Research and Development

Research and Development

Some of the important technology-centred research projects carried out by the Academy are as under:

Twin Pit Pour Flush Compost Toilet – (Sulabh Shauchalaya)

The Academy is involved in different research and development activities to promote and implement twin pit pour-flush compost toilets (Sulabh Shauchalayas) at different hydro-geological conditions and for effective killing of bacteria and pathogens in the manure, generated from human excreta.

Sulabh Shauchalay                                                                                                                                        Manure from human excreta

Public Toilets Linked with Biogas Plant  

Public Toilet Complexes constructed and maintained by Sulabh, which have a substantially large number of users everyday, are linked with biogas plants. Academy is engaged in the promotion, design, improvement, liaisoning with different funding agencies, evaluation and monitoring of these community toilets linked biogas plants in India and abroad.

Sulabh Public Toilet linked with Biogas Plant


SET ( Biogas plant Effluent Treatment) System for reuse of effluent

Sulabh Effluent Treatment Technology

Biogas plant effluent contains good percentage of nitrogen, potash, phosphate and other micronutrients for plants. To make biogas plant effluent safe reusable, Academy has developed a simple and convenient technology named as SET (Sulabh Effluent Treatment). The technology is based on sedimentation and filtration of effluent through sand and activated charcoal followed by aeration in tank and finally exposure of ultraviolet rays.

The treated effluent is colourless, odourless and pathogen free having BOD less than 1mg/l. It is quite safe for aquaculture, agriculture/ horticulture purposes or discharge in any water body without causing pollution and health risk. It can also be used for floor cleaning of public toilets in water scarcity areas.

Duckweed based waste water treatment

Treatment of waste water is another major challenge to maintain sanitation in rural as well as urban areas due to lack of affordable technology.  Most of the untreated waste water   is discharged into river or other water bodies. In rural areas it is a common practice to discharge wastewater/sullage without even collection.

Duckweed based wastewater treatment with fish culture

Waste water treatment through duckweed is a boon to overcome the problem. Duckweed – a small free floating and fast growth aquatic plant has tremendous ability to reduce BOD, COD, suspended solids and bacterial and other pathogens from waste water. It is a complete feed for fish and due to high content of proteins and vitamins A & C; it is a highly nutritious feed for poultry and animals. The yield of fish increases by two to three times when fed with duckweed than that with conventional feeds in ponds. Reduction of BOD,COD of effluents varies from 80-90% at the retention time of 7-8 days. The first project funded by the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Govt. of India was completed in collaboration with the Central Pollution Control Board, New Delhi. Based on the results of the project by the Academy, the CPCB has made a guideline on the use of duckweed for the waste water treatment.

Sulabh Thermophilic Aerobic Composting (STAC)

Academy has developed a new technology – Sulabh Thermophilic Aerobic Composter (STAC) that requires only 10 days to make compost from any biodegradable wastes without any manual handling during composting. It is based on thermophilic aerobic method. The technology does not require recurring expenditure.

The plant is G.I. sheet made having double wall filled with glass wool, partitioned with perforated sheet into three chambers. After biodegradation, liquid is collected in bottom chamber that can be easily taken out and used for agricultural/horticultural purposes. Manure that contains 30-35% moisture can be directly used for agriculture purposes or it can be dried, granulated and stored till further use. The practical utilities of this technology are: (i) organic solid waste can be efficiently converted into manure and soil conditioner having direct/indirect economic return, (ii) it will control diseases transmitted from wastes, as at high temperature pathogens are eliminated from the waste, (iii) due to reduction in volume, carriage cost of wastes to disposal site as well as area needed for landfills will be drastically reduced, and (iv) spread of weeds from wastes will also be controlled. The technology is more suited for rural areas as its byproducts (compost) can be readily used for agricultural purposes, and it reduces health hazards.

DEWATS (Decentralized Wastewater Treatment System)

It is generally realized that the centralized treatment of waste water treatment system is not feasible in India and other developing countries due to its high capital, operation and maintenance costs. There is a technological gap between pit latrines and centralized highly sophisticated waste water treatment plants.


A research cum demonstration project on decentralized wastewater system was started by   Academy in the year 1994 in close cooperation with the BORDA (Bremen Overseas Research and Development), Germany and mostly funded by the Commission of the European Union, Brussel, in collaboration with Groupe Energies Renouvelables et Environment(GERES), France, Chengdu Energy Environmental Cooperation (CEEIC), China, and Hangzhou Research Institute of Energy and Environment (HRRIEE), China.

DEWATS plant under construction: Anaerobic Baffled Reactor

The Academy implemented 6 DEWATS plants for domestic and 3 for industrial wastewater treatment of different design under the project. On the basis of experience gained, a book titled DEWATS – Decentralised Wastewater Treatment in Developing Countries was published in 1998 in collaboration with BORDA and was got published in India under ISBN 81-900981-00-1 by Mr. D.P.Singhal, the then Director of the Academy. It explains various types of treatment systems, their performance and designs in detail. The book is proving a boon for disseminating the DEWATS technology in India and other developing countries.

UN-HABITAT Vacutug Development Project

Academy in collaboration with the UN-HABITAT monitored the working efficiency and income generation through Vacutug machine used for desludging sewage from toilet pits from small settlements and clusters, where conventional system of desludging is a major problem under the UN-HABITAT Vacutug Development Project for “Income generation through the provision of integrated sanitation systems for low-income urban communities”

Testing of Sewage and Industrial Samples  

One of the achievements of Academy has been testing of samples. Academy was approved by the Delhi Pollution Control Board for testing samples of effluent from different industrial units in Delhi and also providing adequacy certificate about the quality of the effluent discharged from the effluent treatment of the industries. More than 4000 samples have been tested.

Vacutug Machine in operation