Combustion System for Solid Biomass Fuel

A Gasification System for Efficient, Low-Cost Removal of Waste

At a Glance

Researchers at the Energy Institute at Colorado State University have developed a fully automated combustion system for solid biomass fuels. This system is designed to destroy pathogens and bacteria, recover valuable by products, and sanitize biomass waste such as human feces. The system operates efficiently and effectively to sanitize “off-grid” and low-cost, potentially bringing hygienic sanitation to many parts of the world.


Worldwide, 2.5 billion people lack adequate sanitation facilities. Modern sanitation systems require large amounts of land, energy, and water infrastructure to operate, and are susceptible to natural disasters or changing seasons. These poor public health facilities contribute to unsafe water sources, disease and pathogen outbreaks, and preventable illnesses and deaths every year.


The developed combustion system utilizes gasification to neutralize solid biomass waste with low emissions. An updraft configuration allows for the recycling of exhaust gas to dry incoming biomass, and the startup, steady state, and shutdown sequences have been determined.

An example of the toilet and combustion system is shown here, exampling the small footprint and simple design.


  • Hands-off system removes human workers from unsafe conditions
  • Efficient burn cycles offer faster sanitation than current methods
  • Small system footprint
  • Reduced use of resources, such as land and water
  • Reduced emissions


  • Solid biomass waste treatment for multiple types of biomass
    • Human
    • Dog/Pet
    • Industrial, such as wood, paper, crop waste, etc.
  • Rural areas, developing communities, and military bases
  • Wood pellet stoves
Last Updated: November 2022
An image of the toilet and combustion system described

Available for Licensing
TRL: 5


John Mizia
Jason Golly
Maxwell Flagge

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Aly Hoeher