SuSanA - Forum Kunena Site Syndication Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:43:26 +0000 Kunena 1.6 SuSanA - Forum en-gb Re: Upgrade human waste to fuel gas with plasma-driven gasification & human centered design of toilet facility (TU Delft, The Netherlands and India), RTTC Round 2 - by: jansengerwin

Resource recovery from excreta or faecal sludge Thu, 24 Jul 2014 08:47:36 +0000
Re: Faecal sludge to biodiesel (Columbia University, USA and Kumasi, Ghana) - by: pkjha Production of bio diesel from septage is quite interesting. I have some queries:
Production of 1000 kg of VFA from 10,000 kg of septage is too high. Septage contains good percentage of water part also. Further, production of 370 kg of methane from 10,000 kg of septage is again too high. Biogas generation from septage is very low as it is completely biodegraded / semi-degraded depending on the time interval of emptying of septic tank. This much quantity of methane can be produced from fresh human excreta. I would like to know more about process of extraction of VFA. It appears I am missing some information from your paper. You may like to explain.

Resource recovery from excreta or faecal sludge Sat, 19 Jul 2014 12:46:14 +0000
Re: Pivot Plant: Converting human waste to fuel to finance complete sanitation (Waste Enterprisers Holding and Pivot Ltd, Kenya) - by: Marijn Zandee
Some brief questions,

Can you tell us some more about the technology you are planning to use for this new project in Kenya? The project in Ghana you referred to was focused on producing bio diesel and this one seems focused on producing a solid fuel. Therefore , I am curious if the biodiesel route has been shelved and what technology for creating a solid fuel you have in mind.

Success with your project,

Resource recovery from excreta or faecal sludge Sat, 19 Jul 2014 05:02:13 +0000
Pivot Plant: Converting human waste to fuel to finance complete sanitation (Waste Enterprisers Holding and Pivot Ltd, Kenya) - by: timwikoff
Name of lead organization: Pivot Ltd

Title of project: Pivot Plant: Converting human waste to fuel to finance complete sanitation

Primary contact at lead organization:
Dr. Ashley Muspratt, Founder and CEO Waste Enterprisers Holding and Pivot Ltd

Grantee location: Mombasa, Kenya

Developing country where the research will be tested: Mombasa, Kenya

Start and end date: July 8, 2014 – May 31, 2015

Grant type: Other (belongs to Urban Sanitation Marketing portfolio of WSH team)
See here:

Grant size: US$ 251,600

Funding for this research currently ongoing: yes

Short description of the project:

Pivot is building our first fecal sludge to solid fuel facility (called Pivot Works) that will act as a commercial-scale demonstration factory. When successful, this sanitation process and business model will dramatically lower the barrier to delivering complete sanitation in low-income urban areas of developing countries by generating a viable revenue stream from the sale of fecal sludge-derived by-products.


  1. Build a facility in Mombasa, Kenya with an initial capacity of 5 tonnes Pivot Fuel per day
  2. Significantly de-risk the project and unleash commercial capital to take the plant to its full-scale of 40 tonnes Pivot Fuel per day
  3. Leverage this demonstration plant to generate a pipeline of expansion opportunities, furthering the vision of radically improving public and environmental health in cities across sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.


  1. Refine the technical process at scale
  2. Validate the financial assumptions and business model
  3. Demonstrate ability to deliver and close sales
  4. Secure a large-volume long-term purchase agreement from a customer operating in Mombasa
  5. Develop a pattern of reliable revenue generation
  6. Work with potential technology and community partners to test effective collection pilots for sourcing FS from the poorest communities

Research or implementation partners: Mombasa Water Supply and Sanitation Company

Current state of affairs:
Currently, we are under construction, specifically the initial stage of site preparation. We plan to continue construction into November and begin producing Pivot Fuel by the end of the year.

Biggest successes so far:
Local buy-in and operating approvals for the pilot facility

Main challenges / frustration:
Working with local officials to explain the benefits of improved FS management in their city

Negotiating purchase agreements with customers prior to having the approvals from local authorities.

We will test the assumption that building this demo plant will both increase the willingness of local authorities to approve similar projects in the future as well as give new customers the confidence they need to enter into long-term purchase agreements.

