Sydney, August 14 (ANI): The Bill 'n' Melinda Gates Foundation has bought about 200 litres of fake poo to trial out revolutionary new toilets designed to function without electricity or plumbing.
This week the foundation is holding its "Reinvent the Toilet Fair" aimed at improving the lives of the 2.6 billion people in the third world who do not have access to a toilet.
Many living in the poorest parts of the world are exposed to deadly disease because there are no pipes in their villages to support flushing toilets and no treatment plants - or not enough electricity - to treat sewage properly.
Last year, the foundation gave 3 million dollars in grants to eight engineers to build a new type of toilet.
And next week, the prototypes will be inspected and evaluated using the imitation poop, and finalists will receive more funding.
One of the contending commodes is solar-powered. Another converts waste into electricity using microwave technology, and one dries and burns feces, transforming it into fertilizer.
The researcher in South Africa who created the contraption told NPR it was "like a toilet you'd find in the spaceship" and said there would be left over energy "to power the latrine's light and recharge your cellphone".
"And, to give these newfangled toilet prototypes a test drive while at the fair, we need synthetic feces. About 50 gallons [approx 200 litres] of it," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted the foundation's communications officer Diane Scott in a blog post.
"The recipe for the fair is simply soybean paste and rice - there's a more complex recipe for hard-core research and development work," Scott added. (ANI)