Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Human Poop Could Be A Green Energy Source, Israeli Researchers Say

Raw human excrement potentially can be converted into a safe, reusable fuel and nutrient-rich fertilizer, researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev found.

Scientists at BGU’s Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research discovered that they can use a chemical process of hydrothermal carbonization to heat solid human waste in a “pressure cooker,” transforming it into hydrochar, a reusable biomass fuel resembling charcoal. They published their findings in the “Journal of Cleaner Production”.

The Ben-Gurion researchers conducted similar research last year on turkey poop.

The findings have the potential to aid the energy issues plaguing much of the developing world, especially with global demand for energy per capita expected to peak in 2030, The Guardian reported.

Sanitation is also a global crisis. For example, according to the World Bank, only 5% of urban wastewater in Indonesia is safely treated and disposed of.

“Human excreta are considered hazardous due to their potential to transmit disease,” said Prof. Amit Gross, director of the Zuckerberg Institute. “While it is rich in organic matter nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, human waste also contains micro pollutants from pharmaceuticals, which can lead to environmental problems if not disposed or reused properly.”

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.