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Terra Preta - The Future of Sanitation? Linking sanitation, agriculture, soil protection and climate change

WECF hosts 1st International Terra Preta Sanitation Conference in Hamburg, August 29-30

20.08.2013 |WECF

The result of Terra Preta Sanitation

Terra Preta Sanitation – An interdisciplinary approach

The first international conference on “Terra Preta Sanitation” (TPS) is held on the 28th -31st of August at the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH). The Institute of Wastewater Management and Water Protection (AWW) and the environmental network WECF host this professional event under the patronage of the Federal Ministry of Environment. You can read the full press release here

This event has to be seen against the background of 2.6 billion people worldwide without sufficient sanitation. The well-known and expensive sanitation and waste water system “Flush and Forget” is no sensible solution for this problem and, therefore, new alternative approaches are necessary. It is important to link the sectors sanitation, agriculture, soil protection and climate change. TPS stands for a sustainable toilet system and for waste water management, respectively, and refers to the rediscovered black soil from the Amazon (Terra Preta di Indio). Terra Preta is among the most fertile soils worldwide and according to most recent research results it is mainly compounded from organic waste, including toilet waste and charcoal. Technologies for the joint production of energy and biochar from organic waste are an integrated part of TPS. They should be adapted to decentralized sanitation systems. At large scale, also electric power can be produced together with biochar.
This two day conference will enable over 100 experts from universities, environmental organizations and other non-governmental organizations from 20 countries to exchange information about possibilities and potentials of this new approach.
The conference will close on August 31 with excursions to Terra Preta pilot projects in Hamburg. The second excursion will take participants to another settlement project in Allermöhe with composting toilets working successfully since years.


For registration for the International Terra Preta Sanitation Conference, click here. Not sure if you will registrate? Take a look at the interesting programme and the excursion here.

The original call for abstracts is available on the TPS website and or can be downloaded here

All papers accepted for presentation will be published in proceedings available at the start of the TPS conference. A selected number of papers of good quality will be considered for scientific publication, following a regular peer-review process.Please do not hesitate to contact the organising secretariat for any questions!


  • Institute of Wastewater Management and water protection at TUHH
  • GFEU e.V.
  • WECF


  • Institute of Environmental Technology and Energy Economics at TUHH (IUE)
  • German WASH Network
  • BDZ

Supporting institutions

  • International Water Association (IWA)
  • SuSanA
The conference is co-funded by the German Environmental Foundation (DBU)
The conference is under the patronage of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)

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