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EVOLUTE - the near-waterless toilet

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February 25, 2010

3D rendering of the EVOLUTE

3D rendering of the EVOLUTE

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Toilets use a lot of water. And once they’re done with that water, well, it’s very... used. So, any time anyone can suggest a way of limiting water usage in toilets, Mother Nature wants to hear about it. Recently, Australian inventors Tom Trainor and Mark Hutton came up with a product that they claim uses up to 90% less water than a regular toilet. The EVOLUTE’s patented new technology offers a greener, drier alternative to our current “swimming pool for your doo-doo” model.

The heart of this new toilet is a rotating metal sphere, that seals off the opening to the sewer line at the bottom of the bowl. The top of this sphere has a hollow bored into it, creating a cup-shaped depression. Your waste runs into this cup, then when you flush the EVOLUTE, the metal sphere is rotated upside down, releasing the waste into the drainage pipe. One jet of water rinses out the cup before the sphere rotates back up, while another rinses the sides of the bowl. And yes, there is a small pool of water that sits in the cup when you’re using it.

Both the rotation and the water jets are powered by the hydraulic pressure of your water mains, so no electricity is required. Because sewer gases are blocked off by the sphere, and not by water, no S-bend or cistern is necessary - the EVOLUTE simply dumps (sorry) straight into the sewer line, eliminating the larger volume of water required for a conventional flush. According to its website, it uses less than one liter of water per flush, as opposed to the usual 6 to 12. It also take up 30% less floor space than a regular toilet.

The EVOLUTE is still in the development phase, and is not expected to be available to the public until 2012.

Via: The New Inventors.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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22 Comments

Yet more eco-kook snake oil combining feelgood self-deprivation with very bad science. Now that global warming bit the dust, we fall back on the familiar "Water Conservation" standby; the idea that when water is used, it goes flying off into outer space, lost forever. And that we have to "Save Water".

Water, no matter how poopy, happily cleanses itself due to something we learned in 4th grade called the Water Cycle. It involves strange new concepts like 'evaporation' and 'rain'. Please - Google it.

We've been told all our lives that we are running out of water which miraculously always seems to reappear. It's happening right now in California for the ten-thousandth time. Water conservation is a budgetary issue, not an environmental one. Local governments like to save some money on pumping or purchasing water. But some interpret this issue as yet another eco-crisis to use for their own ends - whether political, or commercial in this case.

Todd Dunning
25th February, 2010 @ 05:24 pm PST

The volume of water used by a standard toilet is to make sure that the stool is flushed an appropriate distance down the sewage pipe to prevent blockage, otherwise you could use significatly less than the 9-12L of water required to achieve this task.

I'd suggest giving caroma or a similar toilet manufacturer a call and asking them as I know they've been researching how little water you can get away with for a while.

Drew__1
25th February, 2010 @ 06:14 pm PST

@Todd Dunning

This is so contradictory it's not even funny. Usually this type of speak would infer that you're a hardline republican, which I can respect as a fiscally conservative individual myself. It's the end of your comment that really shows your ignorance here.

"Local governments like to save some money on pumping or purchasing water."

So you mean... Less taxes on the local people to provide said purchasing power to the government? I fail to see where there is a win-win on this.

Todd Shaffer
26th February, 2010 @ 07:05 am PST

@Todd Dunning

And yeah, in California, it really is happening for the ten thousandth time because it never rains in Southern California. It's a desert. Always has been. So they actually do run out. Take a geography class.

Todd Shaffer
26th February, 2010 @ 07:06 am PST

Current sewage systems require large volumes of water. They are dinosaurs.

froginapot
26th February, 2010 @ 08:14 am PST

Todd, that was very insightful, but I think you miss one of the major positive points to water limiting devices. You see in many places around the world we rely on that water cycle to provide water into our aquifers. Now the amount of water that our aquifer is collecting is always about the same, but the demand on that source is increasing almost to the point that there will not be enough water to serve everyone.

So here comes this water saving toilet, it allows us to cut back on demand by almost 60%... that is a huge savings on the amount of water taken from the aquifer each year, now we have room for more growth, people can water their yards again and you can take a longer shower. So it's not always as narrow minded as you would like to think.. Try thinking a little more progressively next time.

Facebook User
26th February, 2010 @ 08:26 am PST

well i'm worry wht if ppl have a great big dump all the big tissue etc.... it'll jam the machenism right enough... and u can't even flush it like normal loo does... the only way is to pick them and wait till the 1st lot goes down first.....

D123451
26th February, 2010 @ 09:11 am PST

Todd, your political bias is so bad it makes you look like a nut case.

Many places this kind of toilet makes a lot of sense, especially on homes that do their own septic like I do. It's not unlike, except for the bowl indentation, than RV toilets.

But Drew has an excellent point. Our public sewage systems need a certain amount of water to make things flow.

My solution is a mascerator? pump in the trap that grinds it up and pumps it using very little water and keeps things flowing with much less water. One can power the blending pump either by electric or foot. Hopefully not enough water will be needed that it can be used as power though for about .75gal/flush that could be done too.

A better way is one of the composting toilets which for a very, very little work, saves a lot of money.

But I'm not about it being eco, but it costs a lot of money/month/yr to hook up to a sewage system so I avoid it whenever possible. Using less water also saves me money but base rates are so high I'm thinking of going to catching water and a cistern.

jerryd
26th February, 2010 @ 09:42 am PST

I agree with Todd. How will the reduced quantity of water per flush affect the ability of the waste to flow freely through sewage pipes, all the way to the local water treatment plants? There may be risk of blockage (especially in areas where people don't eat enough fiber).

It would be interesting to hear the company's response to this...

