At the South Korean Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), one of the four public universities of the Asian country, Cho Jae-weon, professor for urban and environmental technology, has developed an environmentally friendly toilet that uses the excrement of its users to produce biogas and dung.
Toilet content is used to generate electricity
The so-called Beevi toilet – an art work – runs via a vacuum pump rt from bee and vision – feces in an underground tank, in which microorganisms break down the feces into methane. The methane produced is integrated into the energy cycle of a building, where it drives a gas stove, a hot water boiler and a solid oxide fuel cell. The remaining manure is used in a nearby garden.
“If we think outside the box, faeces are valuable for energy production and as fertilizer. I brought this value into the ecological cycle “, is how Professor Cho explains his idea.
An average person sheds around 500 grams per day, according to Cho. This would result in 50 liters of methane gas in the conversion process by microorganisms. The environmental engineer calculates that half a kilowatt hour of electricity can be generated and a car can be driven around 1.2 kilometers.
Toilet pays users in digital currency for their contributions
In order to encourage the university community to use it, Cho invented a virtual currency called Ggool (honey). For the use of the environmentally friendly toilet, UNIST pays its users up to a maximum of 10 Ggool per day. Every time they go to the toilet, users can scan a QR code placed on the toilet to top up their credit.
This currency can be used to buy goods on campus. The offer ranges from freshly brewed coffee to instant noodles and fruit to books. The products can be picked up in a specially set up shop and paid for via QR code scan using the personal Ggool credit.
The concept is particularly well received because of the remuneration aspect, as UNIST doctoral student Heo Hui-jin confirmed to Reuters. You yourself are constantly thinking about which book you could buy next.