Solution Overview

Solution Name

A dual water toilet flushing system to recycle shower water.

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One-line solution summary.

A dual water toilet flushing system, called Arya, and a method to recycle the shower water to toilet is my solution. This was installed and tested in my home.

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Elevator pitch

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What is your solution?

My invention is a solution to conserve the clean water used for toilet flushing by substituting it with the used water (called grey water) from the shower.  I have developed a dual water toilet flushing system that can use both fresh water and grey water so that there will not be any interruptions if the grey water is unavailable.  In order to make it universally usable, I designed it without any need for electricity for switching between fresh and grey water as long as the grey water is available at a pressure similar to the city water supply.  To demonstrate its efficacy, I modified the shower basin in a single family home to automatically collect water,  purity it, and to store it in a tank.  I used a simple micron filter and used this system with a regular blow down of the tank every 48 hours. I have designed a simple technique to use an inch difference between the shower basin and the bathroom floor with a sump pump to transfer the water to a tank. An automatic pressurizing pump  transfers the grey water from tank to toilet.

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What specific problem are you trying to solve?

A simple way to conserve nearly 25% of domestic clean water usage across the world is to redirect the used shower water (grey water) for toilet flushing.  I am creating a product to enable every home in the world to save water by using grey water instead of fresh water. Libya, Western Sahara, Yemen, Djibouti, and Jordan are top five countries with sever water shortages. The global water crisis is a human problem rather than a series of isolated geographical inconveniences as water is the most important economic source in view of how green hydrogen from electrolysis is picking at a fast pace.  The idea of shower water to toilet may be simple, but no one is doing it because an economical and robust commercial technology does not exist.  Grey water is essentially dirty water that one has to clean and reuse it.  It is a substitution for fresh water for a good cause and the solution can never compromise normal life.  As inventors, we cannot ignore this important aspect and I envisioned a toilet flushing system that simply has to switch back to fresh water without any valve opening or closing manually.  I am targeting the entire world community including developed countries because the water scarcity need to be considered as an anticipated problem of the world.  The water recycling problem is being overlooked due to lack of a good solution. 

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Who does your solution serve? In what ways will the solution impact their lives?

My solution serves the world community to address water scarcity where needed.  When a robust solution like mine is implemented, people don't have to take shower in a bucket like they do in many localities.  The solution that  I have implemented is well tested, but not productized yet. The objective of my solution is to make sure that the use of shower water in a toilet is done to save a lot of fresh water and at the same time it is done in a hygienic way so that it becomes a standard practice and part of regular plumbing in every home.  Middle class community is major part of the world population and my solution targets that community faced with water shortage that they fight to manage every day.  In typical apartment homes with average 10-20 families,   shower water collection and reuse in toilet trials have failed because of complaints arising from   supply interruptions.  Instead of all or nothing type of grey water reuse methods,  use when available approach gives them a workable solution that can improve with time.  The rationed fresh water availability is very common in developed countries and the water saving potential guaranteed by my solution can significantly relieve them from the water related stress.  Developed countries can act ahead of serious future water scarcity issues by designing homes with my solution without worrying about if one will use it or not.   

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What steps have you taken to understand the needs of the population you want to serve?

I wrote to several organizations in India to understand the requirement and problems they face in grey water recycling.  I chose India because it represents well in water related issues that affects the community.  I interviewed apartment owners and read several review articles.  Some of the case studies from Malaysia on grey water recycling helped me understand the troubles they face in spite of several efforts by the city and municipality.    I worked with 3M and Discovery education and the original work of mine started with participating in an Young Scientist Challenge sponsored by these two organizations.  I am a member of Water Environment Federation and I represented Texas in the national competition of Stockholm Water Junior Water Price.  Currently, I am in the process of engaging California Water recycle research organization for helping me with the productizing my solution.  I talked to Sugarland Mayor and city officials to understand Texas state requirements before I installed the solution in my home.  

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Which aspects of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Other: Addressing an unmet social, environmental, or economic need not covered in the four dimensions above

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What is the unmet need that your solution tried to address? Why is it important?

Grey water recycling from shower to toilet to save fresh water is the unmet need due to lack of a simple solution to do so.  In my view, use of fresh water for toilet flushing is serious mistake.  Use of least polluted shower water for toilet flushing after a simple purification step is a straightforward solution.  It is more important than ever to save fresh water because water is going to be the main feedstock for hydrogen via electrolysis using renewable energy.  We cannot waste water at all.  The cost of water will increase and it will definitely start impacting the economy in many ways.  Most commercial grey water purification solutions today go to an extreme side to purify the grey water to a greater level by expending a lot of energy and it is unnecessary.  Shower water is not pure and it is well understood.  But, to use it in a toilet simple micron filter is enough with regular blowdown of the tank.  However, my dual water toiler flushing system is the main equipment required that does not call for 100% purification of the grey water.  Fresh water and grey water are two independent water circuits and this is the key element of the overall solution with the dual water toilet flushing system.  It is important because switching between fresh and grey water for essential use equipment such as toilet flushing is not the right approach.  

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Our solution's stage of development:

Pilot: An organization deploying a tested product, service, or business model in at least one community
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Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution—in other words, what have you accomplished to date?

