Monday, 28 May 2012

The Humanure Power Project

The idea is to provide sanitation and electricity to rural India by building community toilets and harnessing human waste to produce methane and electricity that will be distributed to the community via 12-V batteries.

The Humanure Power Project (HPP), whose idea is mentioned above was a submission to the dell social innovation challenge '12. The team is one of the finalists of the ongoing competition.


Sanitation is a major problem in Bihar. 11 million people in Bihar live without access to toilets.

The project targets Sukhpur, a village in the Supaul district in Bihar.

Only 1.2% of the total number of residents of Supaul have electricity in their homes.



The idea is to combine these two problems and solve them together!

  • HPP will build a community block of toilets and human waste will be collected in a biogas generator.
  • Biogas generators will be employed to create methane, which can then be combusted to generate electricity.
  • Since power lines do not exist in the village, the team will charge rechargeable 12-volt batteries with the electricity they produce using human waste, which can then be rented out to the community.
  • Battery rentals will operate on a monthly membership program.
  • Toilet use will be incentivized to the community by stating that the more they use it, the more electricity the community has.



Currently, villagers spend about 15% of their annual income on kerosene that they burn for lighting. These batteries would provide a much cheaper and cleaner form of light.

An additional incentive will be the proximity of the toilets - villagers will no longer have to walk long distances just to relieve themselves. 

The battery system is a much cheaper and healthier form of energy and the battery rental program will also be creating business in the community.

Due to better sanitation facilities, many prevalent diseases can potentially be eradicated from the community.

This will empower the community to realize that it has tremendous control over its health outcomes and economic success. 


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