Stephanie Lansing Researches Renewable Energy in Haiti
Stephanie Lansing loves researching the bowels of renewable energy. The assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Technology is working on capturing human waste in Haiti to heat homes, cook food, and generate power—while keeping methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, from escaping into the atmosphere. Lansing’s focus is on shrinking anaerobic digesters, which break down material to produce gas that can be trapped and used, so even individual families can obtain and afford them.
The former Peace Corps volunteer is also simplifying these systems for locals to use. “Two-thirds of the country does open defecation,” she says, because the country doesn’t have an adequate waste management system. Lansing’s system links communal toilets to the digester systems, then pipes the gas back into homes, hospitals, or other buildings, improving sanitation and saving fuel. Eventually, she hopes to combine the digesters with new microbial fuel cells, which efficiently create electricity and water directly from waste.