Cooking fuel from faeces


If the thought of this does not make you cringe, bother obsessively from here on out about the source of your cooking gas, or just make you consider switching back to the traditional cooking means of firewood, then I don't even know if I can look at you. Now let us get to praising this daring new innovation shall we?

A Kenyan company, The Nakuru Water and Sanitation Company (NAWASCO), is trying to provide healthier cooking fuel options. The company which is situated around Nakaru, a town in the rift vakkey region;   has found an ecological, sanitary alternative material to make cooking fuel. The waste is heated at very high temperatures to reduce the liquid content, and remove the dangerous elements, and then form uniform, compact balls. These balls or briquettes are odourless, fast and very sustainable. 

NAWASCO is turning an underrated resource into an energy giving fuel material that is scalable and could very well replace fossil fuels like charcoal and coal, while also reducing the amount of dumped sewage in local areas and generally, deforestation on the planet. It is a good alternative or substitute if you may, as they last longer than traditional charcoal. The briquettes are not only efficient, but their processing has improved sanitation in poor parts of town.

Every individual creates 300g of human waste each day, and 60% of Nairobi’s four million inhabitants live in its informal settlements – that’s 2.4 million people,What we have in Nairobi is 720,000 kg of shit. We want to turn it into biogas so that we can tackle the energy crisis.
— Josiah Omotto, Managing Trustee of Umande trust

 These workers in Nakuru, northwest of Nairobi, are emptying a truck load of human faeces onto drying beds. The waste is the main material used at this processing site to make these briquettes which locals use to cook and for heating. It's left out to dry, then treated in a kiln and carbonised with sawdust at 300 degrees Celsius -- a process those behind the project say removes harmful pathogens and, of course, the foul smell.

"You are able to eliminate all the volatile matters, all the harmful gases, and it is at this point that you ensure that your sludge doesn't smell - it is safe for handling when you are carrying out the other processes."

Molasses is added as a binder, before the mixture is transformed into balls ready for sale at around 50 US cents a kilo. As well as providing fuel, the project also aims to protect the environment and improve sanitation, especially in poor parts of the town. Only 1 in 4 Nakuru residents are connected to the town's sewerage system, and waste is often dumped in storm drains and rivers, or buried in low-income areas. The company plans to improve efficiency of its plant, as demand for the briquettes is growing. And they're also helping to dispose of the large quantities of human waste generated each day.

Well the very next time you flush the toilet there goes gas for food, I am going to puke now.