Getting biomass to be seen as sustainable solution in the energy transition in Africa

Dorcas Aid International


Modern cooking technology uses less fuel. Biomass obtained sustainably to produce these fuels locally contribute to environmental conservation while improving livelihood income, family health etc. But where is the commitment to overcome the barriers?

A new day in Somali region. Aida goes out to look for illegal firewood. Since she moved, together with thousands of Internally Displaced People (IDP) to this area, she can see that firewood is getting scarcer. And cooking on a three stone fire needs large amounts of firewood. With firewood getting scarcer, every day is a new struggle. This could easily be reduced if she would be able to use modern cookstove and fuels.

Nyala is part of a cooperative group and they started with the production and sales of improved stoves and briquettes. As the town electricity supply is hardly working, their group mostly relies on diesel to run their machines to grind the biomass. This raises the cost of the briquettes above the price for firewood and charcoal. Although people like to buy the briquettes it is mostly affordable to the host community and not to the IDPs.

The river 20 kilometre from the village where Aaron lives, has a large potential to grow bamboo that will provide him with an income. Aaron sees that bamboo is a valuable product and that, if he starts the business of growing bamboo, he would be able to earn a sustainable income. On one hand from the sales of the bamboo and on the other hand from selling bamboo waste to briquette producers. Bamboo is a good source of biomass to produce fuel briquettes.

Multiple benefits are achieved when briquettes production becomes a viable business case that can be scaled and compete with charcoal prices. It would create jobs and opportunities for income generation, enhance restoration of the natural environment, reduce the burden and exposure to smoke, improve family health and reduce CO2 emission.

Is it possible to create viable Small Medium Enterprise (SME) business cases for carbonized biomass briquettes, without using fossil fuels in the production process? If you could advise us on this issue or if you want to collaborate with us in this process, feel free to contact us.

Contact Ester Mgina
Thematic Expert WASH, Entrepreneurship & Resilience
Dorcas Aid International

This call will run on a rolling basis with the final deadline on 21st December 2020


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