Nothing special about that - thanks to huge and hugely expensive sewage systems, citizens of the Developed World do it every day.
Bill’s drink was different, though. It was dispensed by an Omni Processor - a machine that can convert rotting poo from a latrine pit into clean water, electricity and ash.
The technology is being developed with money from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It’s part of their ambitious two-part plan to sidestep conventional sewage systems and bring sanitation to societies that lack the wealth to build big infrastructure.
The Foundation’s Omni Digester program aims to find better ways of handling and collecting waste from latrine pits. Their Omni Processor program develops technologies to sanitize and monetize the collected faecal sludge.
In this 14-minute TED Talk, Peter Janicki tells how his own brush with sewage pathogens contributed to the development of the Omni Processor.
Shortly after Bill Gates sampled its output, Janicki dismantled his machine and shipped it to Dakar.
It looks like it has been a success there. According to Alioune Badara Diop, Director General of Dakar’s Program On Structuring Faecal Sludge:
“We will soon test a latest-generation, smaller device, which will generate, from our sludge and even solid waste, about 1,000 megawatt hours of electricity per year for a daily operation of 22 h, hot water, and ash, which can be used as fertilizer for farming or in manufacturing bricks for building construction,”