Fresh Life Toilet in Kenyan slums - improved urine-diverting squatting plate (Sanergy in Nairobi, Kenya)
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TOPIC: Fresh Life Toilet in Kenyan slums - improved urine-diverting squatting plate (Sanergy in Nairobi, Kenya)

Fresh Life Toilet in Kenyan slums - improved urine-diverting squatting plate (Sanergy in Nairobi, Kenya) 16 May 2014 15:01 #8635

  • muench
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Dear all,

Many of you have heard of Sanergy, the impressive social business venture serving an ever-growing number of people in low-income areas in Nairobi, Kenya (also present here on the forum: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/52-mob...ry-loo-user-and-kiva).

Whilst they are not yet a grantee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, they are an important partner for the BMGF because quite a few of the other grantees are using Sanergy as a full-size testing ground (or "real life lab") for their R&D work. One example is The Climate Foundation with their pyrolysis reactor, see here:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/98-res...-usa-and-kenya#8628.

For that reason, Sanergy was also invited to exhibit at the Reinvent the Toilet Fair in Delhi, India, in March 2014.

Here you can find some photos that I took from their exhibit:
www.flickr.com/photos/gtzecosan/sets/72157644699243384/

I had the pleasure of interviewing one of Sanergy's co-founders, David Auerbach. The focus of our conversation was their newly designed urine-diverting squatting plate - which simply looks awesome, see for yourself here in the photos and two videos:

Fresh Life urine-diverting squat plate by Sustainable sanitation, on Flickr

Urine-diverting and splash-reducing squat plate by Sustainable sanitation, on Flickr

See the interview with David Auerbach here (focussing on the new squat plate that they exhibited):



The second part of the interview, which describes the Sanergy approach and business model, as well as their collaborations with other grantees is available here:



The improved squatting plate has the following benefits:
  • Less splashing due to a "fin" which is also used in urinals, and due to a deeper urinal section.
  • Urine hole and faeces hole are closer together on a horizontal level, so that less horizontal shifting of the user is needed when they are doing both, one after the other (i.e. urination and defecation).

One disadvantage is that due to the production process (heat moulding if I remember correctly), the squatting plate now has to consist of two parts (because the urine section is so deep), which means they are joined, and that joint could be a weak spot in terms of urine stone deposits and clearning issues (my personal guess).

You can barely see that joint on this photo, almost at the very base of the deep urinal section:

Fresh Life urine-diverting squat plate by Sustainable sanitation, on Flickr

Questions and comments are welcome, I am sure that David or one of his team members will be happy to answer them here on the forum.

Kind regards,
Elisabeth

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

Some further information about Sanergy's current work:

Some more information from a recent blog post of Sanergy:

A Fresh New Look for the Fresh Life Toilet
saner.gy/archives/4592

An excerpt of their recent blog post:

Through a partnership with MCAD Technologies and Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corporation, a computer-aided design software company, Mike was able to bring the new Fresh Life Toilet to life through 3D modeling, structural simulation of parts, as well as renderings and manufacturing drawings to communicate designs with vendors and field experts.

During initial user testing it was very clear that women were subjected to splash-back when they used the toilet. The new urine-diverting squat plate has a unique form with a deep urine bowl and a splash-eliminating ‘fin’. The squat plate is made from a hard and glossy plastic that is easy to clean and lasts longer than previous squat plate designs.


From the Technical Guides of the Fair
(www.susana.org/lang-en/library?view=ccbk...p;type=2&id=2001):

Here you see Sanergy's cooperations with other grantees:

sanergy.jpg


Key information:

sanergy2.jpg


Fresh Life Toilet

In African slums, Fresh Life makes hygienic sanitation
accessible and affordable for everyone, forever. We
franchise a dense sanitation network of clean toilets,
collect the waste, and convert it into valuable byproducts.
As of January 2014, 12,000 residents in
Nairobi’s slums are using Fresh Life Toilets every day
with a projected 200,000 in 5 years. Sanergy’s franchising
creates financial opportunity while solving a critical
social and environmental challenge.

