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Energy from excreta: harnessing energy from one of the most abundant materials on the planet

Energy is everywhere. We take for granted that it will be available when we want to heat our homes, cook, use our computers, mobile phones, escalators, cranes, X-ray machines, buses, trains, planes and cars. It is an integral, often invisible – and unfortunately rather unsustainable part of our lives.

Daniel Ddiba / Published on 31 July 2022

Ddiba, D. (2022). Energy from excreta: harnessing energy from one of the most abundant materials on the planet, in Towards the Energy of the Future: the Invisible Revolution Behind the Electrical Socket, Brounéus, F. & Duwig, C. (eds.), pp. 67-76. VA Report 2022:2. Stockholm: VA Public & Science and the KTH Energy Platform. ISBN 978-91-89039-14-8.

Today, we know that the world’s energy system needs to be fundamentally transformed. This is crucial if we want to be able to slow down climate change and create a sustainable society. And we all have important roles to play in the transformation. But how do we change something we cannot see?

In this book, some of Sweden’s leading energy researchers share their views on familiar and less familiar challenges and solutions related to the energy system of the future. The purpose of the anthology is to stimulate conversation and constructive debate so that we can address the challenges in open dialogue and ensure that our future is shaped by facts and knowledge.

The global population is projected to rise to over 10 billion by the end of this century. It will continue to be a significant challenge to provide enough energy to power livelihoods while limiting climate change. Energy recovery from faeces could be a significant part of the societal energy mix, especially in urban areas where there is a large supply of raw material and demand for energy. There are already well-established technologies that can be scaled up to harvest the energy embedded in faeces. Ongoing technological developments will open even more possibilities and potentially address some of the challenges currently associated with the energy recovery. Hopefully, there will come a time when this ample source of sustainable energy is no longer just flushed down the drain but is harnessed to power the livelihoods of billions of people.

SEI author

Daniel Ddiba
Daniel Ddiba

Research Fellow

SEI Headquarters

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