Two years ago, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation launched a research competition called “Reinvent the Toilet,” challenging researchers to create a sewage disposal system that requires no electricity and could be used in developing countries. Marc Deshusses, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering, pitched an idea to the Foundation and won $100,000 to take it further.

Fast forward two years and Marc’s team, which also includes researchers at the University of Missouri, has just earned an additional $1.18 million to work on a new kind of revolutionary toilet. Their idea is a self-contained waste recycling system that fits into a 20-foot shipping container. It works like this: people empty their latrines into a sewage receptacle (currently, latrines are often emptied into rivers), the waste gets funneled through a series of tubes and is pressurized at extreme temperatures, and the byproduct is clean, possibly drinkable water. Deshusses describes the process as “a pressure cooker on steroids.”

Click here to go to project site on Duke University webpage.