Faecal sludge to fuel – two research projects led by Eawag-Sandec (FaME and SEEK) - Senegal, Ghana, Uganda

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Re: SEEK - Sludge to Energy Enterprises in Kampala

The text below is copied from:  www.eawag.ch/en/department/sandec/projec...erprises-in-kampala/

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In Kampala, Sandec and its research partners research the viability of co‑processing of faecal sludge and other urban waste streams to produce fuel pellets and with these electricity through gasification. The SEEK project will establish a pilot-scale research facility and conduct market research to provide reliable data, working towards market implementation of technologies and endproducts.

Context: In urban Sub-Saharan Africa, the sanitation needs of the majority of the population are met by onsite sanitation technologies. In Kampala, Uganda, these technologies provide for the sanitation needs of 95% of the population, approximately 1.8 million people. However, only around 50% of the excreta produced in the city is safely managed, and inadequate or unaffordable faecal sludge collection, transport and treatment are the reality for a large fraction of the population, jeopardizing environmental and public health.

Goal: The goal of the SEEK project was to work towards making resource-recovery based solutions to waste management a reality, thereby providing new business opportunities, and increasing access to renewable energy while improving public and environmental health in urban areas through the provision of sustainable sanitation service chains.

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  • Moritz
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Re: Faecal Management Enterprises (FaME) project - using dried faecal sludge as a solid biofuel in kilns - and SEEK project

Hi SuSanA,

Sorry for the slow reply.

Here an update from the SEEK project (www.sandec.ch). The SEEK project researches processing of faecal sludge into fuel pellets and electricity through gasification (in Kampala, Uganda). Data collection of this project is still ongoing, this is what we learned so far:
  • The Bioburn pelletizer is an appropriate technology for pelletizing of faecal sludge. It works well and is ready for full-scale implementation. Dewatered faecal sludge (for example from a drying bed ) can be pelletizer at a moisture content of 40-60%. Please contact me if you are interested in the technology. Our partner Bioburn is currently working on product brochure.
  • Faecal sludge can also be co-pelletized with other biomass to increase endproduct quantities and reduce the ash content of the fuel, for example, with coffee husks or sawdust. However, this may require a binder (depending on the ratio of dewatered faecal sludge and biowaste, and the type of biowaste).
  • The big advantage of faecal sludge in a pellet form is that it can be dried much faster compared to faecal sludge on a drying bed. Therefore, it is of benefit for energy recovery of dried faecal sludge, for example, in cement or clay industries. Pellets are also favorable for storage and transport.
  • This said, our market research did not identify (yet) a company with a demand for a fuel in a pellet form. Schools could use pellets to meet their energy need (e.g. for cooking), however, the commonly do not have appropriate control of emissions. Industries (e.g. clay and cement industries) require powdered/crushed fuels.
  • Gasification of the faecal sludge pellets with the All Power Labs gasifier (www.allpowerlabs.com) and Husk Power Systems gasifier (www.huskpowersystems.com ) available to the project was not successful. We think that this is due to the high ash content. Also faecal sludge pellets mixed with sawdust or coffee husks could not be gasified.
  • According to correspondence with All Power Labs, their new model will be able to use dried faecal sludge as a fuel. Apparently CARLA international is also working on gasification of faecal sludge but we could not establish a contact to exchange knowledge (yet).
  • In Europe and the US, large scale (> 1 MW) are available for waste gasification (for example of dewatered wastewater sludge). Companies include: Xylowatt (www.xylowatt.com/) or ProCone (www.procone.org) . Xylowatt analysis our faecal sludge pellets in their laboratory and their results suggest that gasification of faecal sludge with their technology is possible. However, the manufactures and the project agreed that the capital , operation and maintenance requirements are too high for sustainable operation in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Following the not so good results from gasification we are currently gearing our research more towards pyrolysis of faecal sludge. There were several articles and video on the magic of carbonization and how it will make us rich, have sustainable FSM and save our forest (see below). We would like to add a bit of evidence to this.
edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2016/02/24/...p-sanitation-spc.cnn

www.monitor.co.ug/artsculture/Reviews/Lu...fp3apuz/-/index.html

  • In the remaining project period we will also work on geotubes and geobags for faecal sludge dewatering. Geotubes have been tested for faecal sludge (for example in Malaysia) to reduce transport distances for vacuum trucks. However, recommendation of treatment operators are not really available. We would like to support this to work towards implementation of this technology.
We would be very happy to get feedback from you on our work.

For example: Do you think industries in your city/country require an industrial fuel in a pellet form?

Thanks.

