Bio-Latrine technology from Uganda

1) Many African countries like Uganda experience soil degradation, inadequate sanitation, and lack of access to clean energy. African farmers and rural area residents are one of the most vulnerable populations that do not have access to adequate sanitation facilities and are exposed to disease like diarrhea. 

2) A project engineer at Uganda acknowledged the challenges of soil degradation, inadequate sanitation and clean energy, and she came up with a bio-latrine. This environmentally friendly toilet utilizes biogas digester to convert human excrement into a quality agricultural fertilizer. While combustible gas is produced in the middle of the process, it is also used for cooking, heating and lighting. This technology addresses energy, sanitation, agricultural production all at once, which greatly enhance living standards in rural areas. This technology is placed in community centers, schools, churches, and hospitals. 

“African entrepreneurs lead the way in climate change adaptation” Dec/2016 https://www.wipo.int/wipo_magazine/en/2016/06/article_0003.html 

“Practical_action_bio_latrine” 09/2013

3) Stakeholders

  • People in rural areas mostly in Africa where adequate sanitation facilities do not exist. 
  • Cities officials who wants to solve energy, sanitation, agricultural production all at once

4) Three implementation steps

  1. The bio-latrine is low maintenance system that only need toilet and a bio-digester units 
  2. Construction can be done by using local materials only. 
  3. The minimum required materials are biogas digesters, biogas lamps and pressure gauges and stoves. It does not need machinery. The collected biogas will be transferred through underground pipes into stoves that households use. 

Problem and Challenges

It does not require water unlike sewage systems and flush toilets, so bio-latrine is great technology for places where water is scarce. However, there is a potential threat of leakaging of the pressured gas if the unit is not constructed well. Moreover, the high capital cost is a great burden for low income areas. Considering only the low-income areas are the potential customer for the technology at this moment, it is not sustainable in financial perspective. While human waste and biogas are converted into fertiliser and fuel for cooking, some populations might be reluctant to accept use of it. It is a critical issue whether there is a market for the fertiliser exist. 

Uni:bj2446

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