Kohler Co. Supports Caltech's Solar-Powered Toilet

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Kohler Co. Supports Caltech's Solar-Powered Toilet

Plumbing Leader Provides Design and Product Assistance to Winner of the Gates Foundation "Reinvent the Toilet Challenge"
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Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 12:00pm

CAMPAIGN: Kohler's Commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility

CONTENT: Press Release

KOHLER, Wis., Nov. 19, 2013 /3BL Media/ –  Kohler Co, a global leader in kitchen and bathroom design and technology, provides support to the team of engineering students and professor from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in its efforts to develop a solar-powered (photovoltaic) toilet.

"I am thrilled to have the support of Kohler Co. as we move forward with the Gates Foundation to provide better sanitation options in the developing world," says Michael Hoffmann, Caltech's James Irvine Professor of Environmental Science. 

The team from Caltech won the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Reinventing the Toilet Challenge” with their prototype toilet in 2012. Winning this challenge allows the team to use the grant from the Gates Foundation to further develop the system. Caltech’s system includes a self-contained water purification and disinfection system that allows water to be reused and does not require wastewater disposal. Kohler is joining forces with the university to provide plumbing products and design expertise to the Caltech team, as well as on-the-ground technical support for the system’s field trial in India.

“It is exciting and certainly an honor for us to work with the Caltech team, who are true pioneers of their time,” says Rob Zimmerman, Kohler Co. sustainability marketing manager. “Kohler is known for pioneering innovative products and helping to advance technology, and through the Gates Foundation challenge, we get the opportunity to support others in their efforts to push traditional systems to a new level.”

In 2011, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation started their Reinvent the Toilet Challenge with the intent of funding projects to address health and sanitation issues in the developing world. Reinventing the Toilet Challenge is an effort to develop “next-generation” toilets that will deliver safe and sustainable sanitation to the 2.5 billion people worldwide who don’t have it. The awards recognize researchers from leading universities who are developing innovative ways to manage human waste, which will help improve the health and lives of people around the world.


Recommended and Related Materials

Press Release: Bill Gates Names Winners of the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge

Article: Self-Contained, Photovoltaic Powered Domestic Toilet (California Institute of Technology)

Press Release: Caltech Wins Toilet Challenge

Website: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation



Mirjam Lippuner


920-457-4441, ext. 71125

Keywords: Volunteerism & Community Engagement | Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation | CalTech | Environment & Climate Change | Technology | Toilet Challenge | kohler | plumbing | sanitation | toilets

CAMPAIGN: Kohler's Commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility

CONTENT: Press Release