By Olivia B. Waxman
January 6, 2015

In a new video on Bill Gates’s blog, the Gates Foundation co-founder sips water made from human waste using a machine called OmniProcessor, manufactured by Janicki Bioenergy in Sedro-Woolley, Washington, north of Seattle.

As he writes in a blog post:

“I watched the piles of feces go up the conveyer belt and drop into a large bin. They made their way through the machine, getting boiled and treated. A few minutes later I took a long taste of the end result: a glass of delicious drinking water…

Through the ingenious use of a steam engine, it produces more than enough energy to burn the next batch of waste. In other words, it powers itself, with electricity to spare. The next-generation processor, more advanced than the one I saw, will handle waste from 100,000 people, producing up to 86,000 liters of potable water a day and a net 250 kw of electricity…

The processor wouldn’t just keep human waste out of the drinking water; it would turn waste into a commodity with real value in the marketplace.

The video is meant to raise awareness about ways to improve sanitation and access to clean drinking water worldwide. Some 2.5 billion people lack access to proper sanitation, and more than 1 billion people have to defecate outside or in public, contaminating drinking water supplies—a problem that can cause disease and death.

Read next: Give to Charity Like Bill Gates…Without Being Bill Gates

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