Bill Gates uses unusual prop to launch toilet technology exhibition

Bill Gates speaks at the Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing on Tuesday

Bill Gates speaks at the Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing on Tuesday

The toilet, which is the brainchild of research projects funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is ready for sale after years of development.

He was appearing at the Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing, China, talking about the need for safe sanitation throughout the world and the Gates Foundation's role in funding better sanitation options.

He declared that "today we are on the cusp of a sanitation revolution" and promised the most significant advances in the field for nearly 200 years.

Bill Gates stunned the crowd in Beijing on Tuesday with a jar of human feces in his hand. This future toilets will turn human waste into fertilizer. In some cities, more than half the volume of human waste escapes into the environment untreated.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 2.3 billion people around the world still don't have access to basic sanitation facilities.

"In rich countries we have sewers that take clean water in, flush some of the dirty water out, in nearly all cases there's a treatment plant", he said.

The next step for the project is to pitch the concept to manufacturers, Gates said, adding that he expects the market for the toilets to be over US$6 billion by 2030.

"Innovative companies have a golden opportunity to do well by doing good", LIXIL President Kinya Seto said in a statement.

"So when I talk about components of this toilet being made in China, others in Thailand, others in the U.S. - you really want to be bringing together all of that IQ so that you're getting that combination". "It's a question of how quickly this new category of off-grid solutions will scale".

"Our goal is to be at 5 cents a day of cost", Gates said in a telephone interview before the exhibition.

More than 20 companies and academic institutions are exhibiting new toilet technologies, from self-contained toilets to a small-scale, self-powered waste treatment plant.

"The value of those outputs exceeds the operating cost", Gates said.

During a speech at the Reinvented Toilet Expo event in Beijing, Microsoft founder was a part of thanks to his charity's work towards building an economical toilet for developing countries.

On stage at the Expoo, Gates quipped that "a decade ago I never imagined that I'd know so much about poop".

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