Rwanda’s prison authority had to solve two big problems in their over populated facilities. The first was that the energy consumption was increasing, the second was that the amount of human waste that had to be disposed was increasing as well. Getting rid of the manure near water sources caused water pollution and threatened the public safety in some places.
The solution was found in a process which converts the feces into Methane, which can be used for cooking, and to odorless fertilizer for the prisons gardens:
“Imagine eating food that was cooked using natural gas generated from your own human waste. Thousands of prisoners in Rwanda don’t have to imagine it — they live it.
Prisoners’ feces is converted into combustible “biogas,” or methane gas that can be used for cooking. It has reduced by 60 percent the annual wood-fuel costs which would otherwise reach near $1 million, according to Silas Lwakabamba, rector of the Kigali Institute of Science, Technology and Management, where the technology was developed.
Last month, the Rwandan prison biogas facilities received an Ashden Award for sustainable energy. The award, which comes with a prize worth nearly $50,000, is given by the Ashden Trust, a British charity organization that promotes green technologies.
“It’s turning a negative social situation in terms of the Rwandan genocide into something that can benefit local people in the local area,” said Corrina Cordon, spokeswoman for the Ashden Awards. “
other finalists for the Ashden awards were:
Biogas Sector Partnership, Nepal: replacing wood fuel for cooking with clean, efficient biogas from cattle and human waste.
KIST, Rwanda: transforming human sewage into biogas to replace wood as clean, safe cooking fuel in schools and prisons.
KXN, Nigeria: developing solar-powered refrigeration to store vital vaccines and medicines in remote communities.
NEST, India: bringing solar-powered lighting to replace smoky kerosene in some of rural India’s poorest homes.
Nishant Bioenergy, India: developing cooking stoves for schools that run on agricultural waste, instead of fossil fuels.
PSL, Bangladesh: supporting a women’s co-operative supplying solar lighting and electricity for isolated island communities.
SELCO, India: providing ‘solar home systems’ which bring poor villagers affordable light and power.
SITMO, Philippines: using micro-hydro power to help sustain traditional mountain farming communities.
Trees, Water and People / AHDESA, Honduras: introducing fuel-efficient cooking stoves to improve health and wellbeing.