Sowtech Flexigester aids underdevoped countries

Dr. John Mullett has spent his working life in the organic waste industry, having achieved his PhD investigating the effects of oil pollution on algae, he continued in the algae field investigating the commercial uses for seaweed. John has extensive experience in organic waste treatment industry within the UK and Internationally.

“The software is fantastic, but useless without support. Without a shadow of doubt, I would not have been able to create the Flexigester without the Innova Systems Technical Support Team.”  Dr. John Mullett SOWTech C.I.C

Dr. John Mullett has spent his working life in the organic waste industry, having achieved his PhD investigating the effects of oil pollution on algae, he continued in the algae field investigating the commercial uses for seaweed. John has extensive experience in organic waste treatment industry within the UK and Internationally. Following a consultancy visit to Ghana, he realised that there were parts of the world with much greater needs than the UK and that he wanted to use his knowledge and expertise to help those people. That was the birth of Sustainable OneWorld Technologies (SOWTech) C.I.C. Using John’s talent for innovation and thinking outside of the box, he is providing systems for taking organic waste (human, animal or vegetable), treating it to recover the energy and nutrients in it and producing a non-fossil fuel derived gas for cooking with and a pasteurised fertiliser for improved crop growth.

SOWTech have partnered with Butyl Products Ltd, a UK company who are international suppliers of emergency water storage and distribution equipment, temporary camp services and geomembrane linings. This partnership is a collaboration between two companies with different backgrounds but a common goal; to use their knowledge and expertise to help to transform unsanitary organic wastes into renewable resources.

Together, SOWTech and Butyl Products Ltd (BSP) have begun production and distribution of The Flexigester for underdeveloped countries. BSP are now working with UK and international charities to supply Flexigesters into communities in Africa and India. BSP are also working with travel companies who practice Responsible Tourism, companies who put something back into the villages in rural communities where western tourists stay and visit.

The Flexigester is designed for use in emergency aid situations, temporary camps and medium sized communities or institutions. It has a reinforced black rubber body with solid plastic turrets and discharge pipe. The Orca valve is a free standing plastic structure connected to the Flexigester and biogas storage bags by a series of solid and flexible pipes. The system is delivered complete and ready to use with minimal installation using hand tools. There is no pit to dig, only a shallow trench and no concrete or bricks to lay so it is ready to use in hours not weeks.

Working with the International Red Cross and Aquaid Lifeline, SOWTech have supplied the first community based Flexigester in Namisu, Malawi. The community has begun producing biogas and pasturised liquid fertiliser for crops, very soon after implementation of the Flexigester. AquaAid Lifeline supports over 3000 orphans in Malawi. They have built an orphan village called Namisu, which is near Blantyre. Namisu Orphan Village has a school, which over 500 orphans from the surrounding area attend during the week. There are also 7 “houses” in each of which orphans who have no living relatives can stay. Up to 20 children live in these houses, looked after by housemothers. Children attending the school are given food, clothing and essentials to take the pressure off their guardians. The village is almost self-sufficient, growing all its own food and employs carpenters, administrators, farmers and tailors. It also has a shop which surrounding villagers can buy from. Sanitation is a basic human right but it remains a key health issues in the developing world. Over a third of the human population does not have access to adequate sanitation. The Flexigester is an innovative way to bring low cost sanitation in the form of anaerobic digestion to the people who need it. It allows the waste to be collected and treated in a fully enclosed environment, close to the source of production.

john mullettWhen John started to realise his project and its scale he knew he would need a 3D CAD tool. He choose SOLIDWORKS. In his opinion there was no need to evaluate any other CAD tool due to the reputation that stands before SOLIDWORKS. He knew “it was the only system he wanted to use”. When deciding who to partner with, John had key criteria in mind; honest company values, highly qualified and approachable technical support team and a company that would be able to create a partnership with SOWTech that went beyond a soft ware purchase. He chose Innova Systems Experts in SOLIDWORKS Training & Support.

John comes from a biology background so engineering and CAD are not second nature for him. SOWTech are an incredibly busy company and with that John is very pushed for time and had to hit the ground running designing using SOLIDWORKS. Here at Innova Systems we understand the business reality that means whatever you do you need to be contributing to that business as quickly as possible after new soft ware implementation. John has taken advantage of the SOLIDWORKS Subscription service which includes access to the very latest SOLIDWORKS soft ware and service packs, telephone, email, remote and onsite support. This has given SOWTech the flexibility to design products with the Innova Technical team plugging the gaps. Our technical team are expert in SOLIDWORKS Training & Support and understand that sometimes you just need someone at the end of the line to help. John comments “the soft ware is fantastic but useless without support, without a shadow of a doubt I would not have been able to design the Flexigester without the Innova Systems team.”

When John begins a design project he always starts with pencil and paper, as most designers do. However for John gett ing his sketches into SOLIDWORKS as a 3D model as quickly as possible is essential. When working in the International Aid arena, you are determined by very strict cost and feasibility criteria and as such the functions available in SOLIDWORKS, such as Bill of Materials are of great value helping John determine the best possible design at the lowest cost possible. John comments “the bill of materials function in SOLIDWORKS is critical to SOWTech’s success”. SOWTech are in the early stages as a provider of aid products and look forward to design and supply more sanitation and waste facilities which can really change the lives of people using them. Mark Bradford, Managing Director at Innova Systems – Experts in SOLIDWORKS Training & Support commented “We are incredibly pleased to be working with SOWTech who offer their vast knowledge and experience to aid developing countries.

SOWTech are a great example of a company who have taken advantage of the capacity SOLIDWORKS creates and our technical team and the support they provide”. If you would like to find out more about SOWTech and the Flexigester please visit

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