Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Omni Processor

"Worldwide, 780 million people don't have access to an improved water source."

"Diseases caused by poor sanitation kill some 700,000 children every year, and they prevent many more from fully developing mentally and physically."

Peter Janicki utilized his creative abilities to combat the above statistics by inventing the Omni Processor.  The Omni Processor is a machine that converts sewage to electricity and clean drinking water that meets the standards of the United States FDA and the World Health Organization.

The sewage is converted by heating the sewage sludge until it boils.  The boiling water exits the dryers as steam.  This steam is at temperatures that are much too high for any pathogen survival.  While the water is vaporized, it is filtered to remove any remaining unwanted particles.  This steam is then condensed to water and is put through a water treatment.  This treatment adjusts the water's pH and uses additional filters to ensure the safety of the water.  Energy is created by boiling water; the heat from combustion of water generates a high pressure steam.  This steam travels to a piston steam engine.  The engine is connected to a generator, which produces the electricity needed to dry the fecal sludge. Excess energy is created to be used in surrounding areas.  The Omni Processor is completely self-sufficient; it generates enough energy for the machine to run in addition to the electricity that can be used by the surrounding community.  Janicki intends to implement his creation in third world countries that are in need of clean water and electricity.  The first Omni Processor (S100) resides in Dakar, Senegal and is set to start this month!  Janicki continues to improve the function of these machines; he has plans for a second model (S200) that is even more efficient.
Omni Processor S200 model 

Janicki used his knowledge that he acquired by earning a B.S. from the University of Notre Dame and a Masters from the University of Washington.  He began his career as a lead design engineer for Electro Impact, Inc. designing large computer numerical control machines (CNC) for riveting and assembling aircraft wings and Spars.  In 1993, Janicki founded Janicki Machine Design to develop and sell CNC machines.  Janicki revolutionized the marine manufacturing industry with machine-composite boat molds.  After this success, Janicki realized that he could apply these machines to various different fields-- including sanitation and the production of clean water and electricity!

Gardner defines a creative individual as "a person who regularly solves problems, fashions products, or defines new questions in a domain in a way that is initially considered novel but that ultimately becomes accepted in a particular cultural setting" (pg. 33).  Peter Janicki fits this description; as an engineer he is always solving problems, fashioning new products, and defining new questions.  His initial goal with this project was to create a better means of sanitation in third world countries while producing electricity.  Janicki wanted an alternative from septic trucks dumping sewage into nearby rivers and streams and wanted to avoid pit latrines filling up so that the people have no choice but to defecate outside.  Both of these situations contaminate drinking water and cause those drinking this water to become ill.  This machine is economical because it produces electricity.  Janicki later realized that this machine could be even more economical because it could produce clean drinking water as well.  This is the first machine of its kind to be implemented in such a way.  Janicki's invention was quickly accepted when the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation decided to fund this project.

To be creative is to take one idea and revolutionize it into something even better by thinking outside of the box, as was done with the Omni Processor.  Janicki took his basic goal of sanitation and electricity production and made it even better by producing fresh drinking water.  This was not just a creative idea, it was completely revolutionary and will have a lasting impact on the lives of many.  This change is starting in Dakar, Senegal and will be spread all across impoverished areas.  Janicki refuses to be complacent; he is continuously working to make this machine as efficient and economical as possible.  

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  3. This is such a wonderful and thought-provoking concept! Not only does it present an amazingly interesting and intricate scientific system, but has so many possible applications to better the quality of life around the world. It solves one problem while addressing a seemingly unrelated problem. Cleaning sewage, providing clean water, as well as powering the community is quite the triple-threat. This is definitely a good example of modern, creative problem solving.


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