We live in a world driven by consumerism. So, it’s fitting that Cho Jae-weon, an urban and environmental engineering professor and researcher at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), has invented a toilet that turns what’s been literally consumed into green energy, which translates into a digital currency that students and staff can use to purchase a cup of coffee or a snack on campus.
When you make your, uh, deposit, the eco-friendly toilet, called the BeeVi toilet, pumps it into an underground tank (which already saves more water than a traditional toilet), and there, microorganisms break down the waste into methane, a usable source of energy.
A human produces an average of around one pound of excrement a day, which the toilet can turn into an astounding 50 liters of methane gas. This generates half a kilowatt-hour of electricity, which is enough to drive an electric car for three-quarters of a mile.
Cho cleverly came up with a corresponding virtual currency called Ggool, meaning “honey” in Korean. Every use of the toilet scores poopers 10 Ggool per day, which can be used to make purchases on the university’s campus. The result is quite the green circular economy.
Heo Hui-jin, a postgraduate student who has made and spent Ggool is enthusiastic about the new mindset he has on his own waste that has developed as a result of his experience. “I had only ever thought that feces are dirty, but now it is a treasure of great value to me,” he says. “I even talk about feces during mealtimes to think about buying any book I want.”
Source Image: UNIST