Auto Toilet Could Save Water by the Millions


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low-flow-toilets-photo-by-our-united-villages-flickr

By Debra Atlas
July 30, 2012

In 2009, then-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a statewide drought. That same year, a young company called New Age Hygienic Systems was selected as one of The New California 100 Businesses for its remarkable, water-saving Auto Toilet.

Inventor Dan Andreiu, New Age Hygienic Systems’ founder and CEO, created the Auto Toilet. He says that this invention is the first update to the fundamental design and operation of the toilet in 200 years.

What makes it unique is that it requires only one liter of water, making it six times more efficient than the low-flow toilets on the market today. Standard toilets use around four to five gallons of water per flush. Low flow toilets use 1.5 gallons per flush. However you look at it, that is a lot of clean water down the drain!

Andreiu, who entered the recent Sierra Nevada Innovation Challenge, says that the United States could save $12 billion in water use annually by using Auto Toliet. The idea for this water-saving invention came to Andreiu in 2006. He had always been annoyed by the fact that there was backsplash after flushing, and his inspiration came from the idea of washing cars with a pressure hose.

“Why not use the same system with a toilet, with less water, and get rid of the splashing!” he says.

Andreiu went on to create his first prototype using two carwash pumps. After experimenting with the technology, he then created a second prototype made of ceramic material. He took a standard toilet, cut and modified it, then put pumps on it. He discovered that it worked even better than his first effort.

The current version of the Auto Toilet incorporates two pressurized water jets with a high-power, kinetic electric pump. These spray water so that it encircles the toilet bowl, flushing and cleaning at the same time with more velocity and less water than a standard toilet bowl. And it does not create any residual splash. The Auto Toliet uses around 1-2 pennies of electricity per month, according to Andreiu.

California already subsidizes low flow toilets, and Andreiu says that Auto Toliet could save the state about $10 million a day in clean water. Given the thorny political issues around California’s water supply, it is hard to argue against any water saver of this magnitude.

Andreiu says the state would give him a $2 million grant if he can come up with a $0.5 million matching fund. The grant would be through the California Energy Department, and would be distributed over 18 months. The problem is finding the matching fund.

Several times Andreiu has been on the verge of achieving the necessary funding to get the Auto Toilet into production, only to see it disappear. This opportunity isn’t glamorous, which makes it difficult to hook investors. So Andreiu is still looking for private investors to help him take his prototype into production.

What is particularly frustrating to him is that The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is spending $42 million for its Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, a project that will help bring safe, clean sanitation to millions of poor people in the developing world…but it is only earmarked for inventions destined for use in developing countries only, of which does not include developed countries like the United States.

Andreiu has been receiving letters and emails from people and organizations around the world who are interested in installing this new, water-saving toilet. But without funding, he is unable to get it to them. Other than his own prototype, there is not a commercial Auto Toilet available yet.

Between the global word-of-mouth and the over 40,000 hits on his YouTube video, Andreiu believes that “the public recognizes this is an efficient, brilliant idea.”

This is definitely a product that can have an important and positive impact, particularly in drought-ravaged states. It has somehow got to find its funding niche so that it can find its way into our homes, offices, and facilities, and keep the promise that it was designed for.

For related articles, see:
Water-Saving Toilets
Rain Gutter Protection With Water Reclamation
Tankless Water Heater, Without the Burn

Check out more articles by Debra Atlas.

© 2012 SCGH, LLC.

One Response

  1. John Koeller August 15, 2012

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