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

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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

Dear Susana Forum Readers,

herewith a short introduction to the RTTC 2 (Reinvent the Toilet Challenge Round 2) project at Delft University of Technology.

Title of grant: Upgrade human waste to fuel gas with plasma-driven gasification.

Subtitle: The development of a sanitation system consisting of a microwave plasma gasification mini plant and a human centered design for distributed sanitation facilities in urban informal settlements.

Name of lead organization: Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Marine Technology and Materials Sciences (3ME) and the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering (IDE)

Primary contact at lead organization: Paul Janssen

Grantee location: Delft, the Netherlands and field research and testing in Ahmedabad, India

In India our main partner is Ahmedabad University, Venture Studio www.venturestudio.in

Grant size:
Round 1 : $ 369,878, started in 2011 (Round 1 was explained on the forum here )
Round 2: $ 2,881,365, started in 2012 (Round 2 is a continuation of Round 1)

Start and end date: We formally started in December 2012


Short description of the project:

A collaboration of two Faculties (3ME and IDE) of Delft University of Technology proposes Microwave Plasma Gasification to generate electricity out of feces. This technology is a combination of the usage of plasma gasification and a solid oxide fuel cell and is an efficient method to get rid of large amounts of feces, meanwhile generating enough electricity to make the system self-supporting. A possible surplus of energy can be used to provide additional services to the community. Other resources that can be recovered out of the collected human waste are nutrients such as phosphate, which is a valuable fertilizer due to the increasing scarcity of its natural reserves. The separated cleansing and flush water can be purified and recycled on site so that it can be reused for hand washing or flushing. Ultimately, this system is a fully stand-alone entity that has no electric utility connection, no (heavy) reliance on piped-in water and no connection to any type of sewerage.

To bridge the gap between this high-end technology and the target group, the Industrial Design engineering team develops a holistic and human centered design sanitation solution for people in urban informal settlements including innovative business models, branding, gender issues and the accompanying product service system.

The proposed concept involves smaller community facilities, each serving 100-500 people per day (5-10 toilets per facility). These facilities are scattered around the slums and operated by local entrepreneurs. Human waste is collected from these facilities and transported to a central Plasma Gasification plant that is located on the outskirts of the slum. At this plant, the human waste of more than 2,000 people can be processed every day. With this concept we aim to demonstrate the potential of a distributed sanitation system that does not rely on a network of sewage pipes but on the empowerment of local collectors and distributors.

The project is split up in four sub-projects and responsible persons:
1. Design of sanitation facility and distribution of feces (Jan Carel Diehl, IDE)
2. Dewatering and drying (Wiebren de Jong, 3ME)
3. Plasma gasification (Georgios Stefanides, 3ME)
4. Gas cleaning and fuell-cell (P.V. Aravind, 3ME)

The coming weeks we will upload several updates and preliminary outcomes of these 4 sub-projects

Underneath figure illustrates the total process:



Our website: Human centered design sub-project


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Notes by moderator (EvM):
Documents about this project in SuSanA library: www.susana.org/lang-en/library/library?v...eitem&type=2&id=1787

A predecessor to this project in the RTTC Round 1 was previously explained on the forum here:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/98-res...erlands-rttc-round-1

Dr. Ir. J.C. Diehl
Design for Sustainability (DfS) - Industrial Design Engineering (IDE) - Delft University of Technology (DUT)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / +31 614015469
www.d4s-de.org / www.d4s-sbs.org (D4S Manuals)
www.jcdiehl.nl/bop (BoP Booklet)
www.io.tudelft.nl/reinventthetoilet (Reinvent the toilet)
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Re: Expert convening on research findings and design proposals for TU Delft toilet facility

On May 30, the “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge” team of Industrial Design Engineering held an expert convening during which the team’s research findings and design proposals were validated. A summary of the discussions, held with the more than 30 experts, can be found in this document.

The event was structured in three main themes: Waste & Water Management, User Experience and Engagement, and Branding & Business Modelling. Every theme started with a presentation by a member of the IDE team, followed by intensive discussions in break-out groups. These discussions gave our team a chance to have different elements of our proposal validated by experts with different backgrounds. Besides that, new valuable ideas and directions were brought to daylight.

Based on this expert convening, the following items were identified as critical design challenges. The team will translate these into tangible results, which will be integrated in a concept that will be shown at the RTTC demonstration fair.

User needs:
How to provide a toilet that is hygienic, private and safe to both genders?
How to stimulate responsible usage inside and around the toilet building?
How to support women during their menstruation?
How to provide a toilet that suits the needs and wants of children?

Product service system:
How to design a toilet pan that diverts anal cleansing and flushing water?
How to safely contain waste and avoid malodor?
How to purify and recycle water at the toilet facilities?
How to ensure public acceptance of reclaimed water?
How to make a modular and adaptable toilet system?
How to provide sufficient toilet availability during peak hours?

Implementation:
How to attract and retain users?
How to provide adequate operation and maintenance?
How to organize a safe, cost-efficient and dignifying distribution system within densely populated slums?
How to empower entrepreneurs to build toilet facilities?
How to brand and communicate the new sanitation system among all stakeholders?

If you are interested in the research findings, design proposals and the feedback of the experts, please see attached summary report and presentations.

