Tag Archives: biogas

Waste to Wealth: Helping to Close the Sanitation Financing Gap in Rural Communities and Small Towns

Waste to Wealth: Helping to Close the Sanitation Financing Gap in Rural Communities and Small Towns | Source: Solutions Journal, Feb 2016 |

Waste to Wealth is a Ugandan initiative created in partnership with the Ministry of Water and Environment, its water and wastewater utility (the National Water and Sewerage Corporation), and other government, NGO, and academic partners. The concept is simple—to use modern bioenergy technologies to convert human and other organic wastes into resources that will provide economic benefits and improved environment and human health.


The results of using EcoSan fertilizer on maize in South Nyanza, Kenya. No fertilizer was used on the left, while fertilizer from EcoSan toilet systems was used on the right. Both sections of maize were planted at the same time.

The biogas and slurry left from energy conversion will be used as a resource with economic value to provide a return on the investment in AD technology. The concept is an innovative and transformative technology-based approach to managing human wastes and providing sanitation services in low income countries.

Key Concepts

  • Human waste contains significant amounts of organic material that can be digested by specific bacteria in oxygen-free environments.
  • The byproducts from this digestion process can be used as energy for cooking, lighting, and generating electricity.
  • Revenue or savings from the sale or use of these products provides financing to pay back up-front capital costs.

Read the complete article.

Modernising urban sanitation in Southern Bangladesh

SNV-Modernising-Urban-SanitationA new project promises to provide one million people in Bangladesh with an improved living environment and access to safe faecal sludge management. The project will also give 250,000 people access to improved sanitation facilities and use market-based solutions to generate biogas from sludge.

SNV Bangladesh and Khulna City Corporation (KCC) launched the “Demonstration of pro-poor market- based solutions for faecal sludge management in urban centres of Southern Bangladesh” project on March 31, 2014. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) are funding the project.

Launch of SNV project Modernising Urban Sanitation in Bangladesh

Photo: SNV

Currently Khulna has no designated dumping sites or treatment facilities for faecal sludge. The city has an estimated population of 1.6 million, while 1.2 million more people live in the surrounding 36 smaller towns.  By developing faecal sludge management services in KCC, and the two small towns of Khustia and Jhenaidah in Khulna division, the four-year project aims to reform human waste management in Bangladesh.

Read more in the project brochure.

Source: SNV, 4 Apr 2014



WASHplus Weekly – WASH and IAP Integration

Issue 57 May 25, 2012 | Focus on the Integration of WASH and the Prevention of Indoor Air Pollution

This issue updates the April 22, 2011, weekly with more recent news and studies. A recent Lancet article stated that an integrated multisector approach can lead to rapid improvement in child survival. A WHO Bulletin study points to the need for multisector integration but discusses the difficulties in integrating cookstoves with other interventions to prevent pneumonia. A report on the adoption of cookstoves in Kenya found that cookstove adoption was greater where household water treatment occurred. Other resources include news from Uganda on the use of latrine wastes for biogas and the use of solar cookers in China for water treatment and cooking.

Please let WASHplus know at any time if you have resources to share for future issues of WASHplus Weekly or if you have suggestions for future topics. An archive of past Weekly issues is available on the WASHplus website. 

Tanzania – Local entrepreneur goes for mass production of biogas from cow-dung

A Tanzanian entrepreneur, Andembwisye Mwakatundu, has come up with an innovative plan to turn hundreds of tons of cow-dung otherwise thrown away by ranches and individuals throughout the country to produce biogas. The sight of men on bicycles carrying firewood and charcoal is a common one along Dar es Salaam’s Nyerere Road towards Kisarawe in Coast Region and throughout Tanzania: It is the human face of deforestation.

The main source of fuel for preparing food, lighting, and keeping their homes warm are standing trees and shrubs, with more than 39 million, or 80 per cent, of Tanzania’s population relying for household cooking fuel alone on firewood and charcoal. Population growth matched with a dwindling supply of fuelwood and the rising cost of kerosene, has resulted in the country’s forest cover being reduced over the last 40 years from 6.3 hectares per capita in 1961 to around .08 hectares in 2009, leaving behind miles of barren land incapable of absorbing water or supporting plant life of agriculture.

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Gates Foundation offers grants for innovative sanitation technologies

US$ 100,000 grants are available for innovative non-networked sanitation technologies for the urban poor. “Create the Next Generation of Sanitation Technologies” is one of topics in Round 7 of Grand Challenges Explorations, a US$ 100 million grant initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Proposals are being accepted through May 19, 2011 at 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time.

The sanitation call focuses on four specific challenges:

  1. Unhygienic and inadequate pit/tank emptying and extraction;
  2. Recovery of energy from communities’ fecal sludge;
  3. Inappropriate sanitation solutions for areas challenged by an abundance of water (e.g. communities that face seasonal flooding, high groundwater tables, riparian or tidal communities, etc.);
  4. Easy to clean, attractive and affordable latrine pan / squatting platform technologies that enhance latrines

Proposed ideas must ultimately be designed for low income urban settings such as slums, informal and formal peri-urban settings, or dense rural settings in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia where demand for fecal sludge emptying and treatment are high.

Successful projects have the opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to US$1 million.

Innovations can be new ideas or important improvements to existing solutions. Proposals must provide an underlying rationale, a testable hypothesis, and an associated plan for how the idea would be tested or validated.

Proposals are being accepted online at www.grandchallenges.org/explorations.

Read the application instructions.

