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Briquettes-making project out of human waste shortlisted for global funding award

By Caroline Chebet | Published Fri, July 27th 2018 at 12:41, Updated July 27th 2018 at 12:44 GMT +3
Briquettes production process at the sewerage treatment plant in Nakuru County. [Caroline Chebet/Standard]

A project that converts human waste into fuel has been shortlisted in an international innovation competition.

The project, by the Nakuru Water Sewerage and Sanitation Company (Nawassco), involves making briquettes from human waste. A briquette is a compressed block of coal dust or other combustible biomass material used for fuel.

The project has been shortlisted for the 2018 Postcode Lottery Green Challenge, an annual competition organised by the Dutch Postcode Lottery to fund entrepreneurs with sustainable business ideas.

Briquettes are fast replacing charcoal as a more effective, clean energy source.

According to Nawassco’s Communication Officer Grace Abubu, the project run by the water firm’s subsidiary company, Nawascoal, is among 25 entries shortlisted from 845 applications.

Once human waste is collected from households, by sewerage exhauster trucks, it is ferried to a site where it is dried, mixed with sawdust and converted into carbon.

The project is expected to solve water pollution in Lake Nakuru, part of it blamed on poor sewerage disposal. The process will also solve sanitation challenges.

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“Through innovative ways, the waste is turned into briquettes,” said Nawassco’s Managing Director John Ng’ang’a. Applications for this year’s competition were drawn from 100 countries.

The shortlisted projects are drawn from Europe, Asia, Africa and North and South America and covered areas such as recycling waste, controlling plastics from getting into oceans, efficient storage of renewable energy and combating water scarcity.

Five finalists will be announced in mid-August, and will then pitch their business plans to a panel of judges in Amsterdam, Netherlands on September 13, where the winner will be announced.

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