Money to be made in Ghana’s Sewage (video)

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Entrepreneurs in Ghana are trying to use garbage from Accra’s sewers to produce fuel to meet a government commitment to get 10% of its electricity from alternative energy by 2020. Waste Enterprisers Ltd plans to build waste management plants across the country to process garbage and later sell to mining companies and others. Right now at $7 (14 Cedi) a gallon of the guck will still cost a bit more than diesel but because Ghana’s government has also legislated that the mining companies follow the 10% law, it is to their advantage to buy until such a time that the waste entrepreneurs can figure out a way to optimize its production and reduces prices. Who knew that there was so much money to be made in Ghana’s sewage?

That’s forced Ghana to consider a more imaginative set of choices. Among them, sewage. Flush with a $1.5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, local Waste Enterprisers Ltd. is building Ghana’s first “fecal sludge-fed biodiesel plant.” That’s longhand for cooking human excrement into generator fuel, Chief Operating Officer Tim Wade explains. The transformation would serve a dual purposeOpen sewers sweep 1,000 tons of slurry each day into the ocean off Accra, spewing an ocean-top brown slick that is visible on Google Earth. Outside the upland city of Kumasi, roughly 100 trucks dump tens of thousands of liters of septic tank sewage daily into what used to be a small pond.

Luckily, nobody bothers to treat that slop. Sewage treatment plants, as far as Mr. Wade is concerned, frivol away the good stuff. If all goes according to plan, next month one truck a day from Kumasi will dump its payload into a warm and massive vat that will skim lipids – fat – off the top. “That’s your biodeisel,” he explains.  [Christian Science Monitor]