Dr. Ir. J.C. Diehl
Design for Sustainability (DfS) - Industrial Design Engineering (IDE) - Delft University of Technology (DUT)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / +31 614015469
www.d4s-de.org / www.d4s-sbs.org (D4S Manuals)
www.jcdiehl.nl/bop (BoP Booklet)
www.io.tudelft.nl/reinventthetoilet (Reinvent the toilet)

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  • Patty
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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

Dear “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge” team,

Firstly I would like to thank you for sharing such an interesting project with all of us. From my point of view you have a great idea for distributing the information about this project within the population through media channels, I think this is important (as Miguel Mergalejo pointed out the 1st round of your project) for the project to success and even more in India, where more people have mobile phones than toilet facilities (as Anjal Prakash, Executive Director at SaciWATERs said in the World Water Week 2013).

I read both rounds (1 and 2) of your project and some question came to my mind when reading it:
• In your previous stage (round 1) you commented about working in a lower technological proposal (sand filter combined with UV). Did you continued with that idea and are the results as good as with the other technology?
• Females have more difficulties for using this kind of facilities and you clearly take the gender issue as important target within the project. What kinds of practices do you propose for promoting the use of these toilets to female users?
• During the round 1 you pointed out that multiple versions of toilets are required in order to supply children and adults needs. Did you find the way of connecting all these different versions to your systems? And is this viable and economically affordable?
• Which is the cost per family for each facility? Is it affordable for the households considering the context of informal settlement in India? How many households should be connected to one processing system to reach a reasonable cost for operation and maintenance?
• Did the acceptance of the population increase from round 1 to round 2?


Looking forward to hear from you!
Kind Regards,
Patricia.

Patricia Villarrubia Gomez
Intern
Stockholm Environment Institute
www.sei-international.org

Kräftriket 2B
10 691 Srockholm, Sweden
Skype: patty_villarrubia
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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

Hello Patty,

Thanks for your comments, Iet me try to answer some of your questions.

• In your previous stage (round 1) you commented about working in a lower technological proposal (sand filter combined with UV). Did you continued with that idea and are the results as good as with the other technology?


Yes, we are developing an on-site grey water treatment which includes sand filtering and UV treatment. The water gets collected in the facility thanks to a toilet pan (under development) that diverts water (flushing and perineal cleansing) and human waste. It is not a diverting toilet in the sense that it only has one hole. The diversion occurs thanks to a mechanism that is activated with the flushing process. We are still working on it, hope we can share it soon.
More details about the grey water cleaning will also come soon.

• Females have more difficulties for using this kind of facilities and you clearly take the gender issue as important target within the project. What kinds of practices do you propose for promoting the use of these toilets to female users?


We are trying to design a more welcoming a friendly facility for women. Their compartment is bigger than the mens one. It includes a special booth were they can deal with their sanitary pads as well as areas to sit and chat a bit. We are also placing one more toilet seat in their ally, amongst many other considerations. My colleagues will give you more details about it soon.

• During the round 1 you pointed out that multiple versions of toilets are required in order to supply children and adults needs. Did you find the way of connecting all these different versions to your systems? And is this viable and economically affordable?


We changed our approach in the second phase, we are no longer developing a UDDT toilet (as pointed out before) which lowers a bit the barrier of usage between adults and children. Specific considerations will come soon.
I personally do not think it is economically viable to have one toilet booth specifically for children, a device that could help children use the adults toilet would be preferred. But we will see ; )

• Which is the cost per family for each facility? Is it affordable for the households considering the context of informal settlement in India? How many households should be connected to one processing system to reach a reasonable cost for operation and maintenance?


We are currently developing the cost calculation, we are definitely going to reach the goal from the Gates foundation (0.05USD per user/day). We think this would still be a bit to costly for families in urban slums, so we are trying to develop a business model that could allow us to go below that mark.
The system would not be connected to households, the idea is that it will serve several community-shared facilities in slums around the city. A waste collection/transportation system is being developed to achieve this goal. The more facilities connected to a single plant the better (more economically viable).

• Did the acceptance of the population increase from round 1 to round 2?

Acceptance is build through education and implementation. We have been making progress in the sense that we have a better understanding of what people want and do not want. In that sense I would say that the users are more likely to accept the solutions that we are developing in phase 2. Only time and effort will prove our solutions.

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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

Dear Miguel,

Firstly sorry for the delay.
Thank you very much for your answers they are very clarifying. I really would like to know more about the updates and news, so please keep posting :) Regarding to the price for facilities I think it is a really good sing that you are convinced that you are going to reach the goals from the Gatses Foundation (and trying to reduce it a little bit more), congratulations.

Best wishes,
Patty.

Patricia Villarrubia Gomez
Intern
Stockholm Environment Institute
www.sei-international.org

Kräftriket 2B
10 691 Srockholm, Sweden
Skype: patty_villarrubia
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Re: TUDelft design team summary update

Hello!

You can find attached a series of posters which summarize the progress that the TUDelft design team has been making in different areas of our project - toilet pan, facility design, grey water treatment, branding and business model.

Hope you find them useful, we look forward to your feedback... More material will follow.

Regards from the TUDelft design team,

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Re: TUDelft design team summary update

Dear All,

In addition to the posters Miguel posted last week, we would like to direct you to our RTTC FLICKR site for a visual impression of our progress:
www.flickr.com/photos/rttctudelft/

On our YouTube channel you can watch some short videos on the working of the prototype and the field research: www.youtube.com/user/rttctudelft

This movie shares our experiences with the testing of our prototype in the slums of Ahmedabad, India:


In addition a large set of photos of different stages of our research can be found at
www.flickr.com/photos/rttctudelft/sets/72157636348254164/

Best regards from the RTTC-Delft team.

Anne Jansen

Ir. Anne Jansen
User Centered Designer
Reinvent The Toilet Challenge
Delft University of Technology - BMGF
www.io.tudelft.nl/reinventthetoilet
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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

Please find below the latest info you can get on our work for the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge:

www.tudelft.nl/reinventthetoilet

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