Millions around the world lack access to basic sanitation facilities and there is a growing need for renewable energy. Add that up and you get San-ergy! Sanergy aims at providing sustainable sanitation solutions to the slums and turning the collected human waste into energy. Whoever though that human waste could light up a city!
Nearly 40% of the world lacks access to proper sanitation due to poverty especially under developed countries like Africa. Sanergy believes that the solution to this problem lies not just in building toilets but integrating the three ‘T’s, namely Toilets, Transportation of waste and Treatment of waste. Sanergy synergizes all of these into a viable business model.
It begins by creating a network of franchised low-cost sanitation centers in slums. The waste from these centers is collected and transported using low cost infrastructure to the intermediate processing plants. Trucks transport this semi processed waste to a central plant, where it is converted into electricity and fertilizer.
What is unique about this model is that, not only does it improve sanitation facilities and produce renewable energy but it also create jobs and opportunities at each step.
In the summer of 2010, a bunch of students at the MIT Sloan School of Management infused by the enthusiasm to create a positive social and environmental impact began putting together pieces of the business plan for Sanergy.
As it is a recent start up, Sanergy is yet in the process of implementing. It has begun by visiting Kenya and installing the low cost sanitation centers. Sanergy has kept special focus on cleanliness and easy maintenance for practical usability. They are being supported by local partners from the community to overcome practical implementation hurdles which have not been foreseen in the designing process.
Sanergy is a perfect example of a social enterprise which is successfully able to meet triple bottom line objectives of social, environmental and economical benefit.
The energy generated from the central plant is sold to the national grid and the fertilizer is sold to the farms. This generates a sustainable stream of revenue for Sanergy to support the installation of sanitation centers in the slums.
Sanergy promises a large impact on dimensions of increased hygiene by the provision of sanitation facilities. It also provides renewable energy solutions for the challenges of energy consumption. Along with that, it creates wealth for the community by providing employment opportunities. If scaled up, the impact can increase multifold leading to healthier communities.