Safisana biogas digester

Making electricity and fertilizer from biowaste and fecal sludge

Image sourced from:
Energy: Biogas
Waste: Composting
Waste: Waste-to-energy

In Accra, 65% of the municipal solid waste generated is organic, and 73% of households use on-site sewer services as opposed to a sewer network. Household and communal toilets are drained mechanically and the fecal sludge is often not treated or safely disposed of, posing numerous environmental and health problems. In an effort to address sanitation challenges, Royal Dutch Shell, Royal Haskoning DHV, Rabobank and Aqua for All joined forces to develop and test a circular business model that converts organic waste into valuable products for resale. Safisana aims to demonstrate a financially sustainable business model that creates local employment opportunities whilst reducing the environmental impacts of untreated waste and electricity generation.


Safisana collects fecal matter and organic waste from abattoirs, food processors and markets, and processes it into biogas, fertilizer and water via an anaerobic digester. The biogas is converted to electricity and sold to the national energy company, generating the bulk of revenues. Residue from the biodigestion process is turned into a nutrient-rich organic fertilizer and soil conditioner, while the wastewater is treated and used for irrigation. The facility treats 3,600 tonnes of organic waste and 9,700 tonnes of fecal waste annually.

Social Impact

Safisana facilitates safer and cleaner environments by providing a place for fecal sludge to be deposited and treated instead of being dumped illegally in watercourses and public spaces. This reduces diseases and vermin, as well as the pollution of waterways and soils. Safisana partners with public toilet operators to educate them on cleanliness and improvements to the customer experience, helping them to earn more. The free collection of organic waste from markets makes it easier and cheaper for vendors to dispose of their organic waste properly. Vendors are also taught about separation-at-source, ensuring better quality organic waste and recyclables.

Environmental Impact

The biogas generated by Safisana contributes low carbon electricity to the national grid, whilst reducing the methane emitted by decomposing organic wastes. The organic fertilizer provides a substitute for artificial fertilizers made from fossil fuels, and is currently being trialed on cocoa farms in Ghana. It is hoped that after the trial period, the organic fertilizer will be certified by the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) for broader adoption. The wastewater from the biodigestion process is treated in water ponds then used for irrigation by local farmers.

Success Factors

Grants and funding have been important in Safisana’s success, and it has benefitted from exposure in the media and reports. The local municipality has also been critical in supporting Safisana’s vision by providing a plot of land for the facility in 2012. The support from the suppliers of waste such as the market vendors, toilet vendors and other corporate organizations has also been important.


Safisana provides a cleaner environment for about 80,000 people through the services they provide. Safisana employs 40 people, and works with about 200 local small to medium enterprises including public toilet vendors, transport operators and market vendors.

Founded in


Project type
Founded by

Aqua for All

Trust or Foundation
Founding Organisation Two

Royal Dutch Shell, Royal Haskoning DHV & Rabobank

For-profit organisation
Founding Organisation Three

Trust or Foundation
Operated by
No items found.

Safisana Ghana Ltd

Households reached
UN Sustainable Development Goal(s)
Last edited on:
September 11, 2023
Shared on:
September 11, 2023

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