Electricity a Byproduct of Indian Sanitary Revolution


We've pointed to a number of innovations that use farm animal wastes as the feedstock for energy production. In India, where a "quiet sanitary revolution" is providing toilets for people who don't have access to them (nearly 2/3 of the country's population), human wastes are being used to create electricity. Sulabh International Social Service Organisation, a group involved in the distribution of both standard toilets and "pay and use" community facilities, has added an innovative feature to its cheap, water-efficient comfort stations (shown above): an energy plant --

Sulabh's systems often come with an innovative modification: the attachment of a biogas plant. Through these plants, human waste produces biogas that, when mixed with diesel fuel, can power electrical devices such as streetlights. A similar technique of wet-sanitation is being replicated elsewhere in India by groups like BORDA.
While we don't know what percentage of electricity generated by other means could be replaced by "humanure," the concept itself is brilliant. A bit of digging into Sulabh's website shows not only that the organization has engaged in wide range sanitation efforts, but also that it recognizes and addresses the relationship of sanitation facilities to public health and economic development, as well as to environmental concerns. ::The Christian Science Monitor

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