The problem of dealing with human waste in a world with seven billion people is enormous and controversial; that's why the Gates Foundation is investing $42 million in developing high tech solutions. But as I noted in my post Putting a Price of Poop and Pee, there is money in s**t, it is valuable for its phosphorus and fertilizer.
David Auerbach and his company, Sanergy, is trying to prove it in Kenya, with a business model that creates jobs and turns poop into power and useful stuff.
Sanergy sells toilets to local entrepreneurs, who offer the use of the toilet for 5 cents a pop, to a user base of about 77 people. The eco-san toilets have airtight containers that are collected daily and taken to a central processing facility.
The waste will be converted to biogas in an anaerobic digester, which will power a CHP (combined heat and power) engine, generating electricity that will be sold to the national power grid. The remaining waste will be processed and sold as fertilizer. Sanergy's website says it will be sold to commercial farms and small hold farmers; Business Week suggests that it will be sold to Kenya's huge flower industry, which we have noted is not so wonderful.
It is a virtuous circle: people get a place to poop, jobs are created all along the way, the stuff is converted to a useful product, energy is generated. All without reinventing the toilet; instead, by putting a price on poop, David Auerbach and Sanergy haver turned it into a business.
More Hot Poop on Toilets:
History and Design of the Bathroom Part 7: Putting A Price on Poop and Pee
Gates Foundation Throwing $42 Million Into The Toilet
Could Composting Toilets Save Cities Millions in Waste Water Treatment?