Excrement, whether human or animal, is a beautiful thing. Not literally of course, but in its potential to create something useful out of waste. Instead of being flushed or composted, organic waste has the ability to become a source of energy. As cheap and efficient as poo power can be, however, it has a bit of an image problem. We’re so used to hiding from this renewable resource that the idea of using it as fuel confuses and embarrasses us.
Toto Ltd., a Japanese toilet company, is determined to change that negative image. After three years of design and prototyping, the company recently unveiled the “Toilet Bike Neo,” a highly efficient motorcycle that runs on, you guessed it, poop.
Yes, that’s a toilet where the normal riding saddle should be. I know what you’re thinking so I won’t leave you in suspense: no, the toilet bowl seat is not functional. As this review points out, the toilet-derived seat is just a rather blatant advertising device, but the Toilet Bike Neo is no farce. It really does run on excrement, but thankfully, not the rider’s. Rather the three-wheeled motorcycle’s 250cc engine is powered by fertilized, purified and compressed livestock waste and household wastewater from Shika-oi Town in Hokkaido and Kobe city. The organic material is transformed into biogas, which then powers the bike.
In 2011, the poo-powered Toilet Bike Neo completed an 870 mile journey across Japan (no word about what kind of mpg it got). While this prototype is certainly a show stopper, you’re not likely to see it cruising down the highway any time soon. Although the company says this vehicle could very well spawn a production model (probably without the toilet seat) they say this poo-powered motorcycle is merely a promotional piece.
“We hope to raise awareness among customers about our green campaign through development of environmentally-friendly products such as water-saving showerheads and water-saving toilets,” said Kevin Fujita, a TOTO spokesman.