AC Biode: a waterless and odorless treatment transforms human waste into fertilizer



Last month I attended the virtual Disturb conference, where green technology was one of the hottest topics. The Japan Innovation Pavilion hosted the last session, organized by JETRO San Francisco, the Japanese Foreign Trade Organization.

AC Biode, an award-winning supplier of patented organic toilets, was one of three startups to pitch on the Japan Innovation virtual stage, in the environment group, alongside PJP Eye LTD (organic carbon battery without rare metal), and Everblue Technologies (autonomous navigation solution).

Photos courtesy of AC Biode – AC Biode presentation content

AC Biode introduced its patented waterless composting toilet AC Biolet, which uses regular wood chips and a circular motion to turn human waste into bio-fertilizer. According to Tadashi Kubo, co-founder and CEO of AC Biode, the process is chemical-free, odorless and eliminates the need for a sewage system. AC Biolet does not require any bacteria or a specific type of sawdust to function, unlike competing solutions such as Sun Mar.

Images courtesy of AC Biode – AC Biode presentation content

In recent years, the demand for waterless composting toilets has increased dramatically. The “movement without flushing“is one of the latest hot trends which is responsible for the”unexpected rise of composting toilets”, According to an article written by Emine Samer in 2019. Since the start of the pandemic, the trend has intensified due to the surge in demand for motorhomes and the surge in sales of mini-homes.

Sun-Mar is ranked among the best consumer composting individual toilets for 2021 by Treehugger. AC Biode appears to offer the best price compared to these competitors. Starting at $ 250 each, the Japanese bio-toilet is cheaper than the more affordable product on this list: the Lovable Loo at $ 425 (price as of 10/31/2021). The Sun-Mar unit costs $ 1,799 on the Lehman website, while the Nature’s Head and Separett Villa products are priced around $ 1,000.

In addition to the consumer product, AC Biode provides larger centralized units that work with multiple bio-toilets in remote areas. Likewise, Sun-Mar offers a large capacity central composting system with a patented design that also requires manual rotation. The Bio-drum (see graphic) needs ten full revolutions every two or three days while in use, according to the Sun-Mar rep who responded to my email.

The cheapest AC Biolet ($ 250), partly in cardboard (see below), does not have a spinning mechanism. Other non-electric AC Biode products require a bicycle to power the compost rotation (see image below). The number of revolutions and the frequency depend on the humidity and the amount of waste. The downside to Sun-Mar is the need to purchase their proprietary filler material, Compost Sure Green, alongside their Microbe Mix and Compost Mix containing microbes and enzymes that activate the composting process.

Product photos courtesy of AC BIODE – content from AC Biode

AC Biode has already built over 3000 toilets around the world in various locations and is looking for a distributor to enter the US market. The company is based in Tokyo, Luxembourg, and Cambridge, UK.

Photos courtesy of AC Biode

AC Biode’s bio-toilet appears to be a perfect sustainable solution for remote areas with little water, natural disasters, construction sites, retirement homes, ships, nature parks and pets.

Burning man, which operated 1,700 chemical porta-pots in 2017, could greatly benefit from the green and odorless solutions of the Japanese startup. The famous annual Black Rock Desert Festival faces a daunting challenge dealing with the human waste of more than 70,000 people inside the National Conservation Area (NCA), where organizers must adhere to strict environmental regulations.

The company is also developing the “world’s first stand-alone AC battery” (alternating current vs. direct current DC). Tadashi Kubo confirmed that his startup plans to use the AC battery to power AC Biolet electrical products in the future. I wish such batteries could also replace the bicycle that powers the composting process for non-electric units.

Images and content by AC Biode – Editor’s note: at Burning Man 2012, the portable toilets were emptied every morning and at the end of the day, the smell was awful (I was there)

Deposit Green. Learn more about Eco (environment), Eco-friendly, Editorspick, Japan and Startup.



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