I recently had the chance to sit down with Brent from Hyphae Design Lab in person. Although they don’t say so on their website, they have extensive toilet experience and know exactly what they’re up to. I look forward to hearing more about the project.
This could really set composting toilets back in the US. Coverage in the NYT here. Hyphae Design Lab, a design firm in Oakland is claiming three totally erroneous things, and it looks like the city of SF might buy their load of… 1) The revenue from nutrients recovered from excrement can pay for toilet servicing. A year of your urine is worth about $4.13 based on its nutrient value. If its impossible to service a toilet in the Philippines for the value of urine, its not going to work at US wages. Also, the 19th century sewage systems of Paris, the collection systems of Manchester, UK, all failed to turn a profit. Didn’t work then, doesn’t work now. 2) Urine diverting toilets work in public facilities. To be blunt, people crap in the pee hole. I don’t have a good single citation for this, just conversations with Seecon and others who have tried UDDTs in public areas. To quote:
When new user-interfaces or management approaches have been introduced, such as Urine Diversion Dehydration Toilets (UDDT) or a new system for composting of kitchen waste, which heavily rely on the correct operation from the user’s side, the end-users have to be properly trained to ensure that they will operate the systems correctly.
3) UV sterilizing lights, can be used both as “lanterns” to attract users and to kill germs. This isn’t possible, because looking at UV-C rays causes blindness.
So a note to Hyphae– please spend more time on research, less time making press-friendly vector graphics.