Development and integration of vortex bioreactors into toilet systems

PML contact: Dr Mike Allen

Funder: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Start date: November 2012
End date: April 2014


Whilst the vortex bioreactor was originally designed to work alongside our photobioreactor as a single step process for harvesting algae and extracting their lipids, it soon became apparent that the technology had other applications. With funding from an initiative created by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we have modified the vortex bioreactor so that wastewater could be processed  through the addition of low cost chemical agents to reduce the activity and viability of pathogenic organisms.

Due to its simple mechanical structure and low production costs, this technology will be of considerable benefit to communities in developing countries, where there is a scarcity of clean water and lack of sanitation can claim lives.

Phase II of the project will focus on field testing the vortex bioreactor with experienced Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation partners to assess its performance in real situations in the developing world.

See news article: First steps to revolutionising waste water treatment