I have developed a dual water toilet flushing system and presented  the solution to a group of scientists at 3M and Discovery Education and received 2nd Price in the national level, which proved my idea to be well accepted by the scientific community.  I, then installed it in my home with the shower water recycling methodology and presented in the Stockholm Junior Water Price national competition and received innovator award, which proved my recycling methodology to be a true solution to the problem.  The arrangement I have is being visited my several people in my community for their verification and enquiry.  I am currently a high school senior and Covid has impacted my plans to productize it, but I have been contacting the state of Massachusetts and the state of California for Sponsoring my roll out including commercial productizing.  What I have is a Pilot plant in my home, which is in service since I commissioned it and I never had a single issue.  

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Where our solution team is headquartered or located:

Sugar Land, TX, USA
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Team Lead:

Mehaa Raja Amirthalingam

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More About Your Solution

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmS98HK2u2c

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Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new technology
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Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

A traditional toilet flushing tank has a fresh water fill valve that opens and closes based on the tank water level.  A dual water toilet flushing system technology works with a fresh water fill valve and a grey water fill valve, however they do not fill the tank independently in which case the savings can be at most 50%.  The new dual water flushing system saves 100% of fresh water when the grey water is available.  The system also falls back to using the fresh water alone without any interruption when the grey water is not available.  A new freshwater fill valve assembly with a surrounding  small grey water tank as an interlock to keep the fresh water valve closed as long as the grey water is available is the innovation here.  When the toilet is flushed and the toilet tank is emptied,  as long as the grey water supply is not interrupted, the fresh water valve never opens because the system is designed accordingly.  When the grey water supply stops,  the interlock gets released mechanically and the entire system starts to work with fresh water alone.  This has the greatest advantage of users never have to worry about the grey water supply.  The pilot study adds knowledge on how to collect the used shower water and how to clean it for a simplest and most economical implementation. 

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Ancestral Technology & Practices
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In which countries do you currently operate?

  • United States
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How many people does your solution currently serve, and how many do you plan to serve in the next year? If you haven’t yet launched your solution, tell us how many people you plan to serve in the next year.

A minimum hundred family  I am targeting internationally.  I do need funding and I am writing to California and Massachusetts water conservation units for sponsorship.  Since I have connections with India,  my first target country would be India.  Once I receive some funding either from private or public organization for building a mould  for my system,  I should be able to make my system by extrusion process.  This is the only requirement for medium scale installation of my system.  Except for the dual water toilet flushing system,  everything else I need for rolling out are commonly available plumbing materials. 

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What are your impact goals for the next year, and how will you achieve them?

I intend to install it in apartments in Chennai, India.   In India, I intend to save the 25% water wasted fresh water in toilets and this should significantly impact their ability to consume fresh water more efficiently than every before.  On a large scale,  if this product is properly rolled out,  the impact can be huge.  I would like the entire world to change the way they treat the used shower water and toilet flushing.  Water bill savings of 25% will not change their life from economical point of view, but they can use that savings for improved hygiene in their home in several ways.   Water conservation is the world-wide economy related issue and my solution should solve this problem that will indirectly impact everyone's life.  

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How are you measuring your progress or planning to measure your progress toward your impact goals?

The international Union for conservation of nature calls for sustainable use of water in several of their statements and the best one that suits my innovation is “Improve by (x%) the sustainable use and development of water resources in all countries.”  This x% target is 25% in my case it needs to happen gradually starting from a locality.  Based on my target of at least of 100 homes in 2022,  I intend to measure my progress by the Quarters in the year.  I am hoping to achieve 25 homes every quarter, but I definitely need funding.  

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What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year?

I have been working on my innovation since I entered into High School and for large scale productization, I need sponsors.  I would say my biggest hurdle would be the initial funding I need to get the ball rolling.  Everyone understand the need and I can easily convince them to use my solution.  I need to be able to make just one part of the product with extrusion molding and I believe I can do that easily when I go to college such as Stanford where I would like to pursue Product Design.  I strongly believe that I can convince any college I attend to sponsor my business of productizing my idea.  I will also have much better network to make this happen.  I am good at internet marketing and I have built such marketing pages for several corporations already and that is not a big challenge for me.  So, in summary, I need financial sponsorship for manufacturing my product. 

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About Your Team

How many people work on your solution team?

1

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How long have you been working on your solution?

I have been working with my mentor Dr. Jen Hanson of 3M for the last four years.

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How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

The dual water toilet flushing system based grey water recycling  is a product that I developed and I have a  full understanding of installation issues.  The moment I get some financial help,  I can deliver this solution very easily.  I have several friends who can help me when I take this product to the next level.  The chemical engineers that I get to know in India strongly believe in my product and I just need to have the commercial form of my innovation for large scale implementation.  

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What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?

None.

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Your Business Model & Resources

Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The HP Girls Save the World Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

Yes
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If you selected Yes, explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The HP Girls Save the World Prize to advance your solution?

Thanks for this very good question.  The solution that I have is very robust.  But, I need to spend some cash to build commercial version of just one part as it would make assembling the dual water toilet flushing system with the  standard toilet parts very easy.  I will use the Prize to make the mould for the part that I need and make at least 1000 pieces to get my business to the next stage.  I intend to make this part in India and import it because I believe it will be more economical this way and I have already found a few small businesses that can make this part for me.  Obviously, I need some capital for marketing and paying for establishing the business entity.  I hope I could do this in parallel when I am in college.  This is my plan at this point. 

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The Pozen Social Innovation Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

Yes
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If you selected Yes, explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The Pozen Social Innovation Prize to advance your solution?

Unmet environmental need is one of the category for the Pozen Social Innovation Prize.  My answer to this same as the previous one.  I could use the prize to create commercial version of one of the parts required to assemble Arya, a dual water toilet flushing system. 

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Solution Team

 
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