Guchu- Turning dry poo into clean fuel will conserve environment, create jobs
By Faith Karanja | June 11th 2019
Did you know that your daily poo can be used as a household fuel that you can even use to roast your favorite meat?
Water and Sanitation Services Company (NAWASSCO) is manufacturing charcoal from human poo and sawdust.
The company that now operates in Nakuru, Naivasha and Nairobi is tipped to be a game changer in conservation of environment.
The charcoal is made through a process called carbonisation which involves the collection of human waste which is then left to dry in a greenhouse for two weeks. It is then broken down and mixed with sawdust before being placed in a kiln. The process ensures that there is no smell left over from the human waste.
Water and Sanitation Chief Administrative Secretary Winnie Guchu said this is the best way to conserve the forest that are under threat and manage sanitation.
“This method will also see many youths get jobs at the ministry because they can assist in poo collection from latrines and also in selling the briquettes,” said Guchu.
She encourages innovators to come up with more technical methods of environmental conservation and sewage managements within the city.
According to her the challenge of sewage management is not only at the city slums, but also in porsche apartments hence the need for proper methods of sewage managements.
Locals have embraced its use and are using the Briquettes for cooking and other purposes. The project aims to help protect the environment and improve sanitation.
Lydia Macharia one of the consumers says her life has changed since she started using the charcoal briquetts from human waste compared to the time she was using the ordinary charcoal from the tree.
“I use only 15 balls poo charcoal to cook my meal for two hours, I have never seen that kind of energy where one can cook over five meals using two kilogrammes of charcoal,” said Lydia.
She said that she got to know of the briquettes after her friend, a Personal Assistant to Winnie Guchu brought her 2kg to try it at home.
Lydia used only three-quarters of the balls and the results were overwhelming, adding that the balls do not have any smell despite being made from human poo. She however said she was yet to use inside the kitchen.
“I am yet to use the briquettes inside the kitchen and find out whether indeed the balls will produce any smell as many people think because of what they come from,” said Lydia.
She said unlike the ordinary charcoal, the briquettes do not emit smoke at all.
According to her, she does not plan to use the tree charcoal again because the use of briquettes also conserve environment.
She has urged Kenyans embrace briquettes to help curb forests' destruction that has led to drought and erratic rain pattern.
Lydia has since purchased 25 kilogrammes of the briquettes from NAWASCO offices in Nakuru and 2 more kilogrammes from the Naivasha branch.
She encourages her friends and family members to use the balls for cooking, adding that they are cost less compared to the tree charcoals.
“Youths should make use of the opportunities created by the Ministry of Water and Sanitation to collect of human waste as a method of environmental conservation,” said Lydia.
She says youths can visit NAWASCO Ruiru offices and inquire about opportunities to collect poo or sell the processed balls.
Those people who have used briquettes have said it is cost effective compared to ordinary charcoal because 2kg of briquettes is Sh60 compared to charcoal that goes for over Sh120 per 2kg.
The human waste are collected from pit latrines and septic tanks around the region of Nakuru, North West of Nairobi.
The waste is then taken to a processing plant, where it is dried out for two to three weeks in drying beds in a greenhouse.
The hot temperatures in the greenhouses take out around 70 per cent of moisture from the sludge, which prepares it for carbonation.
The dried waste is then heated in a kiln at temperatures of about 700 to 800 Degrees Celsius to burns off harmful gases (and the smell).
It is ground up finely, before being mixed with sawdust that has also been carbonised.
Molasses is added at this stage to bind the materials, and it is formed into little balls.
The combined materials of milled sawdust and sludge are fed into a rotating drum machine, while molasses (a binding agent) are added gradually until the mixture forms a ball of about 2.5 cm in diameter.
Human excrement are being carbonised to produce balls used as charcoal for fire.
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