Watch Bill Gates Drink Purified Poop Water

He’s proving a point about a promising system that turns sludge into clean water and electricity for the developing world.


Bill Gates is known for his poop obsession. When he isn’t funding self-powered, self-cleaning toilets, he can be found examining synthetic feces that are used to test the viability of future toilets.


Now the founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is taking his interest in poop to another level. In the video below, you can find Gates drinking water made from purified feces.

The drinking water shown in the video was purified by the Omniprocessor, a system developed by Janicki Bioenergy that converts sludge into drinking water, electricity, and ash. The system boils sludge, separating the solids from the water vapor. The solids are fed into a hot fire, where they’re converted into steam, which is in turn sent to a steam engine that powers the generator and creates excess electricity for the community. Meanwhile, the water vapor goes through a purification system to create clean drinking water.

Next up for the Gates-funded Omniprocessor: a pilot project in Dakar, Senegal.

From Gates’s blog:

The history of philanthropy is littered with well-intentioned inventions that never deliver on their promise. Hopefully, these early steps will help us make sure the Omniprocessor doesn’t join the list. If things go well in Senegal, we’ll start looking for partners in the developing world. For example I think it could be a great fit in India, where there are lots of entrepreneurs who could own and operate the processors, as well as companies with the skill to manufacture many of the parts.

With funding from Gates, the Omniprocessor will at least have a fighting chance in the developing world.

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more