Although human crap is not always an attractive resource at a first glance, it nevertheless has significant potential if you think outside the box. Pooping can bring you incentives, especially if you’re a student at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in South Korea.
Eco Toilet – Poop Power
Developed by Professor Cho Jae-weon, the ‘BeeVi’ toilet – a portmanteau of ‘bee’ and vision’ – is an eco-friendly toilet that uses your earthly deposits to generate electricity to power a building.
And because we’re in a time when the crypto trend is at an all-time high, Cho created a digital currency called Ggool, which means ‘honey’ in Korean. Each person hitting the can gets paid 10 Ggool, which can be used to buy stuff around the university, such as food and even books. The students can go to a special Ggool market and do their purchases by scanning a QR code.
Korean Eco Toilet – How It Works
Most toilets require gallons of water just to effectively flush shit. Instead, the eco-toilet uses a vacuum pump to suck human waste without the need for water. The eco toilet is much smaller than typical toilets, as it treats excrements into an underground bioreactor. The systems utilize a natural biological process to turn excrement into a powdered, odorless, and compost-like material. Then they are transferred to the Microbial Energy Production system, where the microorganisms chew on the wastes and burp out methane – a vital byproduct – to power adjacent bedrooms, a gas stove, solid oxide fuel cell, and hot-water boiler.
According to the professor, the eco toilet system could turn an average of 500 grams of human poop into 50 liters of methane. The system can produce enough electricity to charge your phone every day for a month or power your electric vehicle (EV) for a 1.2-kilometer ride.
The bad news is that for now, Ggool is only exclusive in this one South Korean university. But if it makes a name for itself, maybe we’ll get to take it for a spin stateside.
Are Eco Toilets Really That Effective?
Not all efforts in creating eco-toilets have been that successful: in September, the London-based Waterwise Project says that dual-flush toilets, believed to save water, are actually doing the opposite. They added that dual-flush eco-toilets are more prone to leaks, because the water loss exceeded the amount of water they should be saving daily.
Popularize during the 80s, the two-button toilets were also seen as eco-friendly because they give customers a choice of how much water to use depending on the “situation”: one button is for pooping, while the other one is for taking a leak. But it was found out that half of the patrons frequently used the wrong button – or ending up pressing both.