CROSSING THE INNOVATION CHASM

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We help implement environmental technologies in countries around the World

Simbuka Technological Innovation Ltd - Simbuka is a Social Enterprise registered in Rwanda that positions environmental technologies and solutions for private sector investment and scale through technology validation and identification of an appropriate business model. Simbuka develops and implements adequate pilot programs to ensure the required resources are available and demonstrate economic viability in Rwanda and across the continent. By leveraging existing non-government and government programs in envionmental management, WaSH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) and manufacturing, Simbuka identifies appropriate partners to integrate innovation into the wider socio-economic framework, thus safeguarding continuation beyond initial deployment.

 

Bringing innovative technologies to market requires bridging the divide between a basic research discovery and a viable product or marketable technology. In the WaSH context, a social enterprise can be a key element of the business model to help drive commercialization in frontier or emerging markets or markets at the Bottom of the Pyramid. While operating with the financial discipline, innovation and determination of a private sector business, Simbuka was primarily established to generate social value. Success of new and disruptive WaSH technologies also relies on the readiness of the environment in which they are to be deployed. Therefore, ensuring that an appropriate ecosystem exists is key to long-term impact.

About us

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Dr. Ngaboyamahina is the Founder and Managing Director of Simbuka. He's also a Research Scientist at the Duke Center for WaSH-AID (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Infectious Disease) located in North Carolina (USA), where he leads R&D activities that encompass waste treatment and technology transfer under the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-supported Reinvent the Toilet Challenge. The Center for WaSH-AID is an intensely collaborative translational research team, working closely with academic, non-profit, and private industry partners to facilitate the development and sustainable deployment of novel technology-based health solutions around the world. The Center leverages partnerships to fill critical technology gaps and to increase the likelihood that user-centered sanitation innovations will advance from concept to market, creating lasting, large-scale impact. WaSH-AID also oversees the Sanitation Technology Cluster (STC) – a global network of 24 partners striving to accelerate the commercialization of sanitation technologies in emerging economies.

Dr. Ngaboyamahina lived in 6 countries across 3 continents and speaks several languages. He completed his Ph.D. in Process Engineering and Advanced Technologies from Pierre and Marie Curie University (Sorbonne University) in 2014. He received in parallel an MBA from the Collège des Ingénieurs in Paris (France).

Prior to forming Simbuka and joining the Center for WaSH-AID, Dr. Ngaboyamahina worked with established French companies. With the Commercial Strategic Directorate of Eléctricité de France (EDF), the main French electric utility, he analyzed the Energy Efficiency Obligation (EEO) schemes, also known as “white certificates”, from an economic perspective and in collaboration with the French Agency for the Environment and Energy Management (ADEME). At the Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA) – whose missions are equivalent to those of the US Department of Energy- he developed innovative materials for electrical vehicles’ batteries and supported technology transfer to industry partners.

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Edgard Ngaboyamahina Ph.D, MBA

 

Founder and Managing Director

  • Bottom-up approach

  • Local market oriented

  • Promotion of disruptive technology solutions

  • Capacity building of local technical ability to design, build and service

Value Proposition

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Problem:

Across the world, WHO estimated that 2.3 billion people still did not have basic sanitation facilities such as toilets or latrines in 20151. Poor sanitation, which is widely accepted as a chief contributor to waterborne diseases, is the cause of more than 1,200 deaths of children under five-years-old per day, more than AIDS, measles, and tuberculosis combined2. Inadequate sanitation and hygiene are estimated to have caused more than half a million deaths from diarrhea alone in 20162. Yet, there is still typically no treatment system in place to deal with fecal sludge, cost-efficiently and in an affordable way. There continues to be volumes of waste discharged directly into rivers, streams and oceans. Furthermore, 12.4% of the global population practice open defecation1. Preventable diseases such as diarrhea linked to open defecation and poor fecal sludge management are among the highest causes of illness and death, especially of children, in Africa. Pathogens in human waste contaminate water supplies used for recreation, washing and even drinking. Thus, pathogens come back to humans through many fecal-oral transmission routes. Additionally, it causes damage to the marine environment and poor water conservation at a time when many are predicting that a global shortage is imminent.

 

Approach:

Traditional centralized wastewater treatment systems are increasingly demonstrating environmental, economic, and social limitations that cannot be ignored3. These energy-intensive and chemical-dependent systems are giving way to more sustainable approaches, with decentralization being a key component. Benefits of decentralized systems are lower costs4 for water supply and infrastructure maintenance, resource efficiency, and private or micro-financing5. On the African continent in particular, decentralized waste treatment systems are one solution to the problem of open defecation that creates vulnerability, particularly for women and children who are exposed to a loss of dignity, abuse, or harassment while defecating in the open. Focus on systems that can remove pathogens from waste and recover valuable resources such as energy, clean water, and nutrients (fertilizers) can help protect fragile soil and groundwater ecosystems, while empowering disenfranchised communities.

