Toilet paper isn’t often considered a very valuable asset given that most people prefer not to think about it much at all. Toilet paper is an entrepreneur’s dream because it is one of just a few raw materials with a negative cost. Treatment facilitiesactually pay per ton to get rid of it!
Scientists have proposed a two-step process for the conversion of toilet paper, taking it from an unwanted waste to a product that’s quite useful. For chemists actively researching the idea of using toilet paper as a resource for generating electricity, they hope to achieve the “ultimate waste recycling concept.”
Since the cellulose contained in toilet paper comes from trees, the electricity produced is renewable and offers a great opportunity for meeting society’s demand for renewable energy. Further, while most renewable resources often show discontinuous peaks (plant stems can be recycled, but only after the harvest; sunlight is only available in the daytime and depends on cloud cover, and wind supply is unpredictable) waste toilet paper, on the other hand, is a continuously available resource.
The proposed system’s capital costs are still relatively high (mainly due to the fuel cell investment costs), but are expected to decrease as the market for fuel cells develops. Researches expect the system could eventually become more competitive with a LCOE of about 11cents per kilowatt hour.
While the project team is currently undertaking the project in Amsterdam, they are excited about plans to take their concept abroad even speculating the first Waste Toilet Paper to Electricity plant being built in China.