The product debuted along with three others in April 2010 at the EcoWord World Fair, held in Singapore.
The EcoFlapper, invented by the engineer Guido Quesada, professor of the School of Mechanical Engineering of the UCR, is a hemispherical bucket that is place instead the buoy integrated to the valve of discharge of the tank to interrupt the discharge of the toilet when making contact with the discharge mouth.
The idea came ten years ago in discussions between engineers about the design of a house. “The intention was to propose a quick and inexpensive solution to convert conventional devices from full discharge to a controlled discharge, the most practical thing that was thought was to disable the ‘pear’ or integrated buoy to the tank discharge valve,” explained Quesada.
In addition, Quesada said the concept is so simple that everyone can make a homemade version of the device by cutting with scissors the bottom of the buoy, as it comes from the hardware store.
“The trick is to keep the toilet lever down until you get the full discharge or the partial discharge you want. The moment you release the lever, the valve, as it does not have the float given by the buoy, falls and stops the discharge. This requires some education and practice, since people are used to pulling the lever and releasing it, letting the tank be completely discharged, “Quesada said.
With the device, the engineer seeks to add to existing toilets the possibility of a modification that allows them to make a partial or complete discharge, without any modification other than changing the buoy.
Finally, the EcoFlapper is manufactured with recycled rubber from the pipe packaging manufacturing process. When being recycled, it does not comply with the mechanical properties to be used again in pipe packaging, but it can be used in other products, such as carpets, flappers or buoys.
The device is not patentable since it consists of returning to the original design of the clapper valves, which did not have a buoy. However, the product is finishing the prototypes phase and tests to go to the market.
The EcoFlapper was granted to the UCR by Quesada, which allows the university to support it with resources and strategies to boost the innovation. For this reason, the project is now part of Proinnova UCR, an entity that is responsible for managing, protecting and transferring knowledge for the innovation generated by the UCR.
“The UCR has a great responsibility as a generator of knowledge through research and other university activities, to address national issues. The generation of solutions that become innovation when available for society, allows us to meet environmental challenges and generate new opportunities, including some that transcend our borders, “said Marianela Cortés, director of Proinnova.
Valeria López Sedó