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Samsung, Gates Foundation complete Reinvent the Toilet project

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong (left) and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pose during a meeting in Seoul on Aug. 16. (Samsung Electronics)
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong (left) and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pose during a meeting in Seoul on Aug. 16. (Samsung Electronics)
Samsung Electronics said Thursday it celebrated the completion of the Reinvent the Toilet project that has been conducted over the past three years in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Gates Foundation launched the “RT” project in 2011 with an aim to generate innovative solutions that can protect people and communities from human waste-borne pathogens and help underdeveloped countries deliver more inclusive sanitation services that reach the poorest communities.

The Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology joined the project in 2019 and developed key technologies such as heat treatment and bioprocessing technologies that kill pathogens from human waste and make their release safer for the environment.

Samsung said it has recently succeeded in testing the prototype toilet with the Gates Foundation, paving the way for their mass market debut for household use.

Samsung plans to offer its patented technologies free of charge, to be more widely adopted by governments around the world. Even though their project partnership ended as of Thursday, Samsung stressed it would continue offering consultations for the commercialization of the prototype.

The successful completion of the joint project comes days after Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation, met in Seoul on Aug. 16 to share the project’s results and exchange views on other global social contribution activities.

During his meeting with the Samsung chief, Gates reportedly shared his foundation’s future vision and other current activities. In response, Lee showed his full support for tackling global challenges using Samsung’s technological prowess.

In the meantime, since getting a presidential pardon earlier this month, Lee, the de facto leader of the nation’s largest conglomerate, has made frequent public appearances. Lee visited Samsung’s business operations, including its chipmaking plants, and mingled with employees there.

Expectations are high for Lee to make new large-scale investment decisions or conduct business restructuring to further enhance his control over Samsung companies.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)
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