The lavatory that pays out when users spend a penny
20th of July 2021
A South Korean professor has created an eco-friendly toilet that rewards students with digital currency every time they use it.
Students are “paid” to use the lavatory because each visit helps the university to offset energy bills and grow plants in the campus gardens.
The new eco-toilet toilet at South Korea’s Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology is the brainchild of the facility’s professor of urban and environmental engineering Cho Jae-weon.
The BeeVi lavatory uses a vacuum pump to send human waste to an underground tank. Here it is broken down by microorganisms and turned into methane and manure. The manure is used to fertilise the university gardens while the methane powers various university facilities including a gas stove, a hot-water boiler and a solid oxide fuel cell.
Since the washroom is deemed to have a positive impact on the facility, all students who use it are rewarded with Ggool – a digital currency devised by Cho. Washroom visitors use their phones to scan a QR code that links to a digital wallet containing their Ggool balance.
They can then use the currency to buy a range of goods in campus shops and cafes including coffees, noodles, fruit and books. And they can earn anything up to 10 Ggool a day for using the toilet.
“If we think out of the box, faeces has precious value to make energy and manure,” said professor Cho. “I have put this value into ecological circulation.”