Self-sustaining waste-to-energy

 Photo: Sanivation
Photo: Sanivation

People in humanitarian settings experience great challenges with sanitation and access to fuel and energy. To address these challenges, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and their partner Sanivation will scale up a self-sustaining waste-to-energy sanitation system in Kakuma Refugee Camp.

What is the humanitarian challenge?
There is a lack of sustainable, safe and scalable sanitation and cooking fuel services in humanitarian settings, leading to disease outbreak, insecurity and environmental degradation.

What is innovative about this project?
New technologies have been developed to address sanitation and fuel challenges, but few have been demonstrated at scale with replicable business models.

Norwegian Refugee Council has partnered with the Kenyan innovator Sanivation, to demonstrate a self-sustaining waste-to-energy plant at scale in Kakuma refugee camp. The plant has the capacity to treat 100 tons of faecal waste and transform it into 100 tons of charcoal briquettes every month. Operational and management costs of waste treatment plant are fully covered through briquette sales, ensuring long-term sustainability post grant funding. The system is operated and managed by refugees and host community. NRC are already providing income to over 50 local staff and incentive workers; this scale up will bring additional work to over 100 refugees and host community.

What are the expected outcomes?
Scaling of this new waste-to-energy plant, supported by the Humanitarian Innovaiton Program, will enable waste from 2000 toilets to be collected, properly treated and converted into sustainable solid fuel for sale. The project demonstrates financial and operational sustainability and scalability, the waste treatment costs being fully covered by briquette sales and creating livelihood opportunities for over 100 women.