It is estimated that around 2.6 billion people today do not have access to a sanitary toilet.The lack of proper human waste management has further led to an increase in deadly water-borne diseases such as cholera. In order to address this growing concern, a novel solar-poweredtoilet is being designed primarily for application in third world countries (a project called
“Reinvent the Toilet Challenge”)
. This independently functioning low-maintenance toilet will becapable of accepting any form of human waste (feces or urine), separating the input into solidand liquid streams and ultimately producing purified liquid devoid of disease causing pathogens.One of the options proposed for liquid treatment is centrifugation followed by ultraviolet(UV) disinfection. Centrifugation is a promising alternative because it can remove fine biosolidswhich can be otherwise detrimental to effective UV disinfection. Previous studies show littleevidence on a physical model for centrifugation with no information on centrifuging fecalsuspensions in particular, or specifically ensuring readiness for UV disinfection. Theseobservations drive the motivation behind this project with the main objective being to investigatethe theory of centrifugation and assess its feasibility in clarifying liquid waste in the toilet priorto UV disinfection.To begin with, a first principles mathematical model was developed based on the physicallaws governing particle settling in a rotating tube in order to express the biosolid recoverypercentage following centrifugation as a function of the product of centrifugal acceleration andtime. In order to validate the model, centrifugation experiments were performed using a bench-top centrifuge with both simulated and sterilized human feces. For the range of centrifugalacceleration and time investigated, experimental results show an excellent correlation with themodel (±7% on average).