Ike Rai
26th February, 2010 @ 09:51 am PST

Turn it around. Consider the enormous amount of good organic fertilizer wasted down the drain. Study traditional Chinese agriculture. Our soils are rapidly becoming sterile and unproductive.

curmudgin
26th February, 2010 @ 10:24 am PST

"froginapot" makes a valid point. Our current central sewer systems ARE dinosaurs. What is needed first is a change in attitude. We all just want to flush and go, not to be bothered with how it goes away. Lets start by designing in steeper slope requirements for waste piping making for less resistance to flow. Using "jerryd's" mascerator idea, we liquify the mass then flush with this (or other low-water systems. How about further mods to this system to separate out the offal, burn it like electric toilets do, then flush with the rinse water? As populations grow around the world, there is a real need for clean water, especially in 3rd-world countries. Maybe the rising cost to provide that clean water to most of us has not hit the pocketbook too bad yet but it will, sooner or later. Why not embrace water-saving technologies now before the problem gets too big? My only concern is that whatever we use is both sanitary and low-odor. I'm not a tree-hugger or "save mother earth" person but it does make scense to me that something different is needed. Think about it the next time your squatting?

Will, the tink
27th February, 2010 @ 02:46 am PST

Kurt - you say I need to "think a little more progressively next time". In my twenties I used to say the same thing to older people who disagreed with my own half-baked, unworkable solutions to problems that didn't exist.

But because I was young and clueless, I did not have the background information or experience to understand what was wrong with my progressive, forward-thinking ideas. Therefore I could only conclude that they were narrow-minded naysayers.

jerryd - I will not call you a nutcase just because you and I have different views.

You should definitely install your composting toilet and cistern water collection, and you are welcome to come over and use the bathroom at my house, which works.

Todd Dunning
27th February, 2010 @ 10:35 am PST

Todd I take you are American. You'll notice the invention is Australian. Your water problems may "come and go" over there but here in Australia they stay critical year in year out. Anything that may contribute to using less drinkable water for such things as flushing down faeces is welcomed!

greytoma
27th February, 2010 @ 10:00 pm PST

It's a good thing to improve efficiencies of everything, everywhere. The free market does that, because if it doesn't do a better job then people won't buy it.

Pandora, the scarcity of water in certain regions of Australia does not mean that your toilets are inefficient. It means that Australians now have the opportunity to focus efforts into getting more water to Australians, and I am sure you guys can figure that out easily. It will also create jobs and advance that industry and technology.

But this and other eco-inventions market themselves to those who believe that humanity can't think itself out of a paper bag. The notion that we can only go backwards in response to challenges. jerryd responds in far-Left fashion by foot-pumping his toilet into a compost heap with water from a cistern. That's a fun hobby, but humanity's advancements have happened by fixing problems rather than suffering under them.

Todd Dunning
28th February, 2010 @ 02:38 pm PST

I don't know why toilets use so much water in the first place. I'm an average person and I have managed to get my toilet down to 2 litres per flush!

Huw Sharpe
4th March, 2010 @ 12:56 pm PST

I know I'm a few days late, but whatever.

This is a silly invention, and I have to agree with Dunning that its only purpose is to trick the eco-conscious out of their money. Its an expensive and unnecessary alternative that slightly alleviates one problem (availability of fresh water) while exacerbating another (sewage).

If you want to reduce the amount of fresh water consumed, just convince people that the water in their toilet doesn't need to be clean. I have mine hooked up to my shower and bathroom sink drains; soapy and dirty water works just as well.

Michael Marshall
10th March, 2010 @ 07:36 pm PST

Nothing new here with this toilet, except being overly complex. Just have a look in the bathroom of any recreational vehicle that has one.

RV toilets use a valve, either a sliding gate, a pivoting flap or a rotating ball similar to this design. The excrement and urine drops directly into a holding tank while a small amount of fresh water washes the bowl. Most RV toilets keep a small amount of water over the valve.

The main problem with any minimal water use toilet is they don't use enough water to move the waste down conventional drain plumbing. It has to be flushed all the way to the main sewer line or septic tank or the pipes will get clogged.

Facebook User
22nd April, 2010 @ 03:15 pm PDT

BTW, before you install a cistern or any other method of catching rainwater, check your local laws to see if the government has laid claim to the rain and banned people from capturing rainwater for any purpose.

May want to note that such laws are most prevalent in places populated by "greenies" who want you to save water, but won't allow you to do it the simplest and most obvious way by catching rain to irrigate your lawn and garden. They want that rain to run into the rivers etc so they can sell you what fell from the sky for free.

Facebook User
22nd April, 2010 @ 03:23 pm PDT

Glad low flow is available but let's be honest, its gone far enough. You have to move the waste down stream from the house to the main sewer line and then to the pumping station and that takes water and a slope. If the Japanese aren't already using it, and they are light years ahead in toilet technology, we may want them to "have a go" before we get any funny ideas.....

Muraculous
29th April, 2010 @ 12:01 pm PDT

I think that in years to come, we should be able to move from a centralized sewage treatment facility to a distributive one. I think it would be done with miniturized vortex technology. It has been found that the "tornado in a can" is able to convert sewage into dry, sterile powder but presently the equipment is sold, needs a great deal of power and space. A method needs to be found to use this technology for individual toilets.

Adrian Akau
18th January, 2011 @ 03:58 pm PST

Todd is of course, correct.

There is no such thing as a water shortage, simply infrastructure shortages. It is simply a matter of getting the water to where you need it and storing enough of it.

Having said that, there are some advantages to being economical in its usage. You end up spending less on the infrastructure.

Marke
26th March, 2013 @ 02:58 am PDT

Sorry that invention was already made. Called an outhouse.

Ronald Chappell
13th March, 2014 @ 08:42 am PDT
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