ESA title

Space For Sanitation

  • Activity Feasibility Study
  • Opening date 05-09-2018
  • Closing date 26-10-2018


In 1999 the United Nations acknowledged that the development gap between rich and poor countries was widening: about three-fifths of the world's population lacked access to basic sanitation and one-third did not have access to safe drinking water. In spite of many initiatives and efforts, the sanitation issue is still largely unresolved; it is estimated that 2.3 billion people - primarily in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean - still lack access to basic sanitation (toilet). To address this challenge, in 2015, the global community adopted a Sustainable Development Goal dedicated to clean water and sanitation (SDG 6). Target 6.2 under this Goal calls for, “by 2030, achieving access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and ending open defecation.”

ESA business applications in cooperation with Toilet Board Coalition ( will be launching a new Invitation to Tender in Q3 2018 to assess the technical feasibility and viability of space-based services in support of sanitation for developing economies, and will establish the roadmap for service implementation through potential follow-on demonstration projects.

Toilet Board Coalition is a business-led partnership addressing the global sanitation crisis by accelerating the Sanitation Economy; it brings a network of business partners and sanitation development stakeholders, as well as experts from the global sanitation community. The Toilet Board Coalition will provide specific use cases and requirements derived from its two funded pilot projects, each assessing scalability of the Sanitation Economy.


Space assets integrated with terrestrial technologies are instrumental to address the needs of the above identified economic sectors and user communities.

Smart Sanitation and Circular Sanitation Economies (see topic of relevance below) require in-situ (sewage/soil/water) sensors communication to data repositories; the remoteness of the targeted rural areas calls for networks based on Satellite Communications (SatCom) or hybrid terrestrial-SatCom solutions.

Toilet, Smart and Circular Sanitation economies all require a great deal of environmental (landscape/land use, environmental risk, and water quality) and socio-economic data (number of households, size/growth of settlements and industrial activities) that can be provided from Satellite Earth Observation (SatEO) imagery.

Satellite Navigation (SatNav) can be used to geo-reference collected in-situ sensors’ data in order to support geospatial processing.

Human Space Flight spin-in technology in the areas of water recycling and sanitation ( Melissa mission ( is a candidate smart sensor solution for both smart sanitation and circular sanitation cases.


The Sanitation Economy monetises toilet provision, products and services, biological resources, data and information to provide benefits across the economy and society. Sanitation market requirements relevant to the study belongs to three distinct, mutually supporting sub-economies:

- Smart Sanitation Economy, which builds on the sanitation infrastructure to provide health information insights. This approach entails the installation of smart sensors into toilets and sewage systems to provide rapid data collection and analysis of health indicators.

- Circular Sanitation Economy deals with the cost-effective reutilisation of human waste, together with other biological waste, to produce a wide range of products, such as: agricultural products, energy, water, protein, etc.

- Toilet Economy, which is related to the provision of basic sanitation services (i.e.: community and household toilets) for low-income countries; this mainly focuses on toilet construction, operation, maintenance and cleaning.


We offer funding and support to companies for business case assessment, as well as the development of new space enabled products and services addressing the sanitation economy.

-  Zero-equity funding up to €200K per activity

-  A personalised ESA consultant

-  Technical & commercial guidance

-  Access to our and Toilet Board Coalition network of partners


We are looking for a network of technology and business partners that can deliver sustainable services for sanitation in low-income countries in the areas of Circular Sanitation Economy and Smart Sanitation Economy in particular.

Motivation, business experience and domain expertise are key.

But most importantly of all, we want to hear business ideas that are economically viable, technically possible and involve either space tech or data; such as satellite Earth observation, satellite navigation, satellite communications, spaceflight technologies.

Space for Sanitation concerns ARTES IAP Element Phase 3. For this call, companies residing in the following Member States will be eligible to apply: (AT, BE, CH, CZ, DE, DK, FI, FR, GR, IE, IT, LU, NL, NO, PL, PT, RO, SE, UK).


This webinar has now taken place, please find the slides from the webinar attached below.