 

[1] World Health Organization: www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sanitation

[2] Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: www.gatesfoundation.org/What-We-Do/Global-Growth-and-Opportunity/Water-Sanitation-and-Hygiene

[3] Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund: Why Decentralize Wastewater Treatment?

[4] Cost Benefit Analysis for Centralized and Decentralized Wastewater Treatment System (Case study: Surabaya Indonesia)

Maria Prihandrijanti, Almy Malisie and Ralf Otterpohl - 2008.

[5] World Bank: Vietnam, Urban Wastewater Review, 2013

On-site Approach

We are currently exploring pilot opportunities and business models for technologies developed by the Duke University Center for Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Infectious Disease (WaSH-AID), North Carolina State University and Triangle Environmental.  Examples provided below.

Technologies

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S.H.E. – Safe Hygiene for Everyone - Menstrual Hygiene and Health (MHH) is a neglected sanitation topic in emerging markets, and menstrual waste disposal is particularly absent in many shared and public settings. Waste streams are growing with increased urbanization and access to disposable products. Safe, discreet and compact disposal options, such as the S.H.E., can empower women and girls, support better health and a cleaner environment. S.H.E. is a fully automated, sterile, sanitary pad disposal unit engineered to provide dignity and privacy, waste reduction and safe hygiene. With a capacity of up to 15 pads at a time and a processing time under 15 minutes, S.H.E. thermally treats pads between 800 and 900°C, emitting virtually no smoke and producing minimal ash.  Center for WaSH-AID, Biomass Controls

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The Reclaimer - The Reclaimer is a liquid processing unit designed to rapidly treat blackwater and greywater to ISO 30500 standards, enabling onsite reuse and water conservation. Buffered batch processing allows the system to accept liquid during operation (100-200 L/day). Liquid waste from household or community toilets, dewatered sludge, and septic tanks can be treated. The Reclaimer unit combines three treatment modalities into a compact, automated system ideal for urban environments. No additional water is required for operation. External power required ranges between 20 - 1350 W.  Center for WaSH-AID, MSR, Cranfield University, Triangle Environmental

The Flexcrevator - Pit latrines receive an estimated 0.6 billion kg of feces and 2.1 billion kg of urine from 1.77 billion people around the world every day. These latrines fill quickly with rags, plastic bags, bottles, and hair. When there's no room in the pit, fecal sludge has to be removed before transport and treatment. While mechanized ways to extract fecal sludge such as vacuum trucks exist, these devices are expensive and clog from high volumes of garbage. 

Trash often forces people to perform the dangerous job of emptying latrines by hand with rudimentary tools like buckets and shovels. The Flexcrevator surpasses current emptying practices by enabling fast, safe, and hygienic fecal sludge removal. The device is the only all-in-one machine that simultaneously removes fecal sludge while excluding trash. The machine is composed of two parts: (1) The Portable Vacuum System is a custom vacuum that pumps sludge from the pit and into storage barrels. (2) The Trash Excluder is a vacuum attachment that features a rotating head. The head’s unique design and motion prevents trash from entering the machine. Operators have the flexibility of connecting the Trash Excluder to the Portable Vacuum System or to vacuum trucks directly. The Flexcrevator empowers pit emptiers to collect smooth, trash-free sludge ready for off-site transport and safe disposal. The innovation brings emptiers around the world an effective and clean method to manage fecal sludge at an affordable price. North Carolina State University, Triangle Environmental

News

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The Rwandan Young Professionals Conference in Indianapolis, IN - USA

Dr. Ngaboyamahina was invited by Pr. John Musiine, President of the United States Rwandan Community Abroad (USRCA), to participate in a panel discussion on health and education. The goal was to explore how the initiatives like Simbuka could support Rwanda’s economic development.

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Lecture at the University of Rwanda in Kigali

Dr. Ngaboyamahina was invited by Amb. Dr. Murigande, Deputy Vice Chancellor Institutional Advancement at the University of Rwanda, to give a public lecture on the social and economic issues pertaining to ineffective WaSH management and discuss how decentralized technologies can help adress these challenges.

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Interview with Rwanda Broadcasting Agency's Andrew Kareba

Dr. Ngaboyamahina was interviewed during Waramutse, the national broadcast news show. The exchange focussed on how entrepreneurship and technology transfer can support shaping the aspirations of the current and future generations.

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Dr. Ngaboyamahina wins the prestigious Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship 

In collaboration with the University of Rwanda, Dr. Ngaboyamahina will seek to develop joint global health-related projects to provide assistance and inform policymakers on emerging issues due to rapid urbanization. The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program (CADFP) is a scholar fellowship program for educational projects at African higher education institutions. The fellowship funds African-born scholars to develop curriculum, collaborate on research projects, and mentor or train students at an African research university. Offered by IIE in collaboration with the United States International University-Africa, the program is funded by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. 

Technology Licensing Agreement between Simbuka and Duke University

We have signed a Licensing Agreement with Duke University to bring S.H.E. and the Reclaimer - two decentralised innovative technologies - to the EAC market (Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan and Burundi).

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© 2019 by Simbuka Technological Innovation Ltd

Rwanda