Model & Strategy
Safisana has developed an integrated, circular-waste management system for use in developing countries. Safisana collects human and organic (food) waste that would otherwise pose a health hazard and transforms it into energy and fertilizer in a self-sustaining model.
Through a novel modification of existing technology—including an anaerobic digester and a combined heat and power generator—Safisana collects waste; converts it into electricity, water for irrigation, and compost; and sells the products locally. By looking at human and organic waste as materials with value, Safisana turns the byproducts of waste treatment into revenue, while delivering vast improvements in health and sanitation in slum communities.
Aart van den Beukel has over twenty years of entrepreneurial experience in establishing sustainable businesses. Prior to founding Safisana, Aart co-founded a bakery in Amerstdam, which quickly progressed to a wholesale bakery and catering business. Soon it was time for a new challenge and Aart responded to the ask of leading Safisana, the world’s first complete circular industry; disposing of organic waste to provide sustainable energy and compost.
From an idea of the founding partners Aqua for All, Royal Haskoning DHV and the Dutch top tier bank Rabobank, Safisana was born. All three partners had different motivations for embarking on the Safisana journey, yet had one thing in common: a vision around the value of solid waste and wastewater. All three of them held their own pieces of the complex puzzle of creating value out of waste and shared the realization that they needed to join forces to maximize their mutual impact. Aart had the ambition and drive to enable the group to set up a showcase factory in Accra, Ghana. Commercial operations began at the factory in September 2016 and proof of concept was established in 2018/19 with current plans for global scale-up. For his vision and leadership, Aart was awarded the Sarphati Sanitation Award in 2015 for the most promising sanitation business case by a young entrepreneur and the Doing Business in Africa Award in 2017.
Safisana currently operates a facility in the Ashaiman slum in Accra, Ghana, where it collects and processes 20% of the waste produced by a community of 250,000 people and converts it into revenue-generating products. It is reducing the health and environmental burden of toilet waste in the community, producing green energy and creating local jobs.
Safisana aims to replicate this model across Africa, building three additional facilities and expanding to other countries including Mali, Zimbabwe, and Uganda. By 2025, Safisana expects to have 3 large reuse plants in operation.