Behold the Toilet Bike; every guy has dreamed of this
- It runs on what?
- Sewage Science
- More Normal Features
- Wrap Up
I figured we'd start the week off on a lighthearted note. And if you don't at least giggle once during this article, you're far more mature than I am. I mentioned the idea to my wife and it elicited a pretty hearty laugh. But first things first, let's get to the lead in.
A lot of people today are clamoring about energy independence and sustainability. Hybrid cars have been making some headway, but the vast majority of our world's car fleet runs on fossil fuels. Buses in my neck of the woods are starting to run on natural gas as well, and German buses are using hydrogen gas. Strides are being made, but we're still too reliant on petroleum. Japanese company TOTO may have an answer, should you be able to bring your self to riding it's vehicle. I suppose I should first mention that TOTO is a toilet maker. That's right folks, the Japanese have given us the world's first motorcycle powered by human poo! Let that one sink in for a moment. You thought the fuel you power your car with had a unique smell; this is easily more fragrant.
Now that the shock and awe factor is subsiding, let's get down to brass tacks. The bike may or may not actually run on human poo. TOTO states that the motorcycle official runs on biogas. Biogas is gas produced from the decay and decomposition of organic matter, typically in the absence of oxygen. Human and animal waste is something you can make biogas from, so at this moment, I'm still seeing the chance for a deuce powered vehicle. But continued research shows that the bike, called the Toilet Bike Neo, doesn't have the mechanism to convert your number two into fuel. That will have to be taken care of elsewhere, but there is still hope for those that wish to turn Chinese food into fuel.
Since I do cover science and all, I guess a bit of science about biogas is in order. As I stated earlier, Biogas is the result of breaking down organic matter in the absence of oxygen. The organic matter is broken down anaerobically, also called fermentation. The end products are methane and carbon dioxide. Methane and carbon monoxide have the ability to combust in the presence of oxygen. This combustion allows energy to be released and makes biogas viable as a fuel. If you compress this biogas, like natural gas, you can use it to fuel vehicles. Since there is not a lack of the biological matter biogas needs, it is an ideal renewable fuel. If this all seems a bit to fragrant for you, biogas can be cleaned up and actually upgraded to natural gas levels and becomes biomethane.
As if that weren't awesome enough, and really, a bike running on poo is pretty awesome, the Toilet Bike Neo has some other nifty features. The bike utilizes residual light imagery to actually write messages into the sky as it scoots by. If that weren't enough, the bike is also equipped with speakers and can play music, so as if a dude riding a toilet weren't entertaining enough, this will provide the soundtrack for your numerous conversations about what the heck you're riding. Lastly, if you've ever asked yourself what the baby from Kit from Night Rider and a toilet would be like, this bad boy answers that question. This toilet will actually talk to you. This is actually technology that TOTO has been using in their less mobile units.
The Toilet Bike is part of TOTO's initiative to cut CO2 emissions in Japan by 50% over the next five years. There is a lot of speculation about whether this is something someone will actually mass produce someday, or if it's just a stunt to raise awareness. I personally think it's the latter. So if you had you heart set on riding to work with your pants at your ankles powering your motorcycle with coffee, you may be a bit disappointed. Speaking of, there is no word whether you can ride this while airing out your under carriage or not. I personally think a toilet instead of a regular seat has a ton of upside; I get my best thinking done on the throne and have gotten rather comfortable there on more than one occasion. If you want to keep up with the crapper cycle, check out the companies blog: TOTO blog. Again, I hope you got a laugh out of this like I did, and if not; lighten up. Technology doesn't have to be serious circuits and silicon; It can be porcelain and poop. Thanks for reading.