DLSU Wins P13 Million for Research on Turning Toilet Sludge Into Fertilizer

Toilet sludge could be so valuable.

De La Salle University (DLSU) captured the attention of British diplomats and scientists with its research on converting wastewater or toilet sludge into nutrient-rich fertilizer. The study is titled Water-Energy-Nutrient Nexus in the Cities of the Future and aims to find a sustainable alternative to importing phosphates as fertilizer for farms in the Philippines. The research project won P13 million from the Newton Fund of the U.K. government.

“About half of it we will use to develop a system for farms. We have a sister school, De La Salle University Araneta, which has a farm in Bulacan…The farm caters to less-privileged students, like farmers' children. We will try to use the grant first to support research in that area,” said Michael Angelo Promentilla, who is the head of the research project and professor at DLSU in a report by Rappler.

Promentilla is a full professor at DLSU's Department of Chemical Engineering. In a video ointerview with the British Embassy in Manila, Promentilla explains that the wastewater from the millions of households in the cities flow out to bodies of water, polluting them. 

According to Promentilla, it is possible to recover these household sludge that have polluted bodies of water and convert them into nutrient-rich plant food, solving two problems at the same time. His research can be used by water utilities to increase the sanitation coverage in cities. 


The Newton Prize is an official development assistance (ODA) project of the U.K. under the Newton Fund. The Fund is in partnership with 17 countries around the world, including the Philippines. Every year, encourages research and innovation to solve some of the most pressing challenges in the world through the Newton Prize.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor-at-Large
Mario Alvaro Limos is features editor-at-large at Esquire Philippines, and heads the Lifestyle and Esports content of SPIN.ph as its section editor. Email him at [email protected] and [email protected]
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