I am happy to answer any questions you may have.


P.S. The organisation that I work for was previously also involved in this grant which was also funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:
Faecal sludge to biodiesel

The reason for the move from Ghana to Kenya was based on market research for the solid fuel. We need cement companies to buy the product but currently there aren't any kilns operating in Ghana.]]>
Resource recovery from excreta or faecal sludge Fri, 18 Jul 2014 18:10:40 +0000
Low-cost Decentralized Sanitary System for Treatment, Water and Resources Recovery (National University of Singapore) - by: muench
I would like to introduce to you today a sanitation research project that was recently carried out by the National University of Singapore (NUS) with funding by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Title of grant: Low-cost Decentralized Sanitary System for Treatment, Water and Resources Recovery

Subtitle: Tackling the sanitation challenge with water and energy reuse from human wastes

Name of lead organization: National University of Singapore

Primary contact at lead organization:
How Yong Ng, Associate Professor
Director, Centre for Water Research
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
National University of Singapore

Grantee location: Singapore

Developing country where the research is being or will be tested: India or Cambodia

Short description of the project:

Process flow diagram:

This toilet block integrates energy and water reuse in a single sanitary system. It uses biochar or animal dung to: i) dry feces (covered with sawdust) and convert dried feces into biochar under oxygen-deficit environment for subsequent combustion (i.e., energy recovery from feces); and ii) extract water from urine by boiling under reduced pressure conditions to produce potable-grade water after ion exchange resins and activated carbon treatment. The base component is a urine diversion dehydration toilet.

The diverted urine is directed to an evaporator, while the feces are collected on a metallic netted conveyor system. Any liquid from the feces and cleansing water were allowed to drip through the metallic netted conveyor system and be collected underneath in a container that houses an MFC for organic matter removal and electricity production to power a small ventilation fan for odor management.

The fecal liquid and cleaning water is then subjected to FO (Forward Osmosis) process to produce: 1) a diluted fertilizer solution from a concentrated stock solution; and 2) a concentrated fecal liquid and cleansing water stream that will be pumped to the evaporator. Using a mechanically operated metallic netted conveyor system (to avoiding direct contact with the feces), the solid feces is transferred into a solar dryer and then subsequently, into a feces combustion chamber for conversion into biochar.

In the meanwhile, the urine-boiling chamber is maintained in a vacuum at a desired negative pressure to assist easy boiling of the urine and fecal liquid at a lower temperature. Therefore, combustion heat from the feces is used to boil the urine and fecal liquid, and water is vaporized under vacuum condition and then condensed by circulating ambient-temperature water in a condenser coil. The condensed water is finally collected and passed through a water purification tank containing mixed exchange resins and activated carbon to produce highly purified water.

The goal of this project is to research and develop a decentralized pneumatic flushing urine-diversion dehydration community toilet block for five to six households with separate collection and treatment of urine and feces to recover water and nutrients. The toilet system will recover energy from feces combustion and clean water from advance adsorption desalination.

  • Objective 1: Construction, optimization and mechanization of pneumatic urine-diversion dehydration toilet.
  • Objective 2: Development and optimization of options for urine concentration and water recovery and disinfection
  • Objective 3: Development of feces collection/drying/combustion chamber

Start and end date: 6 June 2011 to 30 June 2014
Grant type: RTTC (Reinvent the Toilet Challenge) Round 1

The funding consisted of two grants:
The first grant started in June 2011, size US$ 276,251

The second grant started in March 2013, size US$ 1,157,107

Funding for this research currently ongoing (yes/no): No
Research or implementation partners: World Toilet Organization (to help miniaturise and think of the post technology business side)
Links, further readings – results to date: see below

Here you can see two videos of their exhibit at the Reinvent the Toilet Fair in Delhi in March 2014 which I also attended:

Project leader How Yong Ng in an interview with me, explaining the basics about this project:

Video of How Yong Ng giving a tour of their exhibit:

Further information is available in the two documents attached below.
Also the Technical Guides document from the Reinvent the Toilet Fair has two pages about this project on page 61-62:;type=2&id=2001

Here is a schematic of the prototpye displayed at the fair.

