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Collaborative Success Stories: Waste Away


Water in third world countries is often contaminated by human waste. Each year, tainted water kills two million people—most of them young children.

Dr. William “Bill” Jacoby, a scientist at the University of Missouri, wants to fix that.  With funds from The Mizzou Advantage initiative and MU’s bioengineering program, Jacoby and his students at MU’s Carbon Recycling Center investigated a process which “burns up” carbon based substances.  After publishing his research results, Jacoby was contacted by scientists at Duke University.  Together they are designing a system which uses the carbon-burning process to dispose of human waste.

Dr. Bill Jacoby, Professor of Bioengineering

The effort is funded by the Gates Foundation’s water, sanitation and hygiene strategy, which targets Third World countries with water and sanitation issues.  The system will be employed in communities with limited water supply and no sanitation infrastructure.  Byproducts of the process include clean water and heat, which could be used to generate electricity in the local community.

Dr. Bill Jacoby holds joint appointments in biological and chemical engineering and is director of MU’s Carbon Recycling Center.

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Related Initiative(s):
Sustainable Energy