Department Sanitation, Water and Solid Waste for Development

Resource recovery

Resource recovery from treatment products are a key aspect of sustainable management of sanitation, and can contribute to benefits such as stimulating proper operation and maintenance of a treatment plant, reducing pressure on local resources, and offsetting operation costs. As part of an engineering design approach, a focus on resource recovery can also support in defining treatment objectives where official standards do not exist.

Resource recovery from faecal sludge can have many different forms and product types, such as fuel, nutrients, feed, materials, and (irrigation) water. As referenced below in publications, previous work of the Management of Excreta, Wastewater, and Sludge (MEWS) research group has included production of various forms of solid fuel endproducts, including demand as an industrial fuel, carbonization through optimizing slow-pyrolysis processes, co-processing faecal sludge with other organic wastes, and pelletization for use as a fuel and to enable faster drying. Much of this work is summarized in the literature review, To Char or Not to Char , including how to select a treatment technology for producing a solid fuel endproduct. Also see below for use of plants from planted drying beds as an animal feed, and recommendations for optimal operation of planted drying beds.

When deciding on what faecal sludge endproduct is most appropriate, it is important to consider which products are desirable from a financial and market perspective, along with social and cultural considerations, embedded in an appropriate integrated planning approach. However, since markets for faecal sludge endproducts frequently do not exist, we developed the Market Driven Approach (MDA), a tool that helps to determine the market attractiveness of a future faecal sludge endproduct in a local context.

Planning for sustainable implementation also includes developing resource recovery based business models. As part of the RRR initiative (Resource, Recovery, and Reuse), MEWS contributed to a comprehensive overview of resource recovery focused business models for the waste and sanitation sector published by IWMI.

Current and previous collaborators

  • University of Dar es Salaam
  • Makarere University
  • NWSC
  • Bioburn
  • Zürich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW)
  • Cheikh Anta Diop University
  • Waste Enterprisers Ltd

Current funding

  • SDC (funding)

Previous funding

  • Symphasis Foundation
  • REPIC (Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Promotion in International Cooperation)
  • SDC
  • SECO

Publications | Technologies

Bleuler, M.; Gold, M.; Strande, L.; Schönborn, A. (2021) Pyrolysis of dry toilet substrate as a means of nutrient recycling in agricultural systems: potential risks and benefits, Waste and Biomass Valorization, 12, 4171-4183, doi:10.1007/s12649-020-01220-0, Institutional Repository
Gold, M.; Cunningham, M.; Arnheiter, R.; Schönborn, A.; Niwagaba, C.; Strande, L. (2018) Operating parameters for three resource recovery options from slow-pyrolysis of faecal sludge, Journal of Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 8(4), 707-717, doi:10.2166/washdev.2018.009, Institutional Repository
Andriessen, N.; Ward, B. J.; Strande, L. (2019) To char or not to char? Review of technologies to produce solid fuels for resource recovery from faecal sludge, Journal of Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 9(2), 210-224, doi:10.2166/washdev.2019.184, Institutional Repository
Gold, M.; Ddiba, D. I. W.; Seck, A.; Sekigongo, P.; Diene, A.; Diaw, S.; Niang, S.; Niwagaba, C.; Strande, L. (2017) Faecal sludge as a solid industrial fuel: a pilot-scale study, Journal of Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 7(2), 243-251, doi:10.2166/washdev.2017.089, Institutional Repository
Ward, B. J.; Gold, M.; Turyasiima, D.; Studer, F.; Getkate, W.; Maiteki, J. M.; Niwagaba, C. B.; Strande, L. (2017) SEEK (sludge to energy enterprises in Kampala): co-processing faecal sludge for fuel production, In: WEDC conference 40, 2808 (6 pp.), Institutional Repository
Gueye, A.; Mbéguéré, M.; Niang, S.; Diop, C.; Strande, L. (2016) Novel plant species for faecal sludge drying beds: survival, biomass response and forage quality, Ecological Engineering, 94, 617-621, doi:10.1016/j.ecoleng.2016.05.027, Institutional Repository
Gold, M.; Niang, S.; Niwagaba, C. B.; Eder, G.; Murray Muspratt, A.; Diop, P. S.; Strande, L. (2014) Results from FaME (Faecal Management Enterprises) – can dried faecal sludge fuel the sanitation service chain?, In: WEDC conference 37, 2026 (6 pp.), Institutional Repository
Murray Muspratt, A.; Nakato, T.; Niwagaba, C.; Dione, H.; Kang, J.; Stupin, L.; Regulinski, J.; Mbéguéré, M.; Strande, L. (2014) Fuel potential of faecal sludge: calorific value results from Uganda, Ghana and Senegal, Journal of Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 4(2), 223-230, doi:10.2166/washdev.2013.055, Institutional Repository
Gold, M.; Murray, A.; Niwagaba, C.; Niang, S.; Strande, L. (2013) Faecal sludge – from waste to solid biofuel?, Sandec News, 14, 8, Institutional Repository
Seck, A.; Gold, M.; Niang, S.; Mbéguéré, M.; Diop, C.; Strande, L. (2015) Faecal sludge drying beds: increasing drying rates for fuel resource recovery in Sub-Saharan Africa, Journal of Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 5(1), 72-80, doi:10.2166/washdev.2014.213, Institutional Repository