Moritz
Moritz Gold
PhD student ETH Zurich & Eawag/Sandec
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Re: Faecal Management Enterprises (FaME) project - using dried faecal sludge as a solid biofuel in kilns - and SEEK project

Hi Moritz,

I am just wondering how the SEEK project is progressing. Your last post about it was from a year ago (unless you started a new thread for it? But I can't fine one)

I am asking because I just mentioned your project in a post I made here:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/53-fae...sludge-burning#16684

I thought of it in the context of that thread which is entitled: "Regulation about handling of the ash that is the residue of sludge burning". Perhaps you could also contribute in that thread, too, if this is something you have looked at in the past.

Thanks,
Elisabeth
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  • LindaStrande
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Re: New video!! Innovation in Urban Sanitation: FaME and U-ACT research in Sub-Saharan Africa

Dear All, there has been a mistake! Somehow the link is broken now. Please visit the Sandec YouTube channel to view this and/or any other of our Videos:
www.youtube.com/channel/UCdDwnhvbqp2qMN1D4XyS8nA

Here are the links to the Video you are looking for. It is now in English/French/3 Minute/10 Minute Versions. Please enjoy!!

- Long version
- short version

Best regards from Hanoi, Linda
Linda Strande, PhD
Group Leader MEWS - Management of Excreta, Wastewater, and Sludge
Eawag - Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science & Technology
Sandec - Department of Water & Sanitation in Developing Countries
www.sandec.ch/fsm_tools
www.eawag.ch
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Re: New video!! Innovation in Urban Sanitation: FaME and U-ACT research in Sub-Saharan Africa

Daar all,

The FaME and U-ACT video is now available with French subtitles in order to ensure its uptake in West Africa and other French speaking regions!!!!



Best regards,
Moritz
Moritz Gold
PhD student ETH Zurich & Eawag/Sandec
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Re: New video!! Innovation in Urban Sanitation: FaME and U-ACT research in Sub-Saharan Africa

Dear Ben, Dear Christoph,

Thanks for your postive feedback and your comments on the video.

Ben, FaME was a research project ( SuSanA posts ). We found that depending on the local market environment, energy recovery options such as faecal sludge to solid fuel can generate significantly more revenue compared to conventional enduse as soil conditoner in agriculture. This revenue can be used, e.g., to lower dumping costs at the treatment plant or sustain treatment operation. Faecal sludge to fuel has not been implemented at a larger scale yet. The research project SEEK ( Sludge to Energy Enterprises in Kampala ) was started by Sandec and its research partners in September to build on this research and collect reliable data for implementation of this approach. SEEK is investigating co-processing of FS with other urban waste streams into fuel pellets and with them electricity through gasification.

We agree with Christoph. Technology innovations such as coagulation, modifications to drying beds or transfer of technologies from wastewater treatment or food processing are the key to make this one viable solution. Research in this direction is ongoing with the University of Kampala and University of Dakar.

All the best,

Moritz
Moritz Gold
PhD student ETH Zurich & Eawag/Sandec

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  • christoph
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Re: New video!! Innovation in Urban Sanitation: FaME and U-ACT research in Sub-Saharan Africa

Dear Linda, very nice video, covering the whole chain. hope you get clics in the range of millions.

especially the way towards use for burning seems an interesting approach, I think this depends VERY much on how we can bring costs down for drying. If that is possible it might be THE solution.

Thank you.
Christoph
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Re: New video!! Innovation in Urban Sanitation: FaME and U-ACT research in Sub-Saharan Africa

Dear Linda,

Thanks fo sharing, and congratulation to the Eawag team you're always very good at sharing knowledge and research through nice videos and publications.

I'd be curious to know how much you increased the rate of trucks de-sludging in facilities making them free access. In Phnom penh where law inforcment was totally ineffective cause only the cost of fuel (+ time consumed) going to the plant would make them de-sludge everywhere. Looking forward to read the full report.

Good luck for all,

Ben
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  • LindaStrande
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Re: New video!! Innovation in Urban Sanitation: FaME and U-ACT research in Sub-Saharan Africa

Dear All,

In celebration of World Toilet Day we are launching our new video, Innovation in Urban Sanitation: FaME and U-ACT research in Sub-Saharan Africa.



Enjoy!
Linda Strande, PhD
Group Leader MEWS - Management of Excreta, Wastewater, and Sludge
Eawag - Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science & Technology
Sandec - Department of Water & Sanitation in Developing Countries
www.sandec.ch/fsm_tools
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  • jonpar
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Re: Faecal Management Enterprises (FaME) project - using dried faecal sludge as a solid biofuel in industrial kilns - Senegal, Uganda and Ghana

Dear Moritz,

Many thanks for your reply.

I understand well from first hand experience the difficulties of getting good data - particularly problematic for financial modelling of technologies that are not widely used. If they are only in the stage of development, then hard to say if the cost if really a good reflection of what the cost would be if the technology was to be used at scale and available on the market. The technology may be available in a different country but that does not mean to say that the cost will be the same elsewhere.

