Ubuntu-SAN: Point-of-use dry sanitation and sludge beneficiation micro-entrepreneurship model (mobile, decentralised sludge sanitiser via solar pyrolysis)

  • SudhirPillay
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Ubuntu-SAN: Point-of-use dry sanitation and sludge beneficiation micro-entrepreneurship model (mobile, decentralised sludge sanitiser via solar pyrolysis)

Title of project:
Ubuntu-SAN: Point-of-use dry sanitation and sludge beneficiation micro-entrepreneurship model

Funding source: The Sanitation Research Fund for Africa (joint fund by the BMGF and WRC)

Name of lead organisation: ATL-Hydro

Partner organisations: Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Primary contact at lead organisation: Dr. Wade Edwards This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Grantee location: South Africa

Goal(s):
To develop a mobile, decentralised sludge sanitiser via solar pyrolysis and linked to micro-entrepreneurship models geared towards sustainable closed-loop revenue streams.

Objectives:
1. Reviewing local and national faecal/pit sludge management policies in South Africa
2. New toilet design aimed at supporting an increased frequency of pit emptying (weekly as opposed to annually) combined with low volume, self-contained, non-aerosol sludge collection cartridges aimed at addressing the health-related risk associated with current PET (Pit Emptying Techniques)
3. Decentralised onsite sludge sanitising via solar pyrolysis eliminating transportation to centralised sludge management sites
4. Beneficiation of sanitised sludge as pyrolysed biochar for:
4.1 TLUD ‘smokeless’ gasification stove fuel for cooking thereby lowering HAP-associated (Household Air Pollution) non-communicable diseases
4.2 TLUD ‘smokeless’ gasification stove fuel to generate low voltage electricity using integrated Peltier thermoelectric convertors or Stirling micro-motors.
4.3 Soil augmentation/compost for improved agricultural yields and soil regeneration
5. Developing, supporting, and piloting linked micro-entrepreneurship models geared towards sustainable closed-loop revenue streams (figure 2) through community asset mapping and participatory analysis

In addition, the key objectives related to technology transfer will be facilitated through: community-based technical and entrepreneurial workshops; peer-reviewed articles; mainstream media articles; conference proceedings; PhD and MSc students and National Diploma in-service trainees. A final workshop will also be held once the piloting trial is nearing completion with key stakeholders such as municipality representatives, NGOs, and potential investors to explore scalability of the model across a broader community profile.

Start and end date: 1 July 2013 to 31 December 2015

Grant type: funded by the WRC through a grant from BMGF (see here for more information: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/99-fae...pit-emptying-updates )

Short description of the project:

‘Ubuntu-SAN’ is a point-of-use decentralised dry sanitation system that matches human-centred design with a community-centric micro-entrepreneurship model by combining a low volume, aerosol-free toilet and sludge cartridge design with decentralised mobile parabolic solar pyrolysis for sludge sanitisation and biochar production which can be utilised for community stove fuel, agricultural compost and low voltage electricity generation.

Please see brochure:

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Physical Address:
Water Research Commission, 4 Daventry Road, Lynnwood Bridge Office Park, Bloukrans Building, Pretoria.

Postal Address:
Private Bag X03
GEZINA, 0031, South Africa

email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
mobile: +27 (0)60 502 1841

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  • SudhirPillay
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Re: Ubuntu-SAN: Point-of-use dry sanitation and sludge beneficiation micro-entrepreneurship model

The prototype is undergoing testing at the moment. Watch the link below:


Physical Address:
Water Research Commission, 4 Daventry Road, Lynnwood Bridge Office Park, Bloukrans Building, Pretoria.

Postal Address:
Private Bag X03
GEZINA, 0031, South Africa

email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
mobile: +27 (0)60 502 1841
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  • canaday
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Re: Ubuntu-SAN: Point-of-use dry sanitation and sludge beneficiation micro-entrepreneurship model

Dear Sudhir Pillay,

This is a very interesting concept.

The name Ubuntu is likely in reference to the South African solidarity concept, "the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity" (Wikipedia), but is it also a reference to the Linux software of the same name, because this technology will be equally open-source?

A few comments and questions:

1) Feces are different from sludge and I think you are referring to feces.
2) How does compost come from this system if the feces are converted into biochar?
3) The reflector seems very expensive. Is it stainless steel? Could aluminum beverage cans, TetraPak cartons or computer CDs be used, as low-cost, sustainable alternatives?
4) Is there an Archimedes screw in the thin tube at the focal line? If so, what drives it?
5) I am surprised that the air does not heat up appreciably at mid-day where you are. I am also surprised that the outlet temperature is so independant of inlet and mid-point temperatures.
6) It does seem like a good idea to make the fecal cartridge larger, so it does not fill too quickly.
7) What is the overall price of this system? (Sorry if I missed that somewhere).
8 ) It would be great to see more detail on this system.

Good luck and keep up the good work. We look forward to seeing more of your progress here on the Forum.

Best wishes,
Chris Canaday

Conservation Biologist and EcoSan Promoter
Omaere Ethnobotanical Park
Puyo, Pastaza, Ecuador, South America
inodoroseco.blogspot.com
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  • ben
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Re: Ubuntu-SAN: Point-of-use dry sanitation and sludge beneficiation micro-entrepreneurship model

Dear Sudhir,

Thanks a lot for sharing with us this amazing concept. And I love the name and the spirit of Ubuntu sharing community concept.
When you say :
technology transfer will be facilitated through: community-based technical and entrepreneurial workshops; peer-reviewed articles; mainstream media articles; conference proceedings; PhD and MSc students and National Diploma in-service trainees.

