Kohler Begins Field Testing Closed-Loop Toilet System


Since receiving a grant from a philanthropic organization dedicated to addressing global sanitation problems last year, global plumbing leader Kohler Co. has been designing the next generation of the closed-loop flush toilet system for field testing in locations without adequate sanitation.

The Kohler team has completed design and construction of five Closed-Loop Advanced Sanitation System (CLASS) prototypes. Two units have already been installed at apartment buildings in the city of Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, India. The Kohler CLASS team along with a team from Research Triangle Institute (RTI) are collecting data, performing maintenance and analyzing water samples.

 The CLASS prototypes are stand-alone units that take in waste water, then disinfect and purify it to be reused for toilet flushing. The units are treating waste water from the building’s toilets, and the team is testing the water to ensure all pathogens have been killed in the treatment process.

“We’re deliberately performing this field test over the course of several weeks in a controlled environment to prevent any disruption to the residents,” said Ratish Namboothiry, senior new product development leader for Kohler

Field-testing is allowing the Kohler team to simultaneously learn about the system’s capabilities as well as the environmental factors at the site that may affect its performance. Applying this learning supports continued research and innovation of Kohler’s treatment system.

“The data our team is collecting will guide future refinements of the CLASS system,” said Rob Zimmerman, senior manager of sustainability for Kohler. “We’re trying to understand the needs of the end user and the supply chain while informing technology and business development in new and existing markets.”

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