SURPRISINGLY ODORLESS

Poop is becoming a new fuel source

Surprisingly, this idea doesn’t stink.

A Kenyan company is taking the excess fecal waste from residents in Nakuru and transforming it into a usable fuel source for cooking and heating.

Truck loads of feces are transported into the Nakuru Water and Sanitation Services Company’s processing plant, where they are emptied into vats and dried for two to three weeks. The dried chunks are heated in a kiln at high temperatures to burn off any harmful gases and increase the amount of carbon, making the feces more flammable. This step also makes the feces powder odorless.

After the material leaves the kiln, it is ground into a fine mixture and combined with molasses in a rotating drum to make briquettes, which look like round lumps of coal. These briquettes are sold for 50 US cents per kilo. Customers say that the fuel burns longer and with less smoke than charcoal and firewood.

Since only one out of every four people in Nakuru has access to the town’s sewage system, the briquettes could be an innovative solution to a big sanitation issue. Excess waste is dumped into rivers and poorer areas, creating health hazards. Although the current capacity for the waste-to-fuel processing plant is about two tons per month, the company aims to quintuple that amount by the end of 2017, reducing the amount of dumped sewage in the local area.

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