I hope you found this information interesting. If you have any comments or questions about their work, please don’t hesitate to ask your questions here on the forum.

Resource recovery from excreta or faecal sludge Fri, 18 Jul 2014 08:25:38 +0000
Re: Data acquisition and field support for sanitation projects (UKZN, South Africa) - Web page development - by: ChrisBuckley The PRG web page is now available at

Over the next month additional data and videos will be added.

Resource recovery from excreta or faecal sludge Sun, 13 Jul 2014 10:58:56 +0000
Re: NEWgenerator for recovery of nutrients, energy and water from excreta (Uni of South Florida, USA) - anaerobic membrane bioreactor (field tests now in Kerala, India) - by: KeithBell
How does the spent waste compare to aerobic compost in terms of nutrient value and microbial balance? I believe Julius here on the forum has stated the spent waste from anaerobic systems is inferior. And then from a microbial standpoint, it's been associated with chronic botulism in the environment, selecting out resistant organisms such as clostridium spores, protozoal cysts, worm ova and antibiotic resistant gram-negative bacteria. We may be skewing microbial balance in the wrong direction, reducing diversity.

My fear about this type of technology is that it condones business as usual, the mixing of waste with water, which I believe must come to an end.

I'm in Palm Beach County, Florida and a fan of science coming out of USF.]]>
Resource recovery from excreta or faecal sludge Fri, 20 Jun 2014 18:04:04 +0000
Re: Materials and feedback from Reinvent the Toilet Fair (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded) in Delhi, India, 21-22 March 2014 - videos now available - by: iaieropoulos Resource recovery from excreta or faecal sludge Thu, 05 Jun 2014 08:12:30 +0000 Urine-tricity++ Phase II funding - by: iaieropoulos
Phase II of the project, will last for two years and will see us take the technology out of the lab and into the Developing World.

The essence of this project is to develop Microbial Fuel Cells into a mature sustainable energy technology with a direct application in everyday life that could change the way people perceive waste and energy. The expectation from this is that the MFC technology will be developed to a level of maturity and appropriate scale so that it becomes a serious contender for direct waste and wastewater utilization into useful levels of electrical energy.


From the BMGF grant database:

Amount: $780,787

Purpose: to develop Microbial Fuel Cells into a mature sustainable energy technology with a direct application in everyday life, at or near to the intended use that could change the way people think about energy and human waste.]]>
Resource recovery from excreta or faecal sludge Thu, 05 Jun 2014 07:46:16 +0000
The Climate Foundation Q&A (with the topics posed at the Susana webinar) - by: Lauratalsma
Biochar Q & A from SuSaNa Webinar - April 29th 2014

Scale of Population Served

What population is served with this processing technology? (what is the scale of the system)
Arno Rosemarin: What is the optimal population/user number size for this system?
Elisabeth von Muench: What does 100 kg of human excreta per hour translate to in terms of number of people served?
Laura Talsma: The system is designed to process up to 100 kg of feces per hour, which serves approximately 250-1000 people each hour (assuming 100g-400g per person/per day of solids).


Marc Deshusses: What's the power of the Stirling engine?
Brian von Herzen: Marc: the Stirling can generate at least several kW under typical conditions.

ARNO ROSEMARIN: Will we be able to heat cities with this type of reactor also burning solid waste organics?
Brian von Herzen: Arno: cogeneration is certainly possible, yes.

How does the energetic conversion of the pyrolysis look like? Can it work off the grid?
Elisabeth von Muench:[/b] I am still really puzzled that you can do this without external power input. Is it because you take an input that is already relatively dry? I.e. only up to 70% moisture content?
Gerhard Muggen: it would be estimation that there is too much moisture to get an energy positive output.
Laura Talsma: Gerhard - good question - we are using the moisture level found in human feces, validated by sanergy, which is in the 70%-75% range.
Laura Talsma: We'll test in bangalore as well with higher moisture levels
Gerhard Muggen: I would estimate that you could only have a positive energy output if you have max 60 % water
Laura Talsma: Gerhard - we're recapturing also the heat of condensation from the carbonizer, that combined with an energy-efficient biomass dryer helps with thermal energy balance
Brian von Herzen: Gerhard, we would be happy to share the energetics with you, at 20 MJ/kg there is energy available to dry the feces. <Brian sent energetics info to Gerhard - details are available on request at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Brian von Herzen: I can assure you the energy balance is significantly above 60% moisture level.