Read full details of the Create the Next Generation of Sanitation Technologies challenge

Source: Gates Foundation press release, 15 Mar 2011

Smart, eco-friendly sanitation for all in China, lessons for India

Invest in sanitation and wastewater, make treated wastewater available for reuse in urban areas and reduce the GDP loss due to bad health and disease which bad sanitation brings. These are the lessons that India can learn from neighbouring China, says S. Vishwanath, a writer on sustainable water management and sanitation issues.

The four storied apartments in Dongsheng District of Erdos Municipality in Inner Mongolia, China look like any apartment, all 825 of them. They look the same that is until you use the toilet. Detailed instructions nailed to the door tell you how to use them. The urine diverting toilets flush with sawdust instead of water. Urine is collected in tanks tucked away in the basement of the building and used as a fertiliser in a surrounding agricultural field. The solids are composted and reused also as fertiliser. Grey-water coming from the washing machine and bath is treated at a small treatment plant in the development and reused for landscape use. The people who bought the flats did so knowing fully well the systems of sanitation in place and paid the same market rates as the flats which had conventional sanitation systems. This is China’s brave new world of waste and wastewater management.

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Zambia – Putting waste to work

NDOLA, Zambia, Nov 23 (IPS) – When Obed Mumba first came to the Zambian copper mining town of Ndola in search of work, it was still known reverently as “Ku kalale” – the land of the white man. In the decades since, he has witnessed his Kabushi township outgrow the limited dreams of its planners.

Now 56, he is affectionately known in the Kariba section of the location as “Ba Shikulu-Mumba”, Grandpa Mumba. The neighbourhood was built in the 1940s specially to accommodate single men like Mumba, who came to Ndola from the northern region of Luapula to work in the Bwana Mkubwa Copper Mine.

Kariba comprised 130 housing blocks of six rooms each that were the envy of many native workers at the time. The changed fortunes of the town are felt keenly here, as the bright young men of today have quickly learned that it pays to follow revered sons of the city like Frederick Chiluba and Levy Mwanawasa (both former presidents of Zambia) to Lusaka, where fame and money are more readily found.

Hostels long outgrown

Established in the 1940s, Kariba section was built specially to accommodate people like Mumba who came to Ndola from Luapula as a single and eventually found work with Bwana Mkubwa (which means Big Boss).

This section comprised 130 swanky new housing blocks of six rooms that were the envy of many indigenous workers of the time.

But in the years since the rules preventing miners’ families from living with them were cast aside, each room became living quarters for a family of five or more. Shacks, known locally as “cabins”, were thrown up to house teenaged sons and daughters and extended family members.

The original sanitation arrangements, eight communal ablution blocks, each designed to serve 100 people, were soon overwhelmed. By the early 1980s the communal showers and toilets were completely abandoned.

“We had to dig shallow pit latrines near our houses and children who feared to fall into them began to defecate in the open. The whole place began to smell terrible with flies everywhere,” Mumba, who today runs a small grocery store, recalls.

Among those who had left Ndola to make his career was Bernard Phiri. He had risen to become chief executive officer of the Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company, responsible for the town’s water and sanitation, when in 2007 a non-governmental organisation from Germany established links with the Water and Sanitation Association of Zambia.

Appropriate technology

BORDA, the Bremen Overseas Research and Development Association, had been working on biogas projects in India since the late 1970s, and was interested in setting up a pilot project in Zambia.

Kabushi township was chosen for the pilot for a decentralised wastewater treatment system, intended as a waste and energy solution for a poor neighbourhood lacking sanitation. The system depends on bio-digesters to process human waste to give off methane gas.

A bio-digester is a reservoir – typically round – built out of burnt bricks and mortar or plain concrete with two vents fitted with valves. Through one vent, raw human waste flows in, which is hungrily fed on by bacteria, until out of the other flows an odorless, biodegraded slurry that can safely be used as manure in a vegetable garden.

Methane gas released by the bacteria collects at the top of the structure’s convex roof, and is piped away to feed stoves in the nearby homes.

Five hundred forty-seven toilets were constructed by Kafubu in Kabushi. “These are pour flush toilets with an integrated shower. The water supply is metered and the effluent from 156 households feeds the two biogas digesters that have already been constructed,” Phiri explains.

Waste not, want not

Each household is expected to pay for the piped water used in the toilet, kitchen and shower – billed at a rate of 59,200 Zambian kwacha – just under $13 – for 38 cubic metres of water.

Ba Shikulu-Mumba is one of the 30 grateful homeowners who has been connected to the gas network. He says it is much cheaper to cook on gas than on charcoal.

“A bag of charcoal costs about 30,000 kwacha and if your wife is careless you can end up with a bill of more than 150,000 ZMK (just over $30) a month,” he observed. A typical household in Kabushi gets by on roughly $100 each month.

As more digesters are built in the area, the plan is to connect all the houses as raw sewerage is expected to come in from more affluent neighbourhoods.

Sustainable development

The Kabushi project is the first integrated water treatment system in Zambia, and has already been copied by four of the country’s ten other water utilities.

Bwalya Nondo, spokesperson for the ministry of environment and natural resources points out that the project’s benefits extend beyond refurbished toilets and cheap fuel for residents. Harnessing renewable energy from human waste will also go a long way to protect Zambia’s fast-disappearing forests.

“At the moment charcoal burners destroy as much as 300,000 hectares of forest cover each year,” Nondo said.

The two biodigesters, and the gas pipes and support structures built in Kariba section of Kabushi has cost Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company around $830,000. The biodigesters have put Kabushi and the city of Ndola on the road to a sustainable new order for their city.

Source – http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=49381