Farzana Mubassira, Tasnim Ahmed Tahasin, Mehedi Hasan Bappy and Mostafizur Rahman are undergraduate students from Military Institute of Science and Technology (MIST). At the first Hult Prize competition, organised by MIST in 2017, they introduced a digester called Laister, which creates an affordable cooking solution for families. It is installed on rooftops and uses collected waste materials to produce gas for household supply. People will be paying the team directly for the gas. The objective of Laister is to convert any form of organic and inorganic waste materials into gas. Inorganic waste materials such as plastic and paper will be collected by Laister as raw materials for industries that recycle inorganic waste. Kitchen waste, cow manure and even human faeces can also be used to convert energy into gas. The cost of renting Laister is estimated to be around BDT 7,000 per month.
The team claims that the digester would help change the lives of 10 million people by harnessing energy in the next seven years. They combined their educational backgrounds in Petroleum and Mining Engineering and Industrial Production Engineering to eliminate the crisis of energy in Bangladesh through biogas technology.
They initially came up with the concept when they decided to try and make biogas technology portable. Then, they delved into researching other existing digesters. Based on the ideas they had already accumulated and their research of other existing digesters, the founders consulted their seniors and professors about the ways in which to improve and elaborate the design of Laister. It took them nearly two years to develop and create the pilot model of Laister. They also attempted to communicate with people from underprivileged backgrounds, their target audience.
The founders participated in several competitions after conceiving the idea of Laister. They were the first Bangladeshi team to be selected as finalists in The Singapore International Foundation (SIF)’s Young Social entrepreneur (YSE) competition. If they are selected, their final pitch should provide them with the prize money as their capital. The other competitions they received recognition in were: IEEE Women in Engineering, A21 Women’s Innovation Camp and BRAC Urban Innovation Challenge.
Currently, the founders are focusing on launching their pilot model of Laister, with an emphasis on kitchen waste. They intend to see the outcomes of the project in Dhaka first. The team has contacted several slum dwellers, in collaboration with BRAC, to identify the types of problems in slums. Many slums at Bhashantek have clay stoves, due to low gas pressure.
The team of Laister intends to reach several sustainable development goals at once, after receiving their certification of safety. In addition to garnering potential customers and investors, they hope to see a greener Bangladesh in the future.