I would add to these elements the high potential of this forum ! And a special note to Chris that never rest helping sanitation designers improving their products.
Please share some more informations and I have no doubt plenty of experts here will be up for reviewing your very promissing work.

Best,
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  • SudhirPillay
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Re: Ubuntu-SAN: Point-of-use dry sanitation and sludge beneficiation micro-entrepreneurship model

Dear Chris and Ben

To clarify, I am the funding manager from the South African Water Research Commission. I did not develop the idea - Dr Wade Edwards from ATL-Hydro did - our organisation saw potential in the system and funded the project through the SRFA Project (joint fund by the BMGF and the WRC). The research team will respond in due course. The contact details are shown in the first thread.

Answers to some of the questions:
The WRC and the BMGF WSH Programme have similar mandates / principles, one of which is to ensure that the knowledge gained is shared/disseminated with the global community and at a reasonable cost to people who are in need. The BMGF terms this “Global Access" and you can read more on their webpage. One of the WRC's other mandates is promote capacity building - the projects selected for the Sanitation Research Fund for Africa had to have postgraduate students especially PhD and MSc students so that the next generation of experts are produced.

* Sludge vs faeces. The prototype developed will be tested on fresh faeces and old pit latrine faecal sludge. In South Africa, we have over 3 million VIP toilets - some were built in 90's and are close to full/nearly full. Disposing of the sludge is problematic as its highly concentrated. If the research team can derive some beneficiation from the sludge then its good.

* The frame is Al not the parabolic reflectors - they are perspex.

* There is an extruder on the system linked to the tube.

* The team is developing the operating protocol at the moment. The team or myself will update you when results come in.

* We know that there will be challenges along the way but I am confident the team will address these once the system is piloted.

* Thanks for interest and comments

I have placed new videos for those interested:




Physical Address:
Water Research Commission, 4 Daventry Road, Lynnwood Bridge Office Park, Bloukrans Building, Pretoria.

Postal Address:
Private Bag X03
GEZINA, 0031, South Africa

email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
mobile: +27 (0)60 502 1841
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  • wadeedwards
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Re: Ubuntu-SAN: Point-of-use dry sanitation and sludge beneficiation micro-entrepreneurship model

Hi Chris
Thanks for your interest and positive comments. We'll be addressing a lot of your queries as we continue to develop and test the pyrolysis concept and will keep updating the SuSanA forum as we progress (both with good news and with the problems we encounter). As Sudhir has indicated, we'll be testing the process on fresh and old pit sludge. We're currently in the development stage of our sludge cartridge linking the design with the requirements to 'move' the sludge into the pyrolysis tube for sanitising and, with some optimisation, biochar formation. Concurrently we are working on our cleanburn stove and there are more details on the Ubuntu-SAN Facebook page if you are interested. The sanitation aspect of our UbuntuSAN model is to develop community-centric micro-entrepreneurship opportunities structured around this sanitation model and for that to be successful the beneficiation of the sludge once processed and sanitised is critical. Whilst the aim is to convert the sludge to a biochar that can be used as a fuel in the cleanburn stoves, in certain communities cultural hurdles may deem this model unacceptable and so we aim to test the biochar as a soil augmentation similar to the terra preta soil conditioning seen in the Amazon. Please feel free to comment and we'll address your queries in more detail as we update the forum (answering your questions such as costing, materials etc in more detail by adding to what Sudhir has already commented on).
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  • muench
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Re: Ubuntu-SAN: Point-of-use dry sanitation and sludge beneficiation micro-entrepreneurship model

For those of you who have followed this thread and are interested in this research in South Africa about using concentrated solar power for sludge drying (mobile solar pyrolysis):
Wade Edwards (who posted just above me) made a presentation about his project in Hanoi, see here:

UbuntuSAN: A micro-entrepreneurship model for point-of-use dry sanitation and sludge beneficiation using concentrated solar power: Wade Edwards, Atl-Hydro, Department of Chemical Engineering, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa

www.susana.org/images/documents/07-cap-d...3/3-3-4-2Edwards.pdf

Video (the sound is a little low at first but gets better after a minute):



Or see here, where his part starts at 18:18



There are some really nice pictures in his presentation, well worth a look. He also talks about cartridge based solutions (see also here on the forum: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/52-mob...sed-systems-in-india )

Regards,
Elisabeth

Community manager and chief moderator of this forum via SEI project ( www.susana.org/en/resources/projects/details/127 )

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant in Frankfurt, Germany
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Twitter: @EvMuench
Sanitation Wikipedia project leader: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation
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  • joeturner
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Re: Ubuntu-SAN: Point-of-use dry sanitation and sludge beneficiation micro-entrepreneurship model (mobile, decentralised sludge sanitiser via solar pyrolysis)

The ironman stove in the image above looks very much like a type of rocket stove, see the description of it on wikipedia with some nice images en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocket_stove

The interesting thing about it is that the insulation around the stove pipe ensures that the fuel inside burns very fast and very hot.

My question is this: as I understand the description above, the solar system chars the faeces to use as fuel in the stove. The video seems to have wood burning in the stovepipe, is the suggestion that the charcoal would go inside the insulation chamber? I have heard of wood being charred efficiently in this way, I am wondering whether this is the intention here.

I have contemplated sanitation systems where faeces is collected inside a chamber, which is then converted into a rocket stove which then chars and sanitises it. This might well produce noxious fumes, so your solar charring method may well be safer..
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