Our Work

Energy Optimization and Field Demonstration of the Anaerobic Digestion Pasteurization Latrine (ADPL)

Project Overview

The Anaerobic Digestion Pasteurization Latrine (ADPL) is a promising decentralized and autonomous sanitation system conceived by Dr. Deshusses which harnesses the energy in fecal waste for pathogen elimination. The ADPL converts organics in fecal waste to biogas, part of it which is then burned to pasteurize the treated waste. The ADPL offers a potentially viable alternative to basic pit latrines. The system is self-contained, requires no energy input, destroys all pathogens and provides a safe effluent with fertilizer value. Before ADPLs can be deployed on a large scale, optimization and field testing are required. In particular, net biogas utilization could be reduced by incorporating passive solar heating during day time. This would increase the surplus biogas and make it available for other uses such as cooking. Thus, the objective of this collaborative project is to optimize energy generation and utilization in the ADPL by incorporating passive solar for heat sterilization and using inexpensive microcontrollers.

These improvements will be implemented in three ADPLs in Eldoret, Kenya and field monitoring of energy generation and treatment efficacy will be conducted. This research is at the intersection of energy and global health. The team includes two Duke professors who have not collaborated before, a research group at the University of Eldoret, and a local entrepreneur interested in global health. This project will also strengthen the existing collaboration with the University of Eldoret and provide much needed financial support there. Sources of follow-on funding have been identified.


Department & School

Civil & Environmental Engineering
Pratt School of Engineering



  • Duke Global Health Institute

Project Collaborators

  • Wataalamu Repair & Mechanics
  • University of Eldoret

Project Status


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