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Modern Agriculture

02 Mar 12

Integrating Sanitation, Bio-waste Management, Local Energy Production and Agriculture

by Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), Germany

Wood gas utilisation can produce power, heat/cooling and charcoal (biochar) as well as long-lasting humus, which is generated from local woody waste.

Our highly sectorial science and society leads to a lack of synergistic solutions. On top of that key players are often part of their own peer’s mainstream thinking and/or miss-defining importance of issues with media coverage. We lost our footing, forgot about our 100% dependency on living soil. Not only food production but water renewal, avoidance of flooding/drought, regional climate, green areas and forests, local economy depends on soil. Humus rich soil makes water, sanitation can make soil.

Bio-Waste can be an ideal feeding for soil. Energy production can destroy or create soil. So called “Bio”-Energy is the biggest threat for food security, water/soil health and a supportive regional climate but big business. The very low rate of net energy that can easily be negative if soil depletion is calculated produces energy for a few who do not care for the death toll. Direct solar energy is offering a million fold of what we need and does help to feed people, too.

Utilization of wood gas can produce power, heat/cooling and charcoal for long lasting humus at the same time from local woody waste. Wood gas stoves offer great cooking and the charcoal for the remaining bio-waste and excreta. This can be a pathway for the integration of Sanitation, Bio-Waste-Management, local Energy production and Agriculture. Terra Preta Sanitation offers a clear pathway towards highly cost efficient solutions from low cost to luxury solutions. Lactic acid fermentation allows easy low water consuming collection and efficient sanitization of excreta.

Composting with clean charcoal can mimic the probably most sustainable society that lived on earth in large numbers for thousands of years: the Indio’s of the Amazon. All they left 500 years back is beautiful ceramics and huge areas of the most fertile black soil entirely man made mainly for bio waste, excreta and charcoal: Terra Preta.

Related Resources


Integrating Sanitation, Bio-waste Management, Local Energy Production and Agriculture

by Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), Germany

Related Media Coverage

23 May 12

Tagesspiegel (Berlin)

The world population keeps growing, and with it the demand for food. Students of Urban Ecology at the Technical University Berlin have developed ideas for innovative agriculture.

Further Reading

04 Apr 12

Cutting down on the amount of food that is wasted around the world is a key component of water management, according to Dr. Colin Chartres, general director of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).

19 Sep 11

Sustainable and Productive Sanitation is a Perfect Example of the Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus

20 Jan 14

In countries around the world, meeting daily energy needs is dependent on water. Finding sufficient water resources to produce the required energy, however, and then appropriately allocating the limited supply, is becoming more difficult.

NEXUS in the Media

13 Oct 13


Saudi Arabia policy is moving away from trying to grow wheat locally to importing more food as the energy costs for irrigation and water exceed import prices, a Saudi official said today at a conference in Budapest.

24 Oct 11

The National (UAE)

18 Oct 11

Financial Express (Dhaka)

27 Jun 12


Researchers from the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) have published an article, titled “Managing the Water-Land-Energy Nexus for Sustainable Development,” arguing that systemic thinking and integrated solutions are needed to successfully develop and implement sustainable development goals (SDGs) in the follow-up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20).


  • IFPRI International Food Policy Research Institute
  • WEF World Economic Forum
  • WWF World Wide Fund for Nature

Bonn2011 Nexus Conference – in the context of Bonn Perspectives

  • Bonn Perspectives

initiated by

  • BONN
  • BMZ

funded by

  • European Regional Development Fund EFRE
  • NRW Ministerin fr Bundesangelegenheiten, Europa und Medien des Landes Nordrhein-Westphalen
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