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Thread: Human Feces Powers Rwandan Prison

  1. #1
    brotherdoobie's Avatar Long live Hissyfit BT Rep: +1
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    By: Cyrus Farivar

    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.

    Many of Rwanda's 120,000 prisoners are incarcerated because of the genocidal campaign. The prisons are overcrowded by a factor of 10, Lwakabamba said.

    He added that prison overpopulation has created a situation where the facilities have significantly increased energy needs. The overcrowding also leads to large amounts of human waste that the prisons cannot adequately process.

    Lwakabamba said that prior to the construction of biogas facilities at a prison situated atop a hill at Cyangugu in southwestern Rwanda, some human waste was being thrown down the hill, near natural bodies of water such as Lake Kivu.

    "It got started when we went to these prisons and we realized that so much human waste was going into these rivers and we had to try something," he said.

    The univesity rector said that the Rwandan biogas facilities, which are currently in half of the 30 prisons around the country, now contribute half of the energy needs for cooking and lighting in each location.

    Rwanda's biogas facilities are among the most ambitious in the world, given their size and scope. They range up to 1,000 cubic meters in something resembling a beehive shape.

    The process requires putting a given amount of human or other animal waste into a "digester," which ferments it using bacteria to release methane gas that can be captured and then burned as fuel. Attached is a "compensating chamber" that replenishes the supply of bacteria to keep the operation self-sustaining.

    The lead engineer on the project, Ainea Kimaro, says that within four weeks, 100 cubic meters of waste can be transformed into 50 cubic meters of fuel.

    Biogas is being used around the world, including in homes in Nepal and to power trains in Sweden.

    Kimaro said that while waste smells bad initially, the biogas that is produced has no foul odor. He added that the Rwandan prisoners are not put off by the idea of using the byproduct of human waste to cook.

    "Our people are very adaptive," he said. "They see it working; they want to use it."

    Once the methane is produced, the remaining waste is used as an odor-free fertilizer for the gardens at the prison.

    Martin Wright, an Ashden Awards judge who traveled to Rwanda and visited the prison at Cyangugu, got down on his hands and knees to take a whiff of the manure.

    "I've sniffed the residue and there is no smell at all," he said.

    As remarkable as the odorless fertilizer is, Wright said that he was even more impressed by the idea that the new energy project involves people being held on charges of genocide in Cyangugu, just across the border from the volatile civil war raging in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    "(That) they've become the site for this amazing pioneering project means that you're taking something that's a consequence of human misery and producing something hopeful out of it," he said.



    Source: http://www.wired.com/news/planet/0,2...w=wn_tophead_1

  2. The Drawing Room   -   #2
    tesco's Avatar woowoo
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    Great post, but reality and I don't feel it should be in the news section as it's not realted to filesharing, or computers at all for that matter, so moved to drawing room.

  3. The Drawing Room   -   #3
    Guillaume's Avatar Kentish old lady BT Rep: +8BT Rep +8
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    Who runs Bartertown?
    Master Blaster runs Bartertown!

    Yet another renewable energy source that will be sadly underused. Just because of the yuk-factor.

  4. The Drawing Room   -   #4
    brotherdoobie's Avatar Long live Hissyfit BT Rep: +1
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guillaume
    Who runs Bartertown?
    Master Blaster runs Bartertown!

    Yet another renewable energy source that will be sadly underused. Just because of the yuk-factor.
    It seems nobody gives a shit anymore.

    Peace bd

  5. The Drawing Room   -   #5
    Busyman's Avatar Use Logic Or STFU!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guillaume
    Who runs Bartertown?
    Master Blaster runs Bartertown!

    Yet another renewable energy source that will be sadly underused. Just because of the yuk-factor.
    This is done in many places including the US. We just need to do it more.

    @Guillaume - 2 man enter, 1 man leave!!!
    Silly bitch, your weapons cannot harm me. Don't you know who I am? I'm the Juggernaut, Bitchhhh!

    Flies Like An Arrow, Flies Like An Apple
    ---12323---4552-----
    2133--STRENGTH--8310
    344---5--5301---3232

  6. The Drawing Room   -   #6
    brotherdoobie's Avatar Long live Hissyfit BT Rep: +1
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    Quote Originally Posted by Busyman
    Quote Originally Posted by Guillaume
    Who runs Bartertown?
    Master Blaster runs Bartertown!

    Yet another renewable energy source that will be sadly underused. Just because of the yuk-factor.
    This is done in many places including the US. We just need to do it more.

    @Guillaume - 2 man enter, 1 man leave!!!
    I believe pig shit is used as an alternative fuel source in autos.
    I think the plant is located in Missouri?

    I have heard it's a viable alternative,the plant is making a profit after
    being in operation for less than a year,and the overhead is low.

    Peace bd

  7. The Drawing Room   -   #7
    bigboab's Avatar Poster BT Rep: +1
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    I should imagine that they will never be short of supply. I know if someone said that I was going to be put into an Rwandian prison I would be shitting myself.
    Last edited by bigboab; 07-17-2005 at 07:31 AM.
    The best way to keep a secret:- Tell everyone not to tell anyone.

  8. The Drawing Room   -   #8
    lynx's Avatar .
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    No doubt they keep the smell down by using enormous fans.

    I wouldn't want to be around that...
    Last edited by lynx; 07-17-2005 at 12:02 PM.
    .
    Political correctness is based on the principle that it's possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

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