committed to taking action on climate change. EOS hosts the secretariat that supports the SEACLG. In addition, the SEACLG is a member of the Corporate Leaders Network for Climate Action (CLN).
The SEACLG Policy Director will lead in the day-to-day operations of the Secretariat. The position holder reports to the Executive Director of the Secretariat.
Roles and Responsibilities:
- Running and supervision of day-to-day operations of Secretariat
- Lead Secretariat’s research and production of reports with relevant policy recommendations
- Point person for developing government contacts and relationships
- Support the SEACLG Executive Director in the expansion of membership base
- Maintain up-to-date knowledge on relevant global and regional climate change policies
- Line management of the Secretariat Programme Manager
- Budget responsibility
Desirable Skills – The ideal candidate should possess:
- A Masters or post-graduate degree in social sciences
- At least 8 years of relevant experience in business, a multilateral organization or with government
- A deep understanding of climate change policies in the region and global policy frameworks as well as with the economics of mitigation and adaptation
- Excellent analytical skills and experience in designing and overseeing policy or economic research projects
- Outstanding communication and facilitation skills at the most senior executive level
- Excellent command of English and one other native language used in the Southeast Asian region.
The Programme Manager supports the Policy Director in the daily operations of the SEACLG Secretariat.
Roles and Responsibilities:
- Assist the Executive Director and Policy Director in membership recruitment
- Support economics or policy research projects of the Secretariat
- Act as the key point person for liaison with SEACLG members
- Play the primary role in coordinating SEACLG events, e.g. workshops, meetings, conferences, interviews
- Be the main liaison for the Corporate Leaders Network on Climate Action (CLN)
Desirable Skills – The ideal candidate should possess:
- An undergraduate or Masters degree in social sciences
- At least 2 years of relevant work experience in business or with government agencies
- A solid understanding of climate change policies and economics
- Ability to multitask and an eye for detail, especially critical for handling multiple logistics over a short period.
- Good command of English and one other native language used in the Southeast Asian region.
- Good command of office software, such as the Microsoft Office Suite.
The World Future Foundation (WFF) has given cash awards to two doctoral students from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU). One of them is looking at removing antibiotics from waste water, and another, at the impacts of traffic-generated fine particles and nitrogen on environmental quality and human health. There were in total, 5 recipients of the $10,000 cash awards.
Channel NewsAsia reports.
NTU, NUS win cash awards for sustainability research
SINGAPORE: Antibiotics, which are among the world’s most widely prescribed medicines, can easily find their way into rivers and lakes because they tend not to be removed through the normal sewage process.
But they can now be possibly removed from wastewater using activated carbon granules specially covered with a biofilm of microbes that can break down the antibiotic chemicals into harmless products.
The new technology was discovered by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) doctoral student, Sally Shen.
It promises to be a highly efficient way to remove antibiotics from wastewater and, once optimised, could be installed in treatment plants around the world.
The development comes as global concerns persist over the possible negative effects of antibiotics on the aquatic ecosystem and human health.
Another PhD student, Dr Mano Kalaiarasan from the National University of Singapore (NUS), studied how traffic-generated fine particles and nitrogen dioxide can have a great impact on environmental quality and health of the population.
These fine particles can find their way into humans and exacerbate respiratory problems such as asthma, and even lead to mortality.
These new findings will enable town planners, policy makers and architects to bring about better planning of township and design of naturally-ventilated buildings, which in turn reduce potential health risks of the residents.
Dr Mano and Dr Shen are among 10 students from NTU and NUS this year who have each won US$10,000 for being among their university’s top five completed PhD theses related to the environment, sustainability and metropolis of the future.
The award, given by the World Future Foundation (WFF), is the highest cash award among student prizes given out at Singapore universities.
Image taken from vituh
The Nanyang Technological University is entering two eco cars for the Shell Eco-Marathon Asia next month. The Straits Times reports.
