South Korean researchers develop method to produce biofuels from human waste

In South Korea, a brand new outdoor laboratory has been recently launched at UNIST and this is expected to convert human waste into renewable energy sources, and possible to a monetary value.

The major research facilities of this pavillion include “Waterless Energy-producing Toilet System” and “Microbial Energy Production System”.┬áThe waterless toilet system, located on the first floor of the pavilion treats human excrement without using water. The system utilizes a natural biological process to break down human waste into a dehydrated odorless compost-like material. Then, at the microbial energy production system, this compost-like material is converted into biodiesel or heat energy.

Once the grinding system inside the toilet converts feces into a dry, odorless material, it will be transferred to a digestion tank, containing thousands of different microbes. The microbes inside the tank will, then, biodegrade the powdered human manure to generate carbon dioxide and methane. Using high pressure and membrane, carbon dioxide is extracted to culture green algae for biofuel while methane is stored for later use as a heating fuel.

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