Kohler Co. and California Institute of Technology’s Solar-Powered Toilet Heads to India Toilet Fair

The off-the-grid toilet aims to provide safe sanitation to rural India.

March 26, 2014

This stage of the project takes the team and its two toilet units from Pasadena, Calif. to Delhi, India for the Reinvent the Toilet Fair – a showcase of the projects funded through the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge.

In conjunction with World Water Day, Kohler Co. and Caltech embrace the next milestone of a more than two-year collaborative journey in the development of a photovoltaic toilet as part of the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

This next stage of the project takes the team and its two toilet units from Pasadena, Calif. to Delhi, India for the Reinvent the Toilet Fair – a showcase of the projects funded through the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge. The system includes a self-contained water purification and disinfection system that allows water to be reused and does not require wastewater disposal.

In preparation for its official debut, Kohler and Caltech put the final touches on the unit – including the installation of plumbing products and exterior design. Every detail of this container from the specific plumbing products used inside to the décor of the exterior was carefully chosen to best assimilate the Indian culture, as it will be installed and tested in India after the Fair.

"Global sanitation is an issue that needs to be addressed, and we are proud to be a part of what the Gates Foundation is doing to increase awareness and inspire solutions," says Rob Zimmerman, sustainability manager for Kohler Co. "Regardless of the technology developed, cultural acceptance of the solution is the key to its success. We put a lot of time and thought into how to best achieve that."

Zimmerman's reference to the solution to cultural acceptance concerns stems from the company's extensive collaboration with its Indian marketing experts and designers. Kohler's global experience brought an insight into Indian culture to the project with Caltech. Kohler's Indian team assisted in choosing region-specific plumbing products as well as guidance on the overall décor to ensure that the Indian communities who will participate in field testing of the units will be more accepting of the new technology. PR

 

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