Turning Human Waste into Energy

      1 Comment on Turning Human Waste into Energy

The food system is a linear system: take resources – make product – consume – waste. In linear systems we know that input is directly proportionate to output. However, there can be synergy which is when the collective element’s output is greater than the output of the individual elements. There is also interference which is the opposite of synergy, it is when the output of the collective elements is less than the output of the individual elements.

Each part of the food process takes energy and fuel which is most commonly oil. However, there are people around the world who are figuring out ways to turn human waste, excrement, into renewable energy. This might mean that someday the food system could be a circular one. The waste at the end of the linear food economy, feces, would be reused as fuel throughout the whole system. This is happening throughout the world from Colorado to Kenya. This process is still in the early stages of development but it is promising that people across the world are being so innovative.

Image Sources:


2. http://www.bbc.com/news/business-37981485

1 thought on “Turning Human Waste into Energy

  1. hestra01

    The way you describe interference vs synergy stood out to me because l believe that there does need to be some change to the food industry in regards to becoming more circular. At first I questioned your possible answer of using human feces because I have only read about the horrid conditions that ‘night soil’ is used. After reading the links you provided I can now understand that it is possible to use this method in ways that prevent future waste. However, I think it is smart to point out the other end of the spectrum since this method of using human feces is commonly used in the most dire situations.

Leave a Reply