The billionaire philanthropist, whose Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation spent $200 million over seven years funding sanitation research, showcased some 20 novel toilet and sludge-processing designs that eliminate harmful pathogens and convert bodily waste into clean water and fertilizer.
"Durban is a good place to run these tests because the city is growing fast and many people there don't have a modern sanitation, which means that, even if they have access to a toilet, the waste can get into the environment and make people sick", he said.
"Thanks to the new type of toilets, the waste will not be allowed to enter drains".
According to Sky News, Gates compared the change from traditional toilets to waterless models as similar to developments in computing around the time he founded Microsoft in the mid-1970s.
Bill Gates aims to save 500,000 young lives a year by reinventing the lavatory for the world's poorest.
Gates unveiled that toilet at a trade event in Shanghai, China, where he lauded the globalised and free trade systems that made the toilet technology possible.
"For the first time we're really saying, 'can we make it more economic to avoid all of that?' And in the same way that a personal computer is sort of self-contained, not a enormous thing, 'can we do this chemical processing actually at the household level?"'
Bill Gates with the jar of human faeces.
'This year the volume of toilets will literally be in the 100s while people are still kicking tyres (testing them),' Gates said.
During his keynote, Gate held up a jar with human feces in it, noting that the amount of human waste in that jar alone contains 200 trillion rotavirus cells, 20 billion Shigella bacteria, and 100,000 parasitic worm eggs.
Gates said that the foundation plans to invest an additional 200 million USA dollars into supporting continued R&D efforts that can help bring down the costs of new sanitation products for the poor and bolster development in regions where new, non-sewered sanitation products can have the greatest impact.
According to gates, by 2030, the market size of new toilets may reach $6 billion a year.
The entrepreneur was helping to launch the three-day event in China - where leader Xi Jinping has made a so-called "toilet revolution" across the country a policy priority. 'It's not a huge part of the budget but the impact is big, ' he said.