Who are we?

A volunteer group of Seattle-based engineers, architects, and helpers, from all around the world. The idea for this project was conceived by Garry Porter in 2003. Five years ago we formed a team and began tackling the issue. We meet as a full team every 3 months, with a technical subcommittee which meets monthly.

Mission Statement
We are designing and implementing a solution to the environmental impact of human waste in the region of Mt. Everest base camp. Our solution is based on using off-the-shelf low technology systems. The system will provide direct and indirect benefits to the people of the Mt. Everest region.  Our design must recognize the extreme environment, remote location and lack of infrastructure in the remote villages in the vicinity of Mt. Everest.

Near Term Goal
The near term goal is to evaluate a biogas digester’s effectiveness in converting human waste at the low temperatures at Gorak Shep (elevation 5,180 meters/17,000 feet), followed by the construction of the biogas digester system at Gorak Shep. The system will provide methane gas and fertilizer for crops for the local community.

Long Term Goal
The long-term goal is to utilize 100% of the human waste from the base camps of Mt. Everest, its surrounding peaks and trekkers expeditions to Gorak Shep.  Hundreds of other locations can benefit from high altitude biogas digesters to improve the lives of the people and the environment by reducing pollution, deforestation, health risks and costs to obtain alternate fuel sources.

The Team

Dan Mazur
Nepal / Tibet Liason Manager

Dan holds a PhD. degree in Urban Planning. Through the Mt. Everest Foundation for Sustainable Development in Nepal and Tibet (MEFSD), he has built schools and health clinics for local families in remote districts of Nepal. He has also summited Mt. Everest multiple times and is employed by Summit Trek where he leads climbing and walking trips to Nepal and Tibet.

Garry Porter
Program Manager

Garry is a retired Boeing Company Program manager with over 34 years of engineering/program management experience. He holds a MS degree in engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology and an undergraduate degree in civil engineering from the University of Nebraska.

Nate Janega
Sr Project Engineer

Nate Janega recently earned his Masters Degree from the University of Washington’s Civil Environmental Engineering Department.  His interest in biogas technology started while earning his BA in Biological Chemistry from Grinnell College.

Michael Marsolek

Mike is an Asst. Professor of Civil and  Environmental Engineering at Seattle University, with a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University. He has experience operating lab-scale bioreactors and testing biogas potential of different digester feeds.

Joe Swain
Lead Architect

Joseph Swain is an architect based in Seattle. He has worked on biogas-integrated projects in Massachusetts and Washington states, and has design experience in India and Sri Lanka. He holds an M.Arch from the University of Washington and a B.A. in Mathematics from Brown University.

Affiliated Organizations

  • Engineers Without Borders USA – Appropriate Technology Committee
  • Gorak Shep Tea House Owners Association
  • Gorak Shep Porters
  • Sherpas from Khumbu Valley
  • Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC)
  • Biogas Support Program – Nepal (BSP)
  • Mt. Everest Foundation for Sustainable Development (MEFSD)
  • Puget Sound Professional Engineers chapter of Engineers Without Borders
  • Architects Without Borders (Seattle chapter)
    • Architects Without Borders is a volunteer-based global network of architects who collaborate with underserved communities to design and implement ecologically sensitive, culturally appropriate, and life-changing projects. AWB-Seattle has several active projects in Nepal and has been involved with the planning and design of the digester shelter for several years.