Toilet Design

The Fresh Life Toilet is based on a continuous customer
feedback loop and related user research suggests that
a clean, comfortable and friendly sanitation experience
dramatically increases uptake. The Fresh Life Toilet
delivers an enjoyable experience by leveraging features
such as an easily cleaned tile floor and an ergonomic
splash reducing squat plate for women, men, and
children. A durable concrete modular construction,
coupled with powerful community-driven branding –
in partnership with Wash United - makes Fresh Life
preferred sanitation option for all slum residents.
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant
Frankfurt, Germany
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Twitter: @EvMuench
Website: www.ostella.de
Member of SuSanA (www.susana.org)
Last Edit: 16 May 2014 15:09 by muench.

Re: Fresh Life Toilet in Kenyan slums - improved urine-diverting squatting plate (Sanergy in Nairobi, Kenya) 19 May 2014 10:22 #8655

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Hi Elisabeth et al,

Thanks for the thoughtful piece on our new Fresh Life Toilet design. We appreciate the spotlight as well as the analysis of our work.

One point that we would like to clarify in response to the comment, "One disadvantage is that due to the production process (heat moulding if I remember correctly), the squatting plate now has to consist of two parts (because the urine section is so deep), which means they are joined, and that joint could be a weak spot in terms of urine stone deposits and clearning issues (my personal guess)."

While there are two parts to the squatting plate, the joint which connects the two parts is a shingle joint, which easily allows for liquid to flow over both parts.

However, as we have only in the last 6 weeks put the new design into circulation, it is still too early to tell about the exact wear and tear that the design will take.

Regards,
David Auerbach
Sanergy is a social enterprise that is building healthy and prosperous communities through provision of hygienic, affordable and accessible sanitation in urban slums for everyone, forever - starting with Nairobi, Kenya.

For more information on Sanergy visit:

Our website: saner.gy/
Like our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Sanergy
Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/Sanergy
Last Edit: 19 May 2014 13:21 by Sanergy.

Re: Fresh Life Toilet in Kenyan slums - improved urine-diverting squatting plate (Sanergy in Nairobi, Kenya) 20 May 2014 11:25 #8675

  • elizabethtilley
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Thanks so much for putting this together Elisabeth- I have been following Sanergy for a while, but it was nice to see all the photos and videos together in once place.

I've been doing some modelling for my own research about how a urine collection and transport system can be sustainable and regardless of the scenarios (that I run) I find very few ways in which the income exceeds the costs (especially considering increasing labour and fuel prices). (A brief summary is available on the VUNA website: www.vuna.ch)

I would be so grateful to find out more about the breakdown of your (Sanergy) costs (labour, transport, manufacturing) and how you cover those, in terms of franchise fees, nutrient sales, etc. If you're not operating at a cost-recovering point yet, but see that as the goal, how long do you think it will take to get there (measured in terms of toilets or nutrient volume, etc.)?

Many thanks!

Elizabeth
Elizabeth Tilley
PhD Candidate, Development Economics
Centre for Development and Cooperation (NADEL)
ETH Zurich
Switzerland
Last Edit: 11 Jul 2014 09:58 by muench. Reason: typo correction
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Re: Fresh Life Toilet in Kenyan slums - improved urine-diverting squatting plate (Sanergy in Nairobi, Kenya) 28 May 2014 09:59 #8755

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Hi Liz,

Thanks for your email. We're in good touch with your team at EAWAG and would very much like to continue the conversation offline with you.

Thanks!

David
Sanergy is a social enterprise that is building healthy and prosperous communities through provision of hygienic, affordable and accessible sanitation in urban slums for everyone, forever - starting with Nairobi, Kenya.

