Cut the crap? To the contrary, let’s have more of it to cut our power bills instead

Take a dump and be empowered.

Great news for Grey Power – and all electricity consumers, come to think of it – on the matter of surging power bills.

By applying the technology developed by Singaporean scientists, they could generate their own energy.

Not enough to heat the house, perhaps. But enough to cook the dinner.

Grey Power has been warning that householders already struggling with their power bills will be shocked by their next one, because a savage price increase coincides with increased winter heating demand.

They have issued a media statement on the matter.

Alf was tempted to toss the statement into the rubbish bin, but Mrs Grumble said we have a few elderly constituents who would like their hard-working member to do something about it on their behalf.

The statement points out that household prices rose dramatically in the May quarter.

The Quarterly Survey of Domestic Electricity Prices recorded a 5% price increase in the May quarter alone, compared to a 2% increase over the whole previous year.

The biggest increase came from Transpower’s charges.

And the Commerce Commission has just approved very high Transpower charges, saying the increase can be spread out over a three-year period. So this quarter’s price increase is only the first of a series.

These recent and future price rises are simply unsustainable to people on low incomes or fixed incomes.

Families who cannot properly budget for their household expenses may find the frustrations come out sideways – whether as drink, family violence, gambling. Often, older people just suffer silently, cold, deprived, robbed of their enjoyment of life.

Unless regulatory settings change, people will go out on the streets protesting. The worst thing about asset sales is that they will lock in the present unfair power pricing.

Alf has never been inclined to try to stop the asset sales.

But he can advise electricity consumers on how to cut the crap about partial privatisation and turn their poop into power.

On second thoughts, let’s not cut the crap.

In fact, let’s have more of it.

But first we must acquire the dunny that will turn our waste into electricity and fertiliser.

He learned about it here at ScienceDaily.

Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have invented a new toilet system that will turn human waste into electricity and fertilisers and also reduce the amount of water needed for flushing by up to 90 per cent compared to current toilet systems in Singapore.

It’s been called the No-Mix Vacuum Toilet and it has two chambers that separate the liquid and solid wastes.

We can be sure the greenies will love it.

Using vacuum suction technology, such as those used in aircraft lavatories, flushing liquids would now take only 0.2 litres of water while flushing solids require just one litre.

The existing conventional water closet uses about 4 to 6 litres of water per flush. If installed in a public restroom flushed 100 times a day, this next generation toilet system, will save about 160,000 litres in a year — enough to fill a small pool 10 x 8 metres x 2m.

The NTU scientists are aiming to carry out trials by installing the toilet prototypes in two NTU restrooms.

All going well, the dunnies will be ready for action in around three years.

Aiming to convert all waste to resource, the new toilet system looks likely to be useful for new housing estates, hotels, resorts, and especially communities not linked to the main sewerage system and so require their own sewerage facilities.

Associate Professor Wang Jing-Yuan, Director of the Residues and Resource Reclamation Centre (R3C) at NTU who is leading the research project, said that their ultimate aim is not only for the new toilet system to save water, but to have a complete recovery of resources so that none will be wasted in resource-scarce Singapore.

“Having the human waste separated at source and processed on-site would lower costs needed in recovering resources, as treating mixed waste is energy intensive and not cost-effective,” Prof Wang said.

“With our innovative toilet system, we can use simpler and cheaper methods of harvesting the useful chemicals and even produce fuel and energy from waste.”

The DailyScientist goes on to explain how the thing works.

It will divert the liquid waste to a processing facility where components used for fertilisers such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium can be recovered.

At the same time, the solid waste will be sent to a bioreactor where it will be digested to release bio-gas which contains methane.

Methane is odourless and can be used to replace natural gas used in stoves for cooking. Methane can also be converted to electricity if used to fuel power plants or fuel cells.

‘Grey water’ (used water from the laundry, shower and kitchen sink) can be released back into the drainage systems without further need for complex waste water treatment, while leftover food wastes can be sent either to the bioreactors or turned into compost and mixed with soil, resulting in a complete recovery of resources.

The next-generation toilet and resource recovery system will be showcased to the industry at the WasteMET Asia 2012, from the 1st to 4th July.

Alf will be drawing this to the attention of relevant ministers. He is sure they will share his view that there are big possibilities for applying the technology in this country.

Even better, of course, would be if we could develop something to convert Labour and Green Party crap into energy and fertiliser.

The stuff they pumped out yesterday alone would be enough – Alf imagines – to keep much of Wellington lit up and heated for the weekend.

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