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The fly larvae project is already being field tested in Cape Town, South Africa, and the inventors are working on a kit to sell to entrepreneurs. They have had inquiries from Haiti, Sudan, Kenya and Ghana about adopting the approach.

“At the end of the day it will look very low-tech, but there’s a lot of science behind it,” said Walter Gibson, a medical biochemist who is part of the development team.

The Gates toilet focus started just about a year ago, and including grants announced Tuesday, $370 million in foundation dollars have been committed to reinventing the toilet. Hensman said the foundation decided to hold a toilet fair this week to show how far the scientists have gotten in that time, and to give them an opportunity to learn from each other and potentially collaborate.

Among those scheduled to attend the toilet fair were government ministers from African nations, utility workers and potential financial partners like UNICEF and Oxfam.

Reinventing the toilet has the potential to improve lives as well as the environment.

Flush toilets waste tons of potable drinking water each year, fail to recapture reusable resources like the potential energy in solid waste and are simply impractical in so many places.

Gates predicted the result of this project would reach beyond the developing world.

“If we do it right, there’s every possibility that some of these designs would also be solutions for rich and middle-income countries,” Gates said.

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Contact Donna Blankinship through Twitter at https://twitter.com/dgblankinship