For more information on Sanergy visit:

Our website: saner.gy/
Like our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Sanergy
Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/Sanergy

Re: Fresh Life Toilet in Kenyan slums - improved urine-diverting squatting plate (Sanergy in Nairobi, Kenya) 04 Jun 2014 09:10 #8863

  • elizabethtilley
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Thanks David,

I can totally understand: I've written to you directly and look forward to learning about whatever results you are able to share at this time.

Best,

Elizabeth
Elizabeth Tilley
PhD Candidate, Development Economics
Centre for Development and Cooperation (NADEL)
ETH Zurich
Switzerland

Re: Fresh Life Toilet in Kenyan slums - improved urine-diverting squatting plate (Sanergy in Nairobi, Kenya) 11 Jul 2014 09:57 #9312

  • muench
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Dear Elizabeth,

You raised some very pertinent questions in you post on 20 May 2014. From the answer by David I draw my own conclusion that there is no full cost-recovery with the Sanergy model in Kenya yet. It is on the one hand a bit disappointing but on the other hand not surprising, i.e. why should they be the only one worldwide who have found a way to make sanitation provision for the urban poor be able to support itself, solely based on fees, and without any government subsidies (or, in their case, external donor support or some other form of long-term investment)? I think it is simply not possible and need not necessarily be our aim either, as we are talking here about a public good - sanitation, public health (just like education).

You wrote:
I've been doing some modelling for my own research about how a urine collection and transport system can be sustainable and regardless of the scenarios (that I run) I find very few ways in which the income exceeds the costs (especially considering increasing labour and fuel prices).


What are actually these "very few ways"? I asume things like the scenario that fertiliser (phosphorus) prices go up a lot compared to now? That's actually the only one I can think of right now.

(Related thread to this is the VUNA project thread:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/98-res...12&start=12#7350)

Oh and there was also a post by Kris on Smart Sanitation Subsidies which nobody has picked up on yet:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/142-up...ation-subsidies#9033

Kind regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant
Frankfurt, Germany
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Twitter: @EvMuench
Website: www.ostella.de
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Re: Fresh Life Toilet in Kenyan slums - improved urine-diverting squatting plate (Sanergy in Nairobi, Kenya) 14 Jul 2014 11:48 #9341

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Dear Elisabeth, dear all,

with regard to the increase in prices for "P", a look onto charts for the last decades and price development does not show an abnormal increase in these prices; rather, speculation spin-offs might play a bit, as with other raw materials.

www.indexmundi.com/de/rohstoffpreise/?wa...sphat&monate=240

unveils a bit of reality as opposed to hopes one might have for alternative sources for phosphate. The chart linked-in above displays prices for Moroccan raw material. A geologist's point of view: Morocco is leading exporter for phosphate, but not the only one. Significant resources can be found, e.g., in Spain and some other (north) African countries.

We should remain realistic with expectations, please. Collecting, transporting, processing and using urine in agriculture will, for the foreseeable future, remain dependent on low wages and low income in remote areas in -for the processing purpose- climatically appropriate regions.

Best regards,

Jürgen
Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable. (Samuel Langhorne Clemens)

Truth is what stands the test of experience. (A. Einstein)

Re: Fresh Life Toilet in Kenyan slums - improved urine-diverting squatting plate (Sanergy in Nairobi, Kenya) 14 Jul 2014 12:53 #9343

  • elizabethtilley
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Good question!

I should have been more clear in saying that I am NOT trying to offset the costs with any sort of recovered value, but am rather looking into ways in which the costs are feasible, fair, and acceptable to all members of the system.

It wasn't correct of me to say "very few ways" because actually, in my particular context, there are "no ways". More correct would have been to say that I have not found any ways to make the system cost neutral, and very few ways to optimize the payments between the customers and providers, such that we can maximize use and minimize operating costs.

I will definitely keep you posted once my results are ready to share!

Elizabeth
Elizabeth Tilley
PhD Candidate, Development Economics
Centre for Development and Cooperation (NADEL)
ETH Zurich
Switzerland
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