MIT Start-up Focuses on Sanitation Needs of Poor

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Some 2.5 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation and a small start-up launched by MIT students is aiming to do its part to help address the global problem.

Sanergy provides low-cost sanitation facilities in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, and converts the waste to salable byproducts.

“Our goal is to make sanitation hygienic, accessible and affordable for the 8 million people in Kenyan slums,” said David Auerbach, a co-founder and MBA candidate at MIT.

Sanergy started piloting two sanitation centers – each with a dry, squat-style toilet – in the Kibera and Lunga Lunga slums in September, and plans to ramp up to 60 this summer.

About 150 Kenyans use the two toilets daily, paying the equivalent of 6 cents per use. Waste streams are separated into containers and collected each day by trained workers, and the waste is then converted to biogas that’s used to provide energy for cooking.

Source: Boston Herald (link opens in a new window)