The Loowatt System

SUMMARY: The Loowatt System, a self-contained human waste collection and processing system that, rather than being faced with the typical costs of centralized sewage treatment systems, creatively converts human waste into energy and fertilizer, improving local health conditions, while providing economic opportunity.

PROBLEM SPACE: 2.5 billion people today need access to safe sanitation, and resulting waterborne illnesses ravage productivity, causing disease and death. Loowatt has developed and implemented a waterless toilet system that offers a clean and odor free user experience, and produces energy and fertilizer, commodities which directly benefit toilet users.

SOLUTION: The Loowatt toilet seals human waste into biodegradable polymer film for anaerobic digestion (AD). AD converts the waste and film into biogas, used directly as fuel or converted to electricity, and digestate, a nutrient-rich liquid that is further treated and sold as fertilizer.

Loowatt’s integrated approach creates a closed-loop value chain: toilet experience, AD performance optimization, energy generation, and fertilizer production. After years of practical experience testing product and system components at our London offices and laboratories, we have built a fully operational pilot in Antananarivo, Madagascar that successfully completes each link in the chain and has been serving customers since November 2012.

As in many African capitals, 75% of Antananarivo city residents use dry pit latrines, while the entire urban area is without any formal disposal system for fecal sludge. 98% of latrines are emptied by private service providers with no regulation as to where sludge is discarded.

Loowatt also has great potential in countries that rely on unsustainable waterborne sewerage—markets we plan to enter in 2013.