I also see your point about the volumes of sludge which affects the sizing of facilities (design) as well as the costs. I guess that is just something that can only be improved as we collect more empirical data.

With respect to the economic value of different products associated with treated sludge or energy (from biogas), there seems little point asking households their willingness to pay for reuse. Is the best approach to compare with existing costs of sources of fertilizer and energy. Thus, if farmers are already pay for fertilizer, we make an estimation of the economic value by saying that 1 kg of nutrients contained in treated sludge has the same benefit as 1 kg of nutrients in synthetic fertilizer. This is essential the approach adopted in the WSP study on "Study for Financial and Economic
Analysis of Ecological Sanitation in Sub-Saharan Africa" www.wsp.org/UserFiles/file/Ecosan_Report.pdf

An a similar approach could be adopted to estimate the value of biogas by using the calorific value of X m3 of biogas and comparing to the price of electricity with the same amount of energy.

I am keen to learn from the structure of the financial model to assess it's application in Freetown. So thanks for the factsheet which I will have a good look at.

With respect to your questions, I am not aware of a cement/brick factory near to Freetown but I can try and find out.

The drying beds in Freetown at King Tom waste disposal site have been totally submerged for years. GOAL have been piloting a composting facility which has a small sludge drying bed as pre-treatment. My impression is that most of the sludge arriving in trucks to these municipal waste facilities is septage and that this has a high water content. Even if the sludge was more solid when it was in the pit/tank, there is a need to add alot of water to liquify the sludge before it is pumpable. It has also been mentioned to me that if the sludge has been in the pit for a long time, then it will have undergone digestion and therefore will have lost some it's calorific value.

best regards,

Jonathan
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IMC Worldwide Ltd, Redhill, United Kingdom
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Re: Faecal Management Enterprises (FaME) project - using dried faecal sludge as a solid biofuel in industrial kilns - Senegal, Uganda and Ghana

Dear Dorothee,

My apologies for the slow reply. We could not identify and legal obstacles at that point. But yes, if governments would for example allow tax benefits for industries buying waste streams, this could be an incentive for its uptake. What were you thinking about?

My personal reply is that this was simply not part of the FaME project yet. FaME identified marketable faecal sludge treatment endproducts, assessed market demands, quantified the energy potential, demonstrated the technical viability in pilot kilns and showed that revenues from faecal sludge as a solid fuel can be higher than using it as a soil conditioner in agriculture (in three urban areas of Sub-Saharan Africa). All this was not known before.

But you made a very good point and Sandec and its partners (especially Waste Enterprisers) will further word towards upscaling. We were recently in contact with partners from Bangladesh to transfer the knowledge to Asia where market demand can be significantly higher (India!).

Eawag is currently designing a new research project. Our local partners have close ties to Ministries and we will certainly incorporate your proposal.


Dear Jonathan,

Our partners are currently finalizing work around the financial flow model. Data availability was a major problem when assessing the financial viability. As you know faecal sludge characteristics vary a lot within one city. To determine the total amount of dried faecal sludge which could be produced for energy recovery, the total solids concentrations and the quantity of faecal sludge delivered to a treatment system need be known. Information sources varying by a factor of 10 change your entire financial model. Moreover, there is a lack of faecal sludge treatment plants and lack of operational data. Therefore, we could not draw a final conclusion on the financial viability of using dried faecal sludge in industries. However, we showed that the revenues which can be created from this enduse in contrast to selling it as a soil conditioner, can be much larger.

I will send you one factsheet on the financial modelling in Accra and will share more information with you (and the SuSanA community) in the coming weeks.

It would be great to transfer the knowledge of the FaME project to Freetown:
  • In the job description, a dumpsite is mentioned. Does this include any treatment? Do trying beds exist?
  • Currently, the amount of faecal sludge delivered to this dumpsite is very low. This could be a problem when partnering with an industry who require quite high
  • What is the distribution of onsite sanitation technologies (septic tanks vs. pit latrines) of the sludge delivered to the dump side? Is it already pretty thick stuff requiring less drying? In case its mostly from public toilets, dewatering could be a problem. [/li]
  • Is a cement company based closed to Freetown? Brick production?
Best regards,
Moritz
Moritz Gold
PhD student ETH Zurich & Eawag/Sandec

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  • jonpar
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Re: Faecal Management Enterprises (FaME) project - using dried faecal sludge as a solid biofuel in industrial kilns - Senegal, Uganda and Ghana

Dear Moritz, what stage are you at with the FSM financial model and I am wondering if it might be possible to assess its application within the project that I am supporting in Freetown .. this one forum.susana.org/forum/categories/20-job...reetown-sierra-leone best regards, Jonathan
Dr. Jonathan Parkinson
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