Bill Gates sips for Ominiprocessor – A machine that turns human waste into drinking water

An image of Bill Gates drinking a glass of water was released a few days back that was quick to go viral. It wasn’t the outcome of an ingenious man performing an ordinary act but quite the contrary; the water he drank was human waste five minutes earlier. This was a rather neat trick to spread awareness about the Ominiprocessor.

Bill Gates

Omniprocessor is a machine developed by an engineering firm called Janicki Bioenergy. The machine is 66 feet in length and 38 feet in terms of its breadth. More importantly, it is capable of converting 100,000 litres of sludge from sewers into 86,000 litres of drinking water. What’s more, it can even produce as much as 250kW of electricity on a daily basis.


Question you must be asking is, how? How, indeed. Well, it is not such a complex matter. Conveyor belts transport all the available sewer sludge into the Omniprocessor. This is where it all boils. During this phase, the solid sludge and water vapour are separated from one another. That’s not the end of it, ofcourse. That water vapour undergoes further cleaning processes before drinking water can be produced.

Sludge filled Omniprocessor

The sludge that remains is fed to a furnace. It generates steam as it burns which can be used to power generators. This power is mainly used for the Omniprocessor itself. Any leftover electricity is supplied to the community that surrounds the firm. For a machine costing $1.5 million, it should not be difficult to recover costs and still be efficient this way.

Bill Gates at Omniprocessor

The senior program officer of project Omniprocessor reports that it will expand further with a new base in Senagal, thanks to a public-private partnership. Plans are also in place to build machinery that is bigger in order to benefit more sizeable communities. Let’s leave you with the praise Gates has for this initiative:

“Having studied the engineering behind it, I’d happily drink it everyday.”

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