Stephen (left) and Shadrack (center) Osero from Kenya discuss their project for using human waste as a source of green power at this year's Climate CoLab conference at MIT. The brothers were among the winners of this year's CoLab contest, which crowdsources ideas for addressing problems related to climate change. Image: Dominick Reuter/MIT
Stephen (left) and Shadrack (center) Osero from Kenya discuss their project for using human waste as a source of green power at this year’s Climate CoLab conference at MIT. Image: Dominick Reuter/MIT

Two brothers from Kenyatta University in Kenya who have created a method for turning human waste into energy were among the winners of a recent MIT Climate CoLab contest.

The Climate CoLab, a project of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, is a crowdsourcing platform that brings together people from around the world who are passionate about issues surrounding climate change. Winners of the CoLab’s most recent contest were announced at a conference held in November. Public Radio International’s Ari Daniel PhD ’08 was on hand to learn more about the winning proposals.

Environmental scientist Stephen Osero and his brother, Shadrack, of Kenya, were honored for developing a process that can turn human waste into a green energy source that can be used as fuel for stoves or to generate electricity. A prototype of the system has been implemented near Nairobi, and the Oseros hope to expand to additional high-population locations throughout Kenya. “We want to replicate that idea in the whole country,” Stephen Osero told Daniel.

Hear and read more about the Oseros’ project at PRI.

Read a recap of the Climate CoLab’s 2014 conference, “From Ideas to Action.

Find out how the Climate CoLab is engaging people from around the globe to address climate change.

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One comment

  1. So far, all efforts like e.g. biofuels have turned out to produce -from a systems analysis standpoint- MORE not less CO2 in the long run. Plus they increase food scarcity or prices. Seeing that “human waste” can be made into e.g. fertilizer and that fertilizer so far is made from (or: through the use of) fossil fuels, it might be worthwhile considering skipping the “green energy step” which for thermodynamic reasons always loses energy, and use the for what it’s worth in agriculture?!

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