Sanergy, a U.S.-owned company based in Nairobi, Kenya, just received a $2.5 million investment from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for a unique “circular economy” sanitation operation.
The larvae of the Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia Ilucens) provide the processing power for Sanergy's innovative biowaste treatment and conversion facilities in Kenya. Photo: Didier Descouens, CC
The company operates by first gathering organic waste from public markets, restaurants, and local farms, along with excrement to create a biowaste mass.
Then it adds larvae from black soldier flies to the mix. They feed on the waste and break it down without the need for added chemicals or toxic materials.
The resulting biowaste is then converted into multiple forms. Among them are:
An Insect Feed called KuzaPro
An organic crop fertilizer. It is currently being sold and distributed throughout Kenya.
Biomass briquettes for use in industrial boilers and other heating solutions.
Sanergy began its first test organics recycling facility in Kenya’s capitol of Nairobi in 2015. That facility processes around 12,000 tons of biowaste annually. It also produces insect feed along the same lines as the new investment will make possible. In 2021 it is the largest insect feed plant in East Africa
The company was launched in 2009 by three Massachusetts Institute of Technology students. Their goal was to provide a more hygienic and affordable solution to sanitation even for those living in Nairobi’s urban slums.
Sanergy is positioned well for growth in this type of industry. With its urban base in Nairobi on its way to growing to a population of 5.94 million in 2030, according to investor JICA the amount of biowaste it produces should increase from 1,848 tons/day to 3,990 tons per day. That represents a 116% increase in less than a decade.
In announcing its new investment in Sanergy, Shohei Hara, JICA’s director general of Private Sector Partnership and Finance, expressed excitement about the opportunities for the new enterprise.
"We are thrilled to expand Sanergy's pioneering circular economy model which solves multiple social problems, such as waste management, sanitation, agricultural productivity and food security, that most countries in Africa commonly face," he said.
"JICA will continue to develop partnerships with wider stakeholders in tackling with these social problems," Hara continued.