Our Work

Neighborhood-Scale Treatment of Fecal Sludge by Supercritical Oxidation

Project Overview

The aim of this project is to design, build and evaluate the feasibility a prototype fecal treatment unit that relies on supercritical water oxidation (SCWO). SCWO is a promising innovation to treat fecal sludge, because it works quickly and generates energy in the forms of hot water and steam. Supercritical water treatment effectively eliminates all types of harmful organisms and does not require, prior dewatering or drying of fecal, sludge. SCWO treatment also results in clean water that can be reused.

A SCWO prototype has been designed and constructed at Duke in a 20 ft shipping container. Testing and operation on Duke campus is ongoing. The unit can treat ~1 ton of wet fecal sludge per day, the amount of generated by ~1200 people.


Department & School

Civil & Environmental Engineering
Pratt School of Engineering



  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Project Collaborators

  • University of Missouri
  • Duke University

Project Status


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