This idea has been brought to life
I am a retired Mechanical Engineer with a big interest in electronics controlling mechanical things. I create my machines using wood, aluminium, plastic, DC motors, batteries, servos, sensors & Arduinos. They are designed to be not too big so I can take them into schools as a STEM Ambassador to engage & enthuse children. My Lego Sorting Machine, Wheelie Bin Waste Robot, Local Delivery Robot, and Dinosaurs Automata have all proved popular with years 4, 5 and 6. I believe passionately in increasing STEM awareness in primary schools.
Retired engineer and inventor has worked on creating a working model of Joey's invention, The Toilet Turbine.
The invention works by creating power when flushing the toilet in your home.
Maker blog entries
I added to the turbo wheel and put Joey's original drawing on the tank.
The generator/gearbox have been improved to increase volts. It can be demonstrated without water by just spinning the wheel clockwise. Water demos are messy even with the large plastic box to catch the water. You will also be constantly filling up the tank and emptying the catch box!
I have enjoyed making the Toilet Turbine and it is not far from being finished. Here is a video of the prototype in use at this stage. Version 2 is the final version.
My Version 2 solution has a turbo wheel mounted on ball bearings (to make it free turning) with 8 empty baked bean tins to catch the waste. Although all testing has been done using clean water, the system is designed to be capable of dealing with all types of waste.
The turbo wheel turns quite slowly so I needed to speed up the generator shaft using some gears. A voltmeter connected to the generator shows the voltage being generated as it turns. There was much testing to get everything working. It has probably taken 40 hours of perseverance.
The wonderful idea from Joey to make electricity from sewage raises a number of challenges. The most important is dealing with what is flushed down a toilet. Not only human waste but also lots of other things, so the turbine has to be able to deal with everything! Clearly filters will not work as they will need constant cleaning.
My first idea was to put the waste into two buckets attached to a string. These would alternately move up and down with the generator attached to the pulleys. The water is supplied by a plastic box supported on a wooden structure and controlled by a standard toilet flush. My Version 1 bucket system worked but then I had a better idea!