Biomass Input and Biochar Output

Mutala Mohammed: What is the ratio of the quantity of human excreta to biochar production?
Laura Talsma: Mutala - at most 25% of the dry mass going in comes out as biochar.

Elisabeth von Muench: The sawdust used by Sanergy to mix with human waste also helps in getting sufficient energy into the reactor - have you ever calculated what would happen if – for whatever reason – Sanergy stopped adding the saw dust at their end? Would you then need external charcoal to power your process?
Brian von Herzen: No, toilet paper contributes in the same manner as sawdust. And there are a number of biomass inputs that can replace the sawdust cover material as needed. We can use the internal biochar created by the reactor and do not require external charcoal.

Mutala Mohammed: Are all the pathogens removed in the process?
Laura Talsma: Mutala - the feces are heated to 300-700 degrees C, enough to kill all pathogens
Brian von Herzen: Mutala, since the process ensures that all material exceeds 300C, all pathogens are removed.


Elisabeth von Muench: Would Sanergy add the costs for this biochar reactor somehow onto their operational costs, or I guess the hope would be to recover the costs via selling of the biochar?
Laura Talsma: our current business model includes the sales of the biochar, with an addition of a sanitation contribution of some cents per person. The business case depends on the value of the biochar in the country you’re working in.

Elisabeth von Muench: How much biochar would there be for sale compared to the biochar you would need to energise your process? Can it be expressed as a ratio or percent?
Brian von Herzen: 25 Kg dry feces is about half carbon. Of the 12.5 Kg of carbon, less than half can provide biochar, so a maximum of 6-7 Kg.
Brian von Herzen: Elisabeth: the energy surplus is a strong function of the moisture level. Below 70% there should be a strong excess energy as the moisture level approaches 80%, the energetic surplus shrinks.

Community Impact and Acceptance

Jeremy Kohlitz: How much noise does it make?
Laura Talsma: Jeremy - we have blowers transferring air through the human waste, and after that through the biochar filters, which act as mufflers - there is a sound, but it's not too loud, can be used in middle of slum. The noise is determined mostly by the drying air, and thus would be comparable to a ventilation system for a building.

Mutala Mohammed: But I think the social behaviour of people in Africa is key in the success of this project.
Mutala Mohammed: People’s perception of the use of faecal sludge products is a major challenge in the promotion of such technologies in Africa
Laura Talsma: Yes, Mutala, definitely, it will depend on the acceptance of the end products. The benefit is that the biochar end product is odorless and similar to wood charcoal in appearance
Laura Talsma: we're testing these kind of acceptance challenges now with farmers in Kenya, together with Sanergy
Elisabeth von Muench: Mutula: the biochar looks so similar to "normal" char, do you really think people would have a problem with burning it?
Mutala Mohammed: We did a similar field trials and our major obstacle was the acceptance of the product by the local people.
Laura Talsma: that's very interesting - Mutala, where did you do the trials?
Mutala Mohammed: We did the trials in University of science and technology (KNUST) in Ghana
Brian von Herzen: one key that i have learned is that we have to validate the sanitation level and prove how sterile the biochar is and, for example, demonstrate to people that biochar from solids is safe
Brian von Herzen: We can start with non-food crops and trees, and once demonstrated it can expand to other food crops once confidence is built.]]>
Resource recovery from excreta or faecal sludge Thu, 15 May 2014 16:55:39 +0000
Re: Video from webinar 7 available Re: NEWgenerator (University of South Florida, USA) - by: Bincy Thank you for putting all the details together so meticulously .
Daniel, It is interesting to note that your webinar did evoke a number of interesting queries. We look forward to work with your team. As we did some initial site survey together, the community is enquiring on the next time we shall be coming back with eToilet and the treatment plant. As the monsoons are also nearing, they feel that the facility is pretty much urgent.

