Rwanda’s prison system using human waste for electricity

Rwanda’s prison system is innovatively turning human sewage into biogas for cooking.

Voice of America reports that Mary Gahonzire, Deputy Commissioner General of Rwanda’s Correctional Service, said eleven detention centers in Rwanda currently use the sewage-turned-biogas for three-quarters of their cooking gas needs.

“We save a lot of money,” she said. “We saved about 800m in the local currency in 2010. In 2011 we saved more, over 1bn.”  That adds up to more than $1.5m US dollars.

Gahonzire says the prison department plans to expand the program, so that biogas could possibly be used to power lights and other energy needs.

“For now we are using it as cooking gas, but the projection of costs is there,” she said. “Ultimately we are going to use it [to help with] electricity.”

Gahonzire added that the biogas program is part of a larger government initiative to work toward environmental sustainability throughout the country.

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