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Columbia University Professor to develop biodiesel facility in Ghana

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Kartik Chandran

Mr. Kartik Chandran, an associate Professor at the School of Engineering and Applied Science of the Columbia University in the United States will soon develop a biodiesel facility in Ghana after winning a $1.5 million award from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Prof. Chandran, who won the prize early this month, says he will develop an innovative technology to transform fecal sludge into biodiesel and create the “Next-Generation Urban Sanitation Facility” in Accra, Ghana.

He indicates that he will be working with his partners, Ashley Murray, founder and director of Waste Enterprisers, and Moses Mensah, a Chemical Engineering professor at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

“Chandran and his team aim to develop a bioprocess technology to convert the organic compounds present in fecal sludge to biodiesel and methane, two potent sources of energy, and thus convert a waste-processing facility into a biorefinery,” the University said in a statement.

The biorefinery will not only be an economical source of fuel, but, by minimizing discharge of fecal sludge into local water bodies, it will also contribute to improved human health and sanitation, the statement added.

Prof. Chandran who has been associated with Ghana over the years said, “we are especially pleased that the Gates Foundation has recognized the critical importance of sustainable sanitation by investing in our pioneering project.”

According to him, sanitation approaches have been extremely resource- and energy-intensive and therefore out of reach for some of the world’s poorest but also most at-need populations.


By Ekow Quandzie

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