Results 1 to 2 of 2

Thread: Medical Waste Incinerator for Humanitarian Emergencies

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    E. Coast

    Medical Waste Incinerator for Humanitarian Emergencies

    Medical Waste Incinerator for Humanitarian Emergencies

    HIF WASH, Global Health, Public Good, Life Sciences, Engineering/Design, Developing Countries, Requests for Partners and Suppliers, Theoretical-licensing
    AWARD: $20,000 USD | DEADLINE: 11/04/15 | ACTIVE SOLVERS: 35 | POSTED: 9/03/15

    In humanitarian emergencies such as flooding, epidemics, and conflicts, there is a rapid demand for health facilities and therefore also for medical waste management. Temporary burners or small-scale incinerators are usually constructed to deal with the burnable medical waste. However these incinerators often don’t reach sufficiently high temperatures for the necessary duration, are inefficient in terms of fuel consumption and heat retention, and have short lifespans. The higher performing designs can be difficult to construct and operate without specially trained workers, or specialized materials/parts that can take time to source. The Seeker desires a simple, efficient, and durable incinerator that is safe to operate and affordable in low-middle income countries. The design must be lightweight and easy to transport and assemble, or built on-site with accessible skills and materials.

    This Challenge requires only a written proposal.

    Source: InnoCentive Challenge ID: 9933340

    Challenge Overview

    Humanitarian challenges globally are growing in frequency and complexity, and innovative solutions are needed to support affected communities during the acute phases of an emergency such as flooding, earthquakes, epidemics, armed conflicts, and displacement.

    Medical waste management is a key concern during such emergencies. Temporary burners and small-scale incinerators are constructed to deal with the rapidly growing medical waste. Often these are made from oil drums and other easily accessible materials. Beyond the acute phase humanitarian workers try to construct more durable incinerators, but these are often limited by the availability of trained staff, and ability to source specific materials/parts such as heat-resistant cement or bricks.

    As seen in the recent Ebola outbreak, these solutions can be ineffective and humanitarian workers are concerned about factors such as disinfection capacity, volume reduction, operation and maintenance, sustainability, and environmental pollution. Exposure to medical waste poses a significant human health risk. Direct contact may result in transmission of infectious diseases and improper disposal of these hazardous materials may lead to pollution of the environment and drinking water.

    A higher performing alternative solution is urgently needed to burn medical waste in humanitarian settings. The Seeker desires a simple, efficient, and durable incinerator that is safe to operate and affordable. The solution must meet specific temperature and fuel requirements. The solution would either need to be lightweight and easy to transport and assemble in an emergency context, or a simple design that can built on-site easily with basic skills and locally accessible materials.

    Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on November 4, 2015. Late submissions will not be considered.

    This is a Theoretical Challenge that requires only a written proposal to be submitted. The Challenge award will be contingent upon theoretical evaluation of the proposal by the Seeker.

    To receive an award, Solvers will not be required to transfer their exclusive IP rights to the Seeker. Instead, Solvers will grant to the Seeker a non-exclusive license to practice their solutions. The Seeker may choose to sub-license the solution to a third party for manufacturing and development.

    Up to 3 awards of $5,000 will be given to the best submissions as solely determined by the Seeker. An additional award of $15,000 may be paid to a Solver whose design concept is ready for and capable of being reduced to practice (a prototype that can be tested) by the Seeker in collaboration with partner humanitarian agencies.

    Submissions will be assessed by a panel of experts in the humanitarian sector, including representatives from leading agencies such as Médecins Sans Frontières and Oxfam. At the conclusion of the Challenge the winning Solvers will all be announced on the Humanitarian Innovation Fund’s website. The winning Solvers will be invited to participate in an Incinerator Innovation Workshop in which designs will be installed and tested in a simulated emergency context. Additionally the winning Solvers will be given the opportunity to work closely with humanitarian agencies to improve and implement the solution.


    The Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) supports organizations and individuals to identify, nurture, and share innovative and scalable solutions to the challenges facing effective humanitarian assistance. HIF is a landmark grant-making fund and represents a collective effort to enhance the contribution of innovation to improving operational humanitarian performance at the field level. Water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH) challenges are a thematic priority for the fund, and this work is supported by a Technical Working Group of academics and leading practitioners who are actively engaged in humanitarian activities.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    This is interesting stuff.

    I have burnt a reasonable amount of bio-waste in the 3rd world. Never a pleasant task, especially when done haphazardly or without a solid plan.

    I have made three De Monfort University incinerators. Two Mark 1's which were operational and a Mark 7 for an non-operational experiment. Simple design, totally applicable to remote, austere, third world, disaster medicine. They are now at Mark 9 it looks like. Getting secondary combustion chamber temps of 1400 F and a feed rate of about 500 syringes an hour. Nothing but good things to say about them and they became the workhorse of the clinics I was working in. Little slow to construct if you are making the pieces, but much better than open pit burning or burying only to find the local kids digging through your used syringes the next day looking for treasure or dogs digging up disposed surgical tissue and running around the village with them.

    Worth a look at if you need to burn nasty stuff. Fun, lowish cost ($300-700) project, that meet none of the required EPA guidelines, but works really well. Still a controversial topic in humanitarian / third world medicine communities, mostly with the loudest people having never been sitting in the middle of nowhere with piles of medical waste building around them and no shortage of patients which generate waste.

    Info and plans here:


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts