Almost 400,000 children in India under the age of five die each year from diarrhea-related illness, and fecal-oral transmission can largely be blamed for this.
To fix the problem, business partners Anisha Shankar and Mario Varon want to implement a pathogen-free system of human waste disposal in Indian communities where waste is often dumped into rivers by vacuum trucks where it pollutes water supply for everybody else nearby.
Instead, Tansa Clean wants to connect these vacuum trucks to an anaerobic biodigester, which uses microorganisms to break down biodegradable material like human waste in the absence of oxygen. The new “waste” product turns into biogas, which can actually be used again for renewable natural gas or transportation fuels.
Shankar and Varon are partnering with a biodigester operator in the state of Maharashtra in India to test the system and plan to create a small network of vacuum truck operators. They are looking to raise money to get Tansa Clean off the ground and test the delivery system.
Tansa Clean is a recent graduate of Fledge, an incubator program like TechStars, but with a focus on “conscious companies.” There are others, including The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, also thinking of ways to turn sewage waste into usable byproducts