We sincerely believe that technologies be brought to the real field and test their efficacy among users. eToilet has gone through a number of product improvisation stages, purely based on user feedback .So thanks to the user community who helped us to shape a much robust eToilet when compared what we had three years. With partners like Daniel, we hope to bring in a new paradigm in human waste collection, processing and regeneration.]]>
Resource recovery from excreta or faecal sludge Tue, 13 May 2014 12:32:56 +0000
Re: VUNA - Valorisation of Urine Nutrients in Africa (EAWAG, Switzerland, and South Africa) - by: scottchen Thank your very much for your reply. The pilot project is acceptable. I will look at the TUN project as mentioned.
Resource recovery from excreta or faecal sludge Tue, 13 May 2014 04:37:55 +0000
Re: VUNA - Valorisation of Urine Nutrients in Africa (EAWAG, Switzerland, and South Africa) - by: kudert
Please find the answers to your questions below:

1. Costs of the reactor
We did a rough calculation based on the expenditures for the pilot plants in Dübendorf and Durban. Based on this calculation, a pilot plant costs about 200 EUR per person. Approximately half of this costs are for the distiller and the other half for the nitrification reactor, the process control and all other components. For example a pilot plant, which can serve 400 people would cost approximately 80,000.- EUR. However, this value should be taken with a grain of salt, because a pilot plant is substantially more expensive than an industrially produced standard reactor. We expect that the price will be significantly lower in the future.

2. Urine value chain
A final assessment of the urine value chain in the VUNA project cannot be given yet, because the research is not completed. However, you can find our current findings on our homepage:
In the STUN project ( we also investigated the direct use of urine as fertiliser. This can be a valuable option in rural areas, especially if drip fertigation systems are used.

Best regards, Kai]]>
Resource recovery from excreta or faecal sludge Mon, 12 May 2014 09:10:33 +0000
Re: VUNA - Valorisation of Urine Nutrients in Africa (EAWAG, Switzerland, and South Africa) - by: scottchen I would be very pleased if you could give us more information about about the urine vale chain since i am using the urine from 20,000 students to grow apples and cherries.

Please refer the details to )
best regards
Resource recovery from excreta or faecal sludge Sun, 11 May 2014 01:36:38 +0000
Re: Video from webinar 7 available Re: NEWgenerator (University of South Florida, USA) - by: SudhirPillay
Maybe something that could be useful? :

A Combination of an Anaerobic Baffled Reactor with Membrane Filtration for Decentralised Wastewater Treatment

S. Pillay, S. Pollet, K.M. Foxon and Buckley C.A
Pollution Research Group, School of Chemical Engineering, Howard College, University of KwaZulu-Natal, DURBAN, South Africa, 4041

The application was polishing from advanced septic tanks (baffled reactor). In the first picture, an external membrane (A4 plate-and-sheet MF module) was used externally to the last compartment of 8 chamber pilot ABR. The ABR treated screened domestic wastewater (middle-income households). The last bottle in second picture was the effluent quality. It was a while ago for my MSC so I don't have the COD quality etc.

The third picture was from lab-system (hollow-fibre UF and MF, external modules). The Pollution Research Group, UKZN also tested a locally made woven-fibre module and a MF A4 plate-and-sheet type. The woven-fibre was developed through another WRC project - the module could be dried unlike other modules and the dried fouling layer scraped off (see pdf attachment *). The wastewater was different in the lab system - we used VIP sludge with no pit additives hence the colour.

In both applications, we used a hydraulic head from 300 mm to 600 mm ie gravity driven (not more than a metre). Fluxes were low around 1-2 L/m^2.h. The VIP treatment system displayed different fouling layers on plate and frame and hollow-fibre modules.

It would interesting to see what type of fluxes you guys are getting, mode of operation (submerged or sidestream; energy or gravity-driven).

All the best

* Development of a Membrane Pack for Immersed Membrane Bioreactors
Report to the Water Research Commission by V L Pillay and E P Jacobs on behalf of
Durban Institute of Technology & Institute of Polymer Science, University of Stellenbosch]]>
Resource recovery from excreta or faecal sludge Thu, 08 May 2014 12:59:01 +0000