Social Innovation: The Power of Sewage

Primary tabs

Social Innovation: The Power of Sewage

tweet me:
Stinky clean #energy: sewage plants used to not only treat waste but to also generate #electricity @justmeans
Friday, March 23, 2012 - 8:30pm



There are so many smart new social innovation technologies coming out to create renewable fuels and power supplies. The latest discovery is that sewage plants are being used to not only treat waste but to also generate electricity. This knowhow is devised by Prof Bruce Logan, an environmental engineer specialising in water systems at Pennsylvania State University in the U.S. and his team of researchers. Professor Logan believes that by switching sewage plants from users to generators of electricity would be especially useful in developing countries.

Professor Logan has a vision. He recognises that there are two billion people in the world who need sanitation, including a billion who need access to clean water. By helping these regions and giving them a waste treatment system, we also need to realise that these places also need the power and the resources to keep it going, which can be a drain on the community. However, by providing a waste treatment facility that can also generate electricity for lighting, or charging mobile phones well that's a social innovation game-changer!

Sewage plants are where the treatment of domestic wastewater happens, where it goes through the process of removing contaminants from the wastewater and household sewage. It includes physical, chemical, and biological processes to remove physical, chemical and biological contaminants. The end result is to produce an environmentally-safe fluid waste stream and a solid waste suitable for disposal or reuse (usually as farm fertilisers). Using advanced technology, it is now possible to re-use sewage effluent for drinking water, although till now,Singapore is the only country to implement such technology on a big enough production scale.

Click here to continue reading and comment


Sangeeta Haindl is a staff writer for Justmeans on Social Enterprise. When not writing for Justmeans, Sangeeta wears her other hat as a PR professional. Over the years, she has worked with high-profile organizations within the public, not-for-profit and corporate sectors; and won awards from her industry. She now runs her own UK consultancy: Serendipity PR & Media.