Cooking with gas: Teenager brings poop power to Kenyan school

Story highlights

  • A Kenyan teenager is using biogas in his school's kitchen
  • Extracting gas from human waste saves the school money
  • The system took a year to build
  • Methane gases in biofuel still harms the environment
CNN Marketplace Africa covers the macro trends impacting the region and also focuses on the continent's key industries and corporations

(CNN)When Leroy Mwasaru's school in western Kenya faced a sewage problem, the teenager and a group of friends set out to fix it.

It all started after tractors clearing land for the construction of a new dorm at the Maseno school near Kisumu encountered pit latrines. During the building process faeces started leaking into a nearby stream.
"There was uproar from the local community," Mwasaru recalls. "It was the only source of fresh water, and nobody wants faeces in their water."
    At the time, the school was using firewood in the kitchen. Forests around the school were being eroded by the school's growing demand for timber, and smoke was damaging the lungs and eyes of the cooks.
    Mwasaru came up with a plan to solve the problem by using human waste to power the gas stoves -- all whilst keeping up with homework and exams.
    "There were some people who thought it would not work -- the attitude was very negative," says Mwasaru, who is now 17. "We came up with workshops in the school and in the community to convince people, and the re