Within the next five years, the South Korean Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning intends to invest 10 billion won ($8.65 million) in a system offering virtual currency for human wastes.

The project created at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) uses a waterless toilet system that converts human feces into a dehydrated odourless material to be used for biodiesel or heat energy.

Participants of the project, or better say, donors, would be rewarded with the virtual currency called kkul (‘honey’ in Korean).

A single donation of human wastes would typically cost 10 kkul ($0.43). A special smartphone application would determine the exact price of every dump. The virtual money might then be spent in the supermarkets or restaurants that receive payments in kkul.

“Our ultimate goal is not only for the new toilet system to save water and operational costs for wastewater treatment plants, but for us to establish an ecosystem that supports technology innovation and drives economic diversification where human waste literally has a financial value,” Professor Cho Jae-won, director of the Science Walden Pavilion laboratory, told CCN.

The South Korean government is interested in the implementation of such toilet system across the country to support disadvantaged groups of society.

“We’ll be suggesting a whole new paradigm for city design, and prove the potential of an environmental economic system with a feces-energy-life cycle,” Cho Jae-won added in an interview with Seoul Economic Daily.

Elena Platonova

Image via The Korea Bizwire