NCSU Student Engineering A Solution

Nov 25, 2011

A student at NC State is hoping to solve a pervasive problem in developing countries.

Tate Rogers needed an idea for his senior engineering seminar class last spring. The assignment – use the Gates Foundation Grand Challenge guidelines to develop an idea to help dispose of human waste in developing countries.

His idea was simple: encase a hand-held auger in a pipe, so that one person could empty a latrine, instead of needing a huge, costly truck. Rogers won a $100,000 Gates grant and is now developing a prototype.

Tate Rogers: "The main obstacle is making it adaptable for any situation that might occur, so it might have to have different attachments for different depths in different pits or different size auger bits, depending on the density of the waste."

Rogers says a prototype may be finished next month. Next year, he plans to conduct field-testing in the Philippines. If all goes well, the project may qualify for a $1 million grant from the Gates Foundation.