Truly great inventions help provide solutions to significant problems, or help to meet critical needs. The best invention for 2008, in my opinion, was designed to provide a safe, efficient, and economical way to provide potable (clean) water to help dramatically reduce the United Nations’ reported daily death rates of nearly 5,000 children, worldwide – children who die from drinking polluted/contaminated water. In most cases, these children were drinking water contaminated by human waste containing bacterium, viruses, and parasites. Subject children were living among the 2.9 billion people who seldom have potable water, sanitation, electricity, healthful foods, and/or income of more than US$2 per day. Moreover, most of these children were living in social, economic, and political isolation in the nations where they were residing. In most cases, their own governments did not care if they lived or died because those governments retained power by means of force and corruption. In brief, these children really died because their parents had, and have, no real political power.
The innovation I believe is the best invention for 2008, is an odorless, aerobic community composting toilet with an attached solar distillation unit to produce large quantities of potable water from polluted source water. There were two inventors, Hill Trammell and David A. Nuttle, of Oklahoma, with U.S. Patent Application No. 61/127,243 filed on 05/12/2008. Composting is actually performed in four rotating tanks with one being for waste collection under aerobic conditions, two being converted to anaerobic mode to produce methane gas for use in producing green electricity, and the last section being for high-temperature aerobic composting to kill bacterium, viruses, and parasites so waste can be used as part of a compost fertilizer mix. Upon final composting, the last unit is emptied, and then becomes the new waste collection unit. This invention also has an added unit to utilize CO2 produced, by composting, to grow an algal crop to feed a desirable algae-eating fish, Tilapia (to increase available, healthful foods).
Subject invention will soon be manufactured in “kit” form for sale to United Nations relief agencies and NGOs (non-governmental agencies) seeking to assist the impoverished populations identified above. In some cases, governments of developing nations are expected to purchase and distribute these “kits” as a way to reduce their national health costs, and to help their poor citizens start making more of an economic contribution. The charity Trammell and Nuttle work with, NPI, is also starting an innovative barter trade program to help poor populations acquire said innovation without having cash. Community toilets were used, as the basis of said invention, because the cost will be far less than for individual or family-size toilets. Moreover, the larger toilets are needed to perform water distillation, green electricity production from methane gas, and use of CO2 (carbon dioxide) for a unique algalculture/aquaculture facility to produce Tilapia fish (a species consumed in over 80 nations). In addition to the above considerations, there are many urban slums and refugee camps where such community toilets are the only really good option.
In five decades of humanitarian work with impoverished peoples, in 42 developing nations, Nuttle discovered that populations who have never had sanitation systems do not understand why sanitation is needed. As a result, they may refuse to use any type of toilet(s) even if provided at no cost to them. Thus, the concept of Trammell’s and Nuttle’s community toilet includes the construction of a community center with lights and TV provided using the green electricity produced by said invention. Since the U.N. estimates that only 05 percent of the target populations have available electricity, these community centers would have a major appeal. To use the community center, each person desiring to enter must present a “punched” ticket showing that they have used their community toilet that day, or the day before. Under the concept of operation, for subject invention, each community would need to fund two caretakers for each community toilet, and two caretakers for community centers. These caretakers could undertake the proposed ticket function.
The proposed invention is believed to be a truly great invention because executives of fossil fuel companies are already hard at work trying to “block” all possible sources of funding for manufacturing this invention. On a global scale, the said 2.9 billion poor populations are generally not current users of fossil fuels, but they are considered as potential customers. If these potential customers develop ways to efficiently and economically meet their own energy needs, many fossil fuel executives (from coal and pertroleum companies) consider this a significant loss of potential future income. In the case of said community toilets, success is also measured by whom the “enemies” of the invention are proven to be.