Building the Worlds Most Self Sufficient Toilet

by Chuck Black

Ontario based J Roberts Manufacturing isn’t just providing the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) with parts and services, facilitating the repair, overhaul and upgrade of the Canadian Forces Mercedes-Benz G Wagon LUVW (light utility vehicle wheeled) or supporting the University of Toronto Blue Sky Solar racing team.

According to company president and chief development officer John Gagliardi, the firm is also assisting the Centre for Global Engineering  (CGEN) at the University of Toronto to build the worlds most self sufficient toilet.

The original project began in 2011 with a series of $400,000 CDN grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to various academic institutions for the creation of a practical, sustainable toilet for developing countries.

But the organizers weren’t looking for a typical porcelain toilet. They were hoping for something that could remove germs from human waste and recover valuable resources such as energy, clean water, and nutrients and also operate “off the grid,” at a low cost without needing connections to water, sewer, or electrical lines.

John Gagliardi

John Gagliardi.

And this is where Gagliardi and J Roberts come in, because in order to meet these criteria, the toilet would need to be cheap to manufacture, low maintenance and durable enough to survive in a multitude of harsh environments on top of the original requirements.

These are questions relating more to a production environment, which is a core specialty of J Roberts, than to the initial proof of concept requirement, which is an area where CGEN excels.

And that’s why Gagliardi and his firm joined the project.

We are deeply grateful to the university for selecting us to be a supplier and allowing all of us here at J Roberts to be part of a global initiative.” said Gagliardi, when the partnership was first announced last October.

We’ve been working with the University of Toronto’s Applied Science and Engineering department for many years, I’ve been lucky enough to have been parts of some incredible accomplishments – I have no doubt the Toronto Toilet will be world class.”

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