SHIFT – Turning Poo to Power for Pakistan

 

SHIFT – BIOGAS Project for Pakistan

Every year over 3.5 million people die to due to inhalation of unsafe energy for cooking such as firewood. Safe cooking gas, albeit a necessity is an unattainable luxury for the people living in the rural villages of Pakistan.

Shift took inspiration from a UN report highlighting the potential of waste and discovered a way to convert cow dung into biogas; a safe fuel to use for cooking.

About the founders

fahad-tariqShift was founded by Fahad Tariq who has a vast experience in capital markets as well as charitable work. Shift is also led by Waleed Chaudhry who has experience in a tech company as well as the World Bank. The Pakistani region is handled by Rehan Cheema who has field experience in refugee camps.

Vision

Shift was founded with a vision to spark a revolutionary shift in the way people think about waste. Even a mere thing as cow dung can be utilized in a way that can benefit so many houses and save people’s lives. Shift wants to kick start a poo-volution!

How Shift works

The term used to effectively describe the conversion of poo into power is anaerobic digestion. Anaerobic digestion has been around since a long time but people have been oblivious to the usefulness of it.

fuel-collection.jpg

Shift has made two fully functioning energy domes in June 2017 in partnership with research universities in Canada. This has enabled Shift to maximize gas output using the same amount of poo.

The domes are made of bricks and concrete and require no maintenance. A main objective during the designing of the dome was that they last decades with a durable, simple and fuss-free design. A farmer has to load 150kg/4 wheelbarrow worth of cow dung mixed in water into the dome.

shift-dome-1

The dome is encapsulated in an oxygen-free environment that results in bacteria naturally breaking down the waste and releasing methane gas and carbon dioxide aka biogas. The gas rises up to the top of the dome and is supplied to people’s kitchens through a pipe line that links the dome to the stoves in houses.

The gas also pushes down the solid waste in the dome which is used as a nutrient rich fertilizer in the farms. This impressive method results in no waste getting wasted and is definitely a win-win for everyone!

Challenges Addressed

Shift aims to target two problems with their revolutionary technology.

1. Safe energy for people

Unsafe energy for cooking leads to many illnesses and deaths every year. These deaths and illnesses can be easily avoided by using a safer form of cooking fuel. Gas or biogas is exactly that. It is clean, safe and environmentally efficient. Moreover, for those villages without electricity, this gas can also be used to power lanterns.

2. Prevention of climate change

Cow waste releases up to 15% methane gas in the environment that is a main cause of global warming. By using methane gas to make biogas, the environment is also being protected from more pollution.

Achievements

One dome can effectively fulfill the cooking needs of 25 people for the rest of their lives. What can be a bigger achievement than that! However, the achievements of Shift can be described as three-fold:

Individual level

Free resources, safe cooking fuel and gas for lanterns leads to a higher quality of life.

Community level

The reliable energy source leads to high productivity as does the good quality fertilizer from the domes.

Global level

Reduction of methane gas in the environment prevents climate change, reduces greenhouse gases, and saves millions of lives that were being lost due to unsafe cooking fuel.

Way forward

Shift is aiming to build more and more domes in the rural areas of Pakistan especially Kakka Kolu and Khipro. It takes $2000 to make one dome that includes material, labor, paint, equipment, etc. Hence, Shift hopes to raise $20,000 to build 10 energy domes in Pakistan. The general population is welcome to fund this innovative and useful venture.

Sources

Shift – Turning Poo into Power
Google Images – Fahad Tariq’s pic is courtesy of Twitter Display Pic

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