Bathroom humor aside, a student-led team of researchers at University of Colorado Boulder among the winners of a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant through the “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge” that is no joking matter, the Huffington Post reports. On Tuesday in the second round of the challenge, the CU-Boulder engineers were awarded $780,000 for their toilet concept that uses concentrated sunlight to disinfect and decompose toilet waste and produce “biochar” — biological charcoal — a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers for reuse in farm soils, The Associated Press reports. Gates Foundation will fund the project over 16 months beginning in September. The Daily Camera reports that Karl Linden, a CU-Boulder environmental engineering professor, will helm the project that is student-driven.

“This project integrates areas of expertise at CU in solar-thermal processes, disinfection and biochar that would not typically work together and creates a great team to tackle such a complex and important problem as sustainable sanitation solutions in developing countries,” said Linden in a CU-Boulder press release

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