PhD researcher awarded for ground-breaking sanitation technology

A PhD researcher from Brunel University London has won Santander’s University Entrepreneurship Award for his ground-breaking modular wastewater treatment system. Brunel student, Tom Fudge and cofounders Llyr Williams and William Gambier, won the competition and collected the £25,000 (€28,000) award on behalf of WASE.

There are currently 2.3 billion people worldwide who are living with inadequate sanitation. Fudge believes that as well as the untold suffering this causes to millions of people, it is also a situation that is losing the global economy £169 billion (€189 billion) a year.

The award winning company works to create treatment cells that could soon be producing thousands of litres of clean water a day for some of the poorest communities in the world.   

WASE use a modular onsite treatment system to convert wastewater into clean water for irrigation use. This recovers nutrients that can be used for fertilisers and generates biogas for cooking and electricity. 1000 litres of wastewater a day can be treated by a cell. It can then provide 1.7 times more energy and can work ten times as fast other technologies, such as anaerobic digestion.

Speaking on WASE’s win Fudge said, “With our approach, we are trying to change sanitation from a model that is an economic drain, to one that creates opportunities through environmental impact and global, financial savings and revenue opportunities from biogas and fertiliser sales.”

WASE now plan on expanding its research and development to install a new pilot system in Italy. Systems are also planned to be built in Kenya and Benin, where fuel shortages have meant that children are required to take firewood to school as to cook their meals. Tom explains that WASE’s system can replace the need for firewood with the biogas that it generates.

The wastewater solutions company also won £10,000 and first place at the NACUE’s Varsity Pitch Competition earlier in November. It also won the Shell Smarter Future award in January 2018 as well as the UK Energy Innovation Award in 2017.


To learn more about the work that WASE is doing, go to their website.

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