NEW ORLEANS The Humanure Power Project, founded by Tulane students, Anoop Jain, Art Adhatamsoontra, Andrew Ryan and Alec Barber-Grossi, attempts to solve the sanitation and electricity problem in rural India.
The public health students placed second out of more than 1,780 entrants in the Dell Social Innovation Challenge, one of the largest international business plan contests for social entrepreneurs. Their success earned them $30,000.
The idea, which was created to serve the approximate 650 million Indians without toilets and 400 million without electricity, is to build community toilets that will harness the methane gas produced by human waste and use it to produce electricity.
The group will start by building 10 public toilets in a small village in Bihar to determine how much energy can be produced daily. The pilot project could produce 200 pounds of waste, providing up to 1,200 cubic feet of methane gas per day. A cubic foot can store enough battery power to light a 60-watt bulb for 6 hours, Jain said.
The company will rent reusable 12-volt batteries to earn money to buy more toilets. The goal is to create a sustainable model that spreads across India and throughout the world.
'We are trying to be the best. We believe in our project and how big an impact it will have on the lives of millions of people,' Jain said.