To improve sanitation in the developing world, RTI International launched its innovative on-site waste treatment and toilet prototype that processes, disinfects, and recycles human waste.

The RTI prototype site was inaugurated at the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology University (CEPT University) on Sept. 19 in Ahmedabad, India.

As part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, RTI is partnering with CEPT University to provide a platform to test the prototype toilet with various user groups. The technology aims to bring sustainable sanitation to those who do not have access to safe, affordable sanitation and also to be an aspirational technology supporting sustainability.

“CEPT University is an excellent location for our next phase of user design and feedback studies, and a good platform for performance testing under controlled conditions,” said Myles Elledge, senior director for global development and strategy at RTI. “CEPT’s expertise in architecture, building science and urban environmental planning makes the campus a great host and research collaborator for our next round of prototype development in India.”

In 2012, RTI, in partnership with Duke University and Colorado State University, received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Reinvent the Toilet Challenge to develop an on-site waste treatment system and toilet that does not require sewer, water, or electricity infrastructure. The waste treatment system is designed to disinfect human liquid waste, dry and burn human solid waste and convert the resulting combustion energy into stored electricity, all at a cost of less than 5 cents (U.S.) per user per day. The project received additional funding in 2014 to further develop and transition the prototype system for field testing in India in 2014-2016.

Housed on the campus of CEPT University, the RTI alpha prototype version of this technology is ready for use under controlled conditions and will be made available to users in the Ahmedabad community. Additional Indian partners supporting RTI’s prototype testing include L&T Engineering, NEERMAN, SEWA, Perryware / ROCA India, and the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).

A new human waste system could significantly impact the livelihood of the more than 2.5 billion people worldwide who do not have access to safe and effective sanitation. In India, millions of people in India resort to open defecation every day (597 million), and diarrheal disease is estimated to kill one child nearly every minute.

Learn more about the project at