Ghana - 2011 SEED Winner - Waste Enterprises

Ghana - 2011 SEED Winner - Waste Enterprises

 “Waste Enterprisers” was chosen as a 2011 SEED winner for its  efforts to develop innovative ways of reusing human waste with the aim of improving sanitation services for the poor and restructuring the economics of sanitation in developing countries. Drawing on technical support from local and international universities and working with the local municipality, the venture turns faecal sludge into biodiesel, and dries it to be used as boiler fuel. Wastewater is also being treated for use in ponds to allow fish farming which can provide additional income generation.

2011-2012 was nothing short of ground breaking for Waste Enterprisers. They have recorded several key milestones that enhanced opportunities to commercialise the enterprise’s product: GreenHeat (a biomass fuel|) and “to start a sanitation revolution across Africa”. These achievements are direct results of the SEED Support plan they developed with their SEED advisor, which included guidance for prototyping several processing ideas, networking and partnership formation, and the creation and quality testing of fuel samples. During the support period they were able to:

  • involve a biomass engineer student from the USA, who worked on designing drying beds, running experiments, burning trials, etc. Much of his work was supported by SEED and his findings allowed them to further develop the drying process and make connections with potential buyers.
  • create the GreenHeat biomass fuel (from human waste they de-water that sludge capturing all the solid particles and drying them to 90%, meaning they look like sawdust or gravel.  The fuel can then be burned in kilns that use other biomass fuels, like wood pellets, palm nut kernels, or rice husks.
  • send samples to a third party evaluation firm. The results showed an energy value ranging from 16-21 MJ/Kg, which is higher than wood pellets. That  tend to be around 15 MJ/Kg.
  • complete their business plan,
  • receive angel investment to scale the pilot to a beta, small commercial scale,
  • hire full-time engineers from the United States and Ghana to implement the new small commercial scale plant,
  • form a partnership with local waste management companies to pilot the small commercial plant at their site.
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