Energy recovery with faecal sludge fuels in Kampala. Gold, M., Turyasiima, D., Studer, F., Tukahirwa, S., Nantambi, S., Arnheiter, R., Bleuler, M., Getkate, W., Schönborn, A., Niwagaba, C, Babu, M., Kanyesigye, C., Strande, L. Sandec News 2016

Identification of fodder plants for treatment with planted drying bedsGueye, A., Mbéguéré, M., Diop, C., Niang, S., Strande, L. Sandec News 2016

Production of Pellets and Electricity from Faecal Sludge. Gold, M., Niwagaba, C., Studer, F., Getkate, W., Babu, M., Strande, L. Sandec News 2015

Waste heat recovery from industries for faecal sludge drying. Diener, S., Reiser, J., Mbéguéré, M., Strande, L. Sandec News 2012

Waste heat recovery from cement production for faecal sludge drying. Reiser, J., Diener, S., Mbèguèrè, M., Strande, L. 2012

Market driven approach

Andriessen, N.; Schoebitz, L.; Bassan, M.; Bollier, S.; Strande, L. (2017) Market driven approach for faecal sludge treatment products, In: WEDC conference 40, 2807 (6 pp.), Institutional Repository
Schoebitz, L.; Andriessen, N.; Bollier, S.; Bassan, M.; Strande, L. (2016) Market driven approach for selection of faecal sludge treatment products, 30 p, Institutional Repository
Diener, S.; Semiyaga, S.; Niwagaba, C. B.; Muspratt, A. M.; Gning, J. B.; Mbéguéré, M.; Ennin, J. E.; Zurbrugg, C.; Strande, L. (2014) A value proposition: resource recovery from faecal sludge—can it be the driver for improved sanitation?, Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 88(1), 32-38, doi:10.1016/j.resconrec.2014.04.005, Institutional Repository
Bassan, M.; Dao, N.; Thuy, P.; Hoai, A. V.; Nguyen, V. A.; Strande, L. (2013) PURR - Partnership for Urban Resource Recovery. Initial assessment of sludge management and context in five cities: Son La, Lang Son, Hoa Binh, Bac Ninh, and Ba Ria, 54 p, Institutional Repository

Market Driven Approach Data Collection Tool.  Excel sheet

Market demand, technical and financial feasibility for faecal sludge use as industrial fuel Results from FaME (Faecal Management Enterprises) – can dried faecal sludge fuel the sanitation service chain? Gold, M., Niang, S., Niwagaba, C.B., Eder, G., Murray Muspratt, A., Diop, P.S., Strande, L.  37th WEDC International Conference, Hanoi Vietnam, 2014

Waste Supply and Availability in Hanoi, Vietnam (RRR Project. From Research to Implementation). Schoebitz, L., Nguyen, V.A., Hoa, Huyen, Strande, L. Eawag/Sandec July 2014

Waste Supply and Availability in Kampala, Uganda (RRR Project. From Research to Implementation). Schoebitz, L., Niwagaba, C., Strande, L. Eawag/Sandec May 2014


Nienke Andriessen Project Officer Tel. +41 58 765 5082 Send Mail