Implementation pilot scale multi-phase anaerobic fermentation and digestion of faecal sludge

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Sustainability issue

Category: Energy, Waste Management

In Ghana, faecal sludge from on-site sanitation facilities is often discharged untreated into the environment, leading to significant insults to environmental and human health. A research team headed by Professor Kartik Chandran from Columbia University has innovated an attractive pathway to solve this problem. The treatment process separates digestion into acidogenesis (production of volatile fatty acids (VFA)) and methanogenesis (production of methane), which could ultimately facilitate the production of an array of biofuels and biochemicals from the VFA.

Technology solution

  • A pilot-scale anaerobic fermentation process was implemented at the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly’s Oti Sanitary Landfill Site at Adanse Dompoase.
  • The process consisted of six 10 m3reactors in series, which were inoculated with bovine rumen and fed with fecal sludge obtained from public toilets.
  • The performance of the fermentation process was characterized in terms of both aqueous and gaseous variables representing the conversion of influent organic carbon to VFA as well as CH4.
  • Using the operating data, the first-ever process model for FS fermentation and digestion was developed and calibrated, based on the activated sludge model framework. 


  • Citizens
  • City planners and urban designer
  • Companies in renewable and sustainable energy field
  • Companies in waste management

Implementation steps

Step 1: Partner with the government, energy companies and citizens, and call for the awareness of issues.

Step 2: Set up pilot study at local communities.

Step 3: Monitor the plant together with the government and adjust the working parameters.


Comment on Another Blog Post

Post: Truck Platooning

Comment: Great technology! This product can reduce fuel and accidents. Operations center would monitor the trucks and watch for changing conditions such as weather, traffic and construction work. This would mitigate any risks by requiring an operator in the second truck to be “ready to assume control of the vehicle in the event of a technology failure”.

UNI – wy2283





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