Sanergy. Building Sustainable Sanitation in Urban Slums.

June 18, 2011 in Appropriate Technology, Biotech/ Biofuels, Recycling

Sanergy was started by a group of MIT grads – a mix of MBAs, engineers, and designers – to develop an innovative model of sustainable sanitation for the slums of Nairobi, Kenya.

The primary objective of the project is to create clean and affordable sanitation.  Sanergy takes this objective further by developing a model that not only provides clean toilets, but then uses the human waste products to produce energy, all designed in a way to create a solution that is clean, sustainable, and economic every step of the way.

The model has three parts – First, creating a network of low-cost, robust sanitation centers, for people to access clean toilets and showers (either on a pay-as-you-go or subscription basis).  The idea is that these centers be funding by micro-finance banks and run by local entrepreneurs.

Second, collecting the waste, which is stored in air-tight containers, and then transported to a centralized processing center with an optimized distribution network.

Third, processing the waste with an anaerobic digester to generate biogas for producing electricity.  The remaining solid waste of the biogas generation will then be used as high-quality fertilizer.

Sanergy reminds me of Park Spark Project.  Using an anaerobic digester to turn poop into energy.  Obviously two very different applications.  But both demonstrating the exciting and creative potential of turning waste into energy.

In May, Sanergy won MIT’s $100K business plan competition and more recently won the Echoing Green Fellowship — now that the guys behind the idea have graduated, they will have the time (and money!) to go fully implement the project.  Congratulations and good luck!

Thanks Millie for the info!