Kenya is rich in forest area, with 1.7 millionhectares of forests. However, continued reliance on wood-based charcoal has led to deforestation at an alarming rate. Additionally,In many regions of the developing and emerging markets, proper management of organic waste represents a significant and continued challenge.
Bio-digestion, composting and waste to energy represent possible solutions to this problem. However due to technological, infrastructural, and logistical reasons these technologies have not hit the mark. Could the commercialisation of charcoal briquettes derived from organic waste be the answer?
In late February a nationwide logging ban was announced in Kenya to allow for reassessment and rationalisation of the entire forest sector in Kenya. This was in response to increasing deforestation, droughts and human encroachment upon valuable forests and agricultural land.
Since then, greeen energy startups have taken several steps towards a green economy and developed a strategy to consolidate, scale up and embed green energy growth initiatives in national development goals.
Lumbrick is a clean energy social enterprise recycling organic waste from Kenya and Sub-Saharan Africa to produce clean cooking fuel for people who use charcoal. The briquettes burn twice as long as traditional charcoal without emitting any smoke.
They design, produce and distribute carbonized and non-carbonized heating briquettes using recycled organic waste collected from different areas in Kenya. Providing affordable substitute eco-fuel in Kenyan households and industries.
‘We believe that every human being has a right to clean and affordable energy. Our role is to facilitate the shift in the use of dirty fuels to affordable modern environmentally friendly charcoal. We aim to keep these institutions running while conserving the environment.’ Says Sarah Pellerin, CIO Lumbrick.
Ishow ASME 2018 winners Bentos energy also uses innovation and technology to produce sustainable green energy solutions for both households, social and industrial institutions.They make charcoal briquettes that can be burnt for industrial and domestic capacities.
‘We use community based organizations that provide waste from the hotels and dumps. Then process this waste to affordable and smokeless charcoal briquette and organic fertilizer and sell to low income earners whos problem is high cooking fuels’ says Ishmael Hezekiel, COO Bentos Energy.
Briquetting machines use high pressure to mold loose biomass waste into compact and solid fuel blocks that can be used for cooking, boiling water or heating rooms, among other uses.
Over ten years ago when the poorest residents of Nairobi started making briquettes out of charcoal dust, they were trying to solve an immediate household problem of unaffordable fuel. Today, their work is helping overcome some of Kenya’s capital city’s most intractable headaches—poverty, unemployment, and poor waste management—and contributing to the country’s sustainable development aspirations, too.