Waste-to-Energy Firm Seeks to Clean-up Africa
More than 2.6 billion people do not have access to improved sanitation. This staggering number still vastly underestimates the true unserved population, as many are provided with very poor services. Furthermore, the number does not include households that are connected to a sewer system, but whose wastewater is discharged directly to the environment without any treatment. The best available statistics suggest that less than 15% of wastewater that is collected receives any treatment before being discharged.
The consequences of inadequate sanitation would be hard to overstate. It results in over 2 million deaths per year – mostly children under five – and irreversible destruction of ecosystems. A recent report by the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program estimated that poor sanitation costs Ghana USD 290 million each year, or 1.6% of its national GDP (WSP 2012). The same report estimates that poor sanitation costs 18 African countries a sum of USD 5.5 billion each year.
Waste Enterprisers Ltd (WE) is developing GreenHeat, a solid fuel derived from fecal sludge. GreenHeat is cost competitive and more energy dense than wood pellets, which are currently most ubiquitous biomass fuel used and traded on the global market. Harnessing human waste as solid fuel will help to strengthen global supply of biomass fuel, while simultaneously helping to solve the sanitation crisis that persists in the developing world. An industrial plant to produce GreenHeat is in the earliest stages of development, WE and
GreenHeat Collarborative Innovation Workshop
In the fall of 2012,
The CIW produced an expert-vetted consensus for the design of a novel large-scale plant appropriate for Africa. The expert participants reinforced the idea that a low-tech passive solar drying technology is critical to success. Also, a biomass gasification plant from Community Power Corporation was identified as a potential solution to provide multiple energy services to the facility, providing flexibility in energy feedstocks from WE's own GreenHeat product to local agricultural waste, whichever proves most economic.
The WE team and