Wood Stove Incinerating Toilet

What is an incinerating toilet you ask?

One that literally burns off all your waste leaving nothing behind but a small amount of sanitized ash that you can dispose of in your flower bed if you wish. The advantages are no plumbing, septic or water, no electricity or reliance on fossil fuels, nor special products to keep up. The disadvantage? This is not on the market and hasn’t gone through the field testing stages to make it safe.

Wood Stove, image by Monica HolyWood Stove Principle of operation by Abizar

green plus sign by gayleeToilet, image by Titanas

This is the innovation of someone who lives up in Alaska where people have to get creative with their challenges, and if he doesn’t blow himself up he may just be on to something. I found this posting on Wombat Nation and will keep an eye out for the ongoing adventures of a wood stove incinerating toilet. In ‘Alaska Boy’s’ own words:

“I actually talked with an engineer and we changed the design to something much more robust. The stove is still the same (just a thick steel snorkel stove) but the burner has changed. I now have an “L” shaped piece of 4 inch stainless exhaust pipe that goes through the toilet and exits just above “water” line. The pipe is one piece, bent on a mandrel at a shop. No welds or joints in the burner. It is welded to the wall and the weld is pressure gas tight. It took a welding shop to do that as I don’t have those skills.

The burner is just a commercial weed burner in the open part of the L. It is based on a “Rocket Stove” design and burns very very hot. The gasses are mostly what evaporate and incinerate the product. The exit temperature is around 1100 degrees (nice to have engineers and their electronic measuring toys). The liquid burns off really fast and the solids smoke then the smoke ignites and the solids turn to dust.

Thumbs Up by OldmaisonAdvantages, makes a very cool jet engine sound and there is no smell at all. Virtually no visible exhaust at all. As long as there is material in the chamber, external temps are ok. The stove and pipe are red hot. Stove pipe tops out at 600 degrees just above the stove. Burn time for a full stove is about 10 minutes to ash.

In theory you could use sticks of wood but it would take a lot longer and not burn as hot. I also don’t like ash and any liquid close to each other as the mixture can eat metal.

Thumbs downDisadvantage – you have to monitor it close – when empty (or even low) it gets real hot and i think i could easily melt the stove or burn through a stove pipe. I usually shut it off and let the residual gas and heat take care of the last of it.

You can’t sit on the toilet for about 45 minutes after a burn.

This may be more than anyone should know about incinerating human waste. I have tried traditional privies, composters, and other methods but this is by far the best. Remember I’m way off the grid so i don’t think this would work in any place that has codes. It does require some carbon input but I’m not going to save the world at the expense of basic sanitation.

• I have made one small improvement since i last posted. I extended the burn pipe up the stack about 24″and wrapped a copper water coil around it. I can now use the excess heat that comes off the stack to heat my water. Considering i have a fire going all winter in at least one of the wood stoves, this is more of just a way to scavenge BTU’s then a necessity but i always make sure that I haul water on “burn days” so i can take a shower.”

So there you have it. An incinerating toilet modified to be used with a wood burning stove. I personally would like to wait until it gets field tested under proper conditions in that I don’t think my house insurance would cover this. Nonetheless, it puts a smile on my face to know that people living way off the beaten path are coming up with new ideas such as this one, and if he ever gets a patent for these things I would be happy to give wood a try.

Image Credits: Monica Holy, Wikimedia, GayleeTitanas

2 Responses to Wood Stove Incinerating Toilet
  1. Jonah@Industrial Heating
    January 24, 2011 | 5:00 am

    I had my experience with a wood stove for the first time . I loved it. Only used small amount of fire wood this first time. Heated our room fast. Also put a frying pan on the top filled with leftovers. Heated gradually yet evenly. Flames looked lovely through chrome door and web. Expecting more laid back times in front of the beautiful useful wood burner.

  2. Incinerating wood | Charitygifter
    July 30, 2011 | 4:48 pm

    […] Wood Stove Incinerating Toilet | Middle Earth HomeNov 9, 2010 … This is the innovation of someone who lives up in Alaska where people have to get creative, and if he doesn’t blow himself up he may just be … […]

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