No it’s not April Fools' Day - Bill Gates really is investing in 200 litres of fake poo. However worry not, the Microsoft boss hasn’t lost his marbles or is planning some kind of prank at Apple HQ (as far as we know), it’s all part of a charity venture.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is hoping to help 2.6 billion people in the Third World who have no access to a toilet and subsequently become vulnerable to disease from poor sewage facilities. 

The “Reinvent the Toilet Fair” is using $3 million in grants from the Gates Foundation to trial a new kind of toilet that doesn’t need water, electricity or even access to a sewage system. 

Instead of flushing a person’s waste away, it dries it and then burns it into fertilizer. This in turn will create enough energy which, according to one researcher, will “power the latrine’s light and recharge your cellphone”.

Other designs, which will be showcased at the fair on 14-15 August, include a solar-powered toilet and another that again turns human waste into electricity but this time using microwave technology. 

As for the fake poo used to demonstrate these contraptions, it’s made from a recipe of soybean paste and rice - and before you ask, no it’s doesn’t smell.

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