NTU’s ‘Batmobile’ gears up for eco-marathon
The Nanyang Technological University unveiled its newest eco-car yesterday – one of two NTU entries in the Shell Eco-Marathon Asia in Sepang, Kuala Lumpur, next month. The diesel-powered Nanyang Venture IV (right), resembling a Batmobile, weighs less than 50kg, due to its advanced carbon fibre reinforced polymer body shell, and has a high-tech telemetry suite complete with on-board camera and sensors. The car is expected to clock 1,000km using just one litre of diesel.
The other NTU entry, the Nanyang Venture III (left), is a solar-powered car that won in its category in Sepang last year. With better electric motor and parts added, it is expected to surpass its own record of 316km per litre.
Image taken from The Straits Times
This was originally posted in the Green Business Times. Green Drinks, like Green Business Times, looks forward to a green business idea winning the top prize!
The ideas. inc. Business Challenge 2011 first began in November 2010. It is a business competition jointly organised by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and SPRING Singapore to groom and support budding Singaporean entrepreneurs below the age of 26. With the help of industry experts, successful entrepreneurs and workshops, participants have to come up with actual business models. The competition entered the Semi-Final phase on 1 April 2011 with the best 15 teams singled out. There are some interesting Green business ideas amongst the top 15!
Short introductions to the Green business ideas of the top 15 teams are highlighted below. For a full description of the business ideas of all 15 teams, visit sgentrepreneurs.com. All descriptions below were quoted from the aforementioned website.
The bamboobee bike project seeks to revolutionize the social enterprise mindset and promote eco-friendliness with an innovative twist to the everyday bicycle – refining its production process to make it environmentally sustainable and using processed natural bamboo as the main component of the bike.
EcoEnviro is a company that creates green energy using piezoelectric technology. Our first product, PowerTile is where electricity can be harvested by having people walking over these tiles.
At Energeek, we specialize in electricity usage monitoring. We are currently embarking on a load signature analysis technology that enables instant identification of individual appliances from the main switch. This non-invasive advancement will allows electricity usage monitoring to be completely hassle-free.
theGreenTee want to start a movement of leading an eco-lifestyle, by providing an online platform for crowdsourcing through rewarding designs and participation while using recycled PET bottles as our materials.
The grand finals will be on 23 September 2011.
Image taken from ideas. inc. Business Challenge 2011
Channel NewsAsia just reported that NTU has opened its Solar Fuels Lab, which aims to use solar energy to extract hydrogen from water. More details below.
NTU opens Asia’s first solar fuels lab
SINGAPORE: Scientists at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) can now look forward to recreating an energy process that takes place in plants to produce hydrogen fuel from water and sunlight.
NTU’s new Solar Fuels Lab, which is the first of its kind in Asia, was officially opened on Tuesday morning by NTU President Designate Professor Bertil Andersson, who is a pioneer in the “artificial leaf” technology.
Inspired by nature’s ability to recreate an energy-producing process through photosynthesis, researchers at NTU will be working to find suitable combinations of chemical catalysts that can speed up the artificial photosynthesis process using minimal energy.
This will be used in a device which will be able to extract large amounts of hydrogen from water using sunlight.
Incoming NTU president Bertil Andersson said: “The leaf has chlorophyll that has a lot of protein molecules that may not be stable in an artificial system.
“So the [focus of the] research is [on finding] stable components in the technological system, in a technological machinery”.
The new solar fuels laboratory at NTU aim to extract hydrogen fuel using solar energy.
And instead of conventional solar cell, the lab is testing if cheap substances like rust and titanium dioxide can efficiently capture solar energy to split water into oxygen and hydrogen.
NTU visiting professor James Barber said: “We can do this reaction right now. It’s no problem. We can use platinum, or we can use very expensive semi-conductor materials.
“The challenge is to devise technology which is cheap, and is robust, and made of cheap materials”.
Professor Barber is one of the few world-class experts to work on the project, which comprises about a dozen researchers from NTU, including professor Michael Gratzal, Dr Heinz Frei and Dr John Turner .
NTU said it plans to deliver the prototype in three to five years.
Current technology requires huge amounts of energy to draw minute amounts of hydrogen from water which makes it commercially unviable.
When perfected, this “artificial leaf” technology can reduce dependence on crude oil and help to ease problems caused by global warming and climate change.
Image courtesy of MACSD under a Creative Commons licence