Village Utility XPRIZE
Nearly one billion people lack access to safe drinking water and 2.6 billion lack access to basic sanitation. As a result, half of the world’s hospitalizations are due to drinking water contaminated with infectious agents, toxic chemicals, and radiological hazards. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), just one of those infectious agents - the bacteria that causes diarrhea - accounts for 4.1 percent of the global disease burden, killing 1.8 million children a year. There is a radical high tech solution to solve all this. There is more than one mega-joule per day of energy in human feces, which is enough energy to purify drinking water out of urine and organic waste, convert the remaining waste to ash, and even power a few lights and recharge your cell phone. The upside of this “Village Utility” is almost incalculable. For starters, removing human feces from the equation solves an enormous portion of the global disease burden (which also slows population growth). Doing so in a way that is distributed and net-positive for water and power makes this technology radically disruptive.