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A prActitioner’s journAl on household energy, stoves And poverty reduction
A prActitioner’s journAl on
household energy, stoves
And poverty reduction

Boiling PoinT / 54 / 2008

iSSuE 60 — 2012


Energy Market and Enterprise Development

Analysis of micro energy enterprises in East Africa – p2 Practical Action’s Participatory Mapping tools to improve bioenergy markets – p6 Three step approach to a financially sustainable renewable solution – p10 Preview of IIED’s report on delivery models for rural electrification – p38

plus agricultural biomass in power generation, Alliance’