Kenya's Nawasco turns human poo into renewable fuel

Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company (Nawasco) has embarked on a futuristic project to transform human poo into a cheap and sustainable energy. The company makes briquettes a compressed charcoal block like coal as fuel from human waste from areas not connected to a waste disposal system of 50 tons to 80 tons each day and transported using an exhauster truck. Kenya's Nawasco turns human poo into renewable fuel

"The production of human waste briquettes begins with the gathering of sawdust from sawmills and sludge from septic tanks and latrines from Nakuru City to the project site," said John Irungu of Nawasco.

Human poo mud is dried in a greenhouse and the main ingredient is processed in extraordinary heat to reduce the water content from 95 percent to below 20 percent. The next stage is called carbonization which involves hot mud on a kiln drum at a temperature of 700 degrees Celsius.

"Carbonization kills all pathogens, toxins and removes odors from mud," Irungu said.

Elsewhere the sawdust is carbonized at a temperature of 300 degrees Celsius and ground into fine powder using a hammer. Batch mixers are used as crusher and mixed in equal proportions.

The next step in making briquettes involves adding sugar drops to a lignin-containing mixture to glue the material in a rotating drum to convert the mixture into a round-shaped briquette and dried in the sun.

"The main beneficiaries of this briquettes are households, schools and chicken farmers. They are the largest energy consumers," said Reinilde Eppinga, water sanitization and hygiene (WASH) advisor, one of the partners in the project.

Nawasco currently produces two tons of briquettes each month. This project helps reduce pollution related to dirty fuels such as fossil fuels and conventional charcoal. Initiatives are also to reduce deforestation and disease cases due to poor sanitation.

Tinuku Kenya's Nawasco turns human poo into renewable fuel

Briquettes have been certified by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) and the National Environment Management Authority (Nema). WASH said commercial briquette production began in January after several years of research and development.

The project will acquire new drying equipment to improve operations and produce up to 10 tons per month by the end of this year. Once the project is completed they will focus on large-scale production and gain support by Nakuru County creating jobs for young people

"Briquettes are better than ordinary firewood and charcoal, they burn longer and have less smoke," said Lawrence Kimaru, a WASH adviser.