Nano membrane toilet

2012 - 2018 • Cranfield University


To produce and field test a fully integrated working prototype of the Cranfield Nano Membrane Toilet, a sanitation system designed for household use in slum dwellings


Phase 3: To produce and field test a fully integrated working prototype of the Cranfield Nano Membrane Toilet, a sanitation system designed for household use in slum dwellings in developing countries

Cranfield University is developing the Nano Membrane Toilet which will be able to treat human waste on-site without external energy or water. The Cranfield toilet is designed for single-household use (equivalent to 10 people) and will accept urine and faeces as a mixture. The Cranfield nanomembrane toilet is still under development; this is the vision of how it will work: The Cranfield toilet flush uses a unique rotating mechanism to transport the mixture into the Cranfield toilet without using any water whilst simultaneously blocking odour and the user’s view of the waste.
Solids separation (faeces) is principally accomplished through sedimentation. Loosely bound water (mostly from urine) is separated using low glass transition temperature hollow-fibre membranes. The unique nanostructured membrane wall facilitates water transport in the vapour state rather than as a liquid state which yields high rejection of pathogens and some odorous volatile compounds. The water will be collected for reuse at the household level in washing or irrigation applications.

Following release of unbound water, the residual solids are transported by mechanical screw into a gasifier which will convert them into ash and energy. The energy will power the membrane processes, and there may be extra energy for charging mobile phones or other low voltage items.

Developing the business model will be a key focus in the coming months of the project. One possibility is that the Nano Membrane Toilet will be rented by the households and maintenance will be undertaken with a trained operative responsible for the franchised area.


Image: System configuration


Detailed location of main activity  Countries of activity


To deliver a means of dealing effectively and cost-efficiently with human waste in the home for the two billion people on earth who currently lack access to safe and affordable sanitation

Further information

This is an RTTC (Reinvent the Toilet Challenge) grant.

Cranfield Nano Membrane Toilet Video

From 20 Oct 2016

Contact information

Alison Parker
Login to see the e-mail-adress of the contact person.

Filter tags

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Europe, Caucasus & Central Asia Fundamental research and engineering Global Greywater or wastewater Product design and engineering Sub-Saharan Africa Toilets or urinals (user interface) Treatment of wastewater or greywater University, education or research institution Urban informal settlements (slums)


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