South Korean toilet turns excrement into power and digital currency

Manjil Das, INN/Chennai
Twitter-@SGiggle29 @Infodeaofficial

At a university in South Korea, where human faeces is being used to power a building, using a toilet can pay for your coffee or buy you bananas. Cho Jae-weon, a professor of urban and environmental engineering at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), has created an eco-friendly toilet that is connected to a laboratory and produces biogas and manure using faeces.

The BeeVi toilet, which is a combination of the terms, “bee” and “vision,” sends faeces into an underground tank through a vacuum pump, saving water. Microorganisms break down the waste to methane, which is used to power a gas stove, a hot-water boiler, and a solid oxide fuel cell in the building.

“If we think outside the box, faeces has valuable use in the production of energy and manure. “I’ve invested this amount of money in ecological circulation,” Cho explained.

According to the environmental engineer, the average human defecates roughly 500g each day, which can be turned into 50 litres of methane gas. This gas can produce 0.5 kWh of power or operate a car for around 1.2 kilometres (0.75 miles).

Cho created the Ggool virtual money, which means honey in Korean. Every person who uses the environmentally friendly toilet earns 10 Ggool each day.

The cash can be used to purchase items on campus, such as freshly made coffee, instant cup noodles, fruits, and books. Students can go to a store and pick up the items they desire, then scan a QR code to pay with Ggool.

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