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Next Big Thing

Troy Hodges
Conservation and Resource Studies '13

Troy Hodges (far right) with John Palfreyman PHOTO: Akua Nkrumah

Following graduation, I spent my summer in Ghana as a Cal Energy Corps intern with Waste Enterprisers, a startup waste-to-fuel company. In Accra, Ghana, sanitation is an elephant in the room — fecal sewage is dumped directly into the ocean without any treatment, polluting swathes of beaches and adversely affecting local health. Working as a process engineer, I conducted research on methods for drying fecal sludge to use as a biomass fuel to replace coal for energy needs. Putting a value on sewage as a resource has a twofold benefit: creating a profitable platform for sanitation services while producing a renewable fuel source.

"Putting a value on sewage as a resource has a twofold benefit: creating a profitable platform for sanitation services while producing a renewable fuel source."

My studies were crucial in giving me insights to work on this interface of health, environment, and energy in both technical and social avenues. Inspired by my experiences with the Fossil Free Cal campaign at Berkeley, I reached out to the Ghanaian Youth Environmental Movement and worked with them in organizing a rally protesting a coal-fired power plant proposal in Ghana that was rushed through without government transparency.

In October, I started interning with the International Renewable Energy Agency in Abu Dhabi as a climate analyst researching best policy practices for national green growth strategies. I am fascinated with the dynamic intersection of science and policy and am eager to sponge up whatever new experiences come my way.