This week’s Entrepreneur Spotlight focuses on what motivates Greenpact co-founder and Ye! video contest Kenya event participant Leroy Mwasaru. At 18 years old, Leroy Mwasaru of Kenya started the company Greenpact, a renewable energy supplier based on ‘Poo Power.’
In Kenya much of the energy needed for cooking and heating comes from the burning of firewood. The emissions from firewood have been shown to lead to respiratory infections and other health problems. Leroy noticed that not only is this devastating to the environment as well as the health of those who work close to the fires, it is also unsustainable.
Leroy also noticed that with the building of a new dormitory at his school there was a problem with human waste flowing directly from the school into the water supply that supports the local community. Leroy and his co-founders decided to solve this problem using what they observed was in abundant supply, waste! So, Leroy developed a human waste bioreactor to turn poo into energy.
By going to the local farmers every morning to collect cow dung, mixing it with vegetable materials and slashed grass, these young men created a paste that when mixed with the dung can be digested by bacteria. Once the materials have decomposed, the new mixture moves through the digester where it is separated by density, releasing usable gas in the process! This gas can then be used for cooking and heating.
Leroy and his classmates are now working on a version of the bioreactor that takes human waste instead of cow dung and produces the gas needed to supply the school. They hope that in future they will be able to supply the entire community. Leroy saw an issue plaguing his local community—unsustainable use of firewood and pollution of the public water supply, and came up with a solution. An idea like Leroy's shows how even the mundane facets of everyday life, such as going to the toilet, can be transformed into innovative business ideas and transformative social innovations!
Leroy has since pitched his idea in San Francisco as well as at the inaugural, One Young World Environment Summit in Arizona, USA. Leroy competed in the Ye! Video Contest 2016 to showcase the following video of their work in Kenya. Watch the video below to get inspired and check out the Greenpact blog http://hwbteam2014.blogspot.nl/ to follow their journey!