NDF - Financing for climate change and development projects

NCF: Business Development Closing the Rural-Urban Nutrient and Carbon Dioxide Cycles [NDF C3 D10]

A Biocenter in Nyaharwa, Nairobi. Photo: Niels Bahnsen
Biocenters provide improved sanitation to regions of informal settlements in Nairobi. Photo: Niels Bahnsen
23.09.2013
The aim of this project is to establish a medium-scale business by constructing a biogas and fertiliser plant, which will help reduce negative environmental impacts and cut the costs faced by public latrines.

Kenya
Business Development Closing the Rural-Urban Nutrient and Carbon Dioxide Cycles
Ref: NDF C3 D10

Nordic Partner: Niras Natura AB
Local Partner: Umande Trust
Other Partners: n/a
Total Project Cost: EUR 624,455
NCF Financing: EUR 499,220
Agreement Signed: 12 March 2013
Project Classification: Mitigation
Duration: 24 Months

Project Objective

The main objectives of the project are to decrease greenhouse gas emissions; improve the sanitary situation in the urban informal settlements; increase the income of these vulnerable communities; increase the use of organic fertilisers; and supply the Kenyan market with biogas as an alternative to petroleum based energy.

The objectives are to be achieved through the establishment of a sustainable and profitable community-owned business based on the recycling of energy and nutrients in human waste from Nairobi’s informal urban settlements.

Description

The project builds on the long-term work of a Kenyan NGO, Umande Trust, who facilitates community managed latrines as small businesses in Nairobi’s densely populated informal settlements. The aim of this project is to establish a medium-scale business by constructing a biogas and fertiliser plant, which will help reduce negative environmental impacts and cut the costs faced by public latrines. The plant will utilise waste from the community latrines and process it into high-quality organic fertilisers and biogas. The biogas is to be purified, compressed and sold in cylinders compatible with gas stoves. The organic fertilizer can be sold on the agriculture products' market to be brought back onto the land for increased agricultural production. The generated profit will be deposited in the revolving fund of each of the participating community groups. Currently, the waste storage capacity of the latrines is being stretched; the project, therefore, can help overcome these limitations and cut waste disposal costs faced by the public latrines, which allows for sustainable increase in capacity to provide sanitation services.

The main outputs from the project are:

i) An up and running community-owned business unit generating and delivering a sustainable profit back to the communities.
ii) A designed, built and commissioned biogas and fertilizer production plant.
iii) Capacity built among the community committee members; bio-centre staff; business unit management; and a staff of 45 trained people at various technical, entrepreneurial and management positions.
iv) Improved operation of the bio-centres and high-quality waste.
v) Lessons learnt presented in an accessible format and shared with relevant communities.

Relevance for Climate Change

The project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from human waste - decomposing human faeces releases methane and CO2. Methane has a high global warming potential which can be reduced by burning. The project will produce biogas from human waste to provide energy while reducing emissions. The organic fertilisers produced by the plant will help improve the fertility of the soil and replace inorganic fertilisers which release more nitrous oxide (N2O) and are more energy intensive to produce. N2O is a greenhouse gas approximately 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. In addition, improved sanitation services will reduce the risk of water-borne diseases spreading in the settlements. This is especially relevant in the perspective of foreseen higher probability for heavy rains and flooding, and the consequent spread of human waste.

Innovation and Knowledge Transfer

The innovativeness of the project lies in its approach, which links rural agricultural systems with the urban needs for food, energy and sustainable sanitation while mitigating climate change. The project will also provide purified, compressed biogas in cylinders compatible with any regular gas burning stove. A successful system can attract investors for scaling-up or replication. The running business will also set aside a portion of the monthly revenue to a development fund held by the participating public latrines. The accumulated funds can be used for scaling-up the first production plant and potentially replicating the set-up in a second location.

Key recent milestones achieved as of January 2015

  • Community sensitisation completed
  • Environmental certificate granted
  • Site identified just outside Kibera, Nairobi
  • Engineering design completed

More information

Niras Natura
Umande Trust