London: Time to taste toilet water! A new invention, funded by Bill Gates, aims to turn used toilet water fit for drinking.

Manchester University's Sarah Haigh, an expert in nanotechnology, says the invention could make waste water from toilets safe to drink.

The innovation, which has been funded by billionaire Bill Gates, could transform the lives of millions of people in the developing countries. The researchers plan to have a prototype ready to demonstrate by 2013.

Haigh believes a new range of materials could extract energy from human waste.

Although the result may not be bottled mineral water, the researcher says the results could be the difference between life-and-death in regions without clean water, the Daily Mail reported.

"There has been a lot of research into biofuels. There is a lot of energy already present in human waste. Nano-scale materials mean that you can harvest the hydrogen and turn it into hydrozene, which is basically rocket fuel," Haigh said.

The expert, from Manchester University's school of materials, believes that a scaffold device holding a mixture of bacteria and tiny metal nano-particles will react with the water to extract useful hydrogen, with the remainder filtered again to produce clean water.

Haigh, who was working with scientists at Imperial College London and Durham University, given an initial USD 100,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Their idea for an inexpensive fuel-producing, water-cleaning device for the developing world beat more than 2,000 other proposals.

And the group stands to receive a further USD 1 million from the Gates next year if they can demonstrate the chemical reactions they propose can actually work.

The Microsoft founder, one of the world's richest men, has promised to sink his fortune on combating worldwide poverty.

"The phrase 'off to spend a penny' is used in polite society to refer to a visit to the lavatory. We plan to turn this essential everyday outgoing into an investment by developing novel materials that convert natural waste into a useable resource," Haigh said.