292: faecal to water OmniProcessor


Sewage sludge is the residual, semi-solid material that is produced as a by-product during sewage treatment of industrial or municipal wastewater.

The sludge will become putrescent in a short time once anaerobic bacteria take over, and must be removed from the sedimentation tank before this happens Environmental issues related to the recycling of wet sewage sludge on land include the risk of nutrient leaching, impacts on soil biodiversity and GHG emissions.

According to a report released by the World Health Organization and Unicef in 2013, data collected two years earlier showed that 2.5 billion people worldwide lacked “improved sanitation facilities”.


Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle-based engineering firm Janicki Bioenergy have developed the Omni Processor which boils the wet sewage sludge to generate water vapour that is cleaned and turned into purified water, the leftover dry sewage is then burned to create a little bit of ash and lots of steam which is used to drive a generator.

For use in developing countries, one of the OmniProcessor’s main treatment aims is pathogen removal to stop the spread of disease from fecal sludge.

The term OmniProcessor was created by staff of the Water, Sanitation, Hygiene Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2012. Peter Janicki presented in 2014 a prototype using combustion. In a video, Janicki is shown pouring Bill Gates a glass of water processed by the machine. The US$100 prototype model can produce 2,853 gallons (10,800 liters) of drinking water per day and 100 kW net electricity.

A larger model under development, the S200, is designed to handle the waste from 100,000 people, produce 22,700 gallons (86,000 liters) of drinking water per day and 250 kW net output electricity. These systems are designed to provide a “self-sustaining bioenergy” process.

A pilot project of Janicki Bioenergy’s Omni processor was installed in Dakar, Senegal, in 2015 and can now treat the fecal sludge of 50,000-100,000 people. In 2018 Sedron Technologies, Sedro-Woolley, Washington, formerly Janicki Bioenergy received a license to commercialise its patented Omni Processor.

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