The average person flushes more than 7,000 liters of water down the toilet every year. With more than half of the world’s population using flushable toilets, this amounts to trillions of liters of water per year practically wasted. British industrial design student Tom Broadbent is hoping to change this with HyDro Power – an innovative system that transforms wastewater into electricity.
The device works by using the discarded water from household appliances like toilets, sinks and showers, which hits four turbine blades as it falls down the pipes, powering a generator.
Designed for the pipes of high-rise buildings rather than individual homes, HyDro Power could offer substantial energy and cost savings, as high as $1,415 per year for an average seven-story building. The energy harnessed by the device can either be utilized inside the building for powering systems like air-conditioning, heating and elevators or sold back to the national grid.
The inspiration for HighDro Power was literally a ‘Eureka!’ moment that came when I emptied a bath in a hotel and found that it cleared very quickly and with a large amount of force. It seemed logical that this energy should be harnessed in some way to create green electricity and help governments meet targets and it filled an obvious gap in the market.” ~ Tom Broadbent
Broadbent, a graduate student of Leicester’s De Montfort University, is hoping his invention would earn him the prestigious Dyson Award, which is to announce this year’s winners on August 3.
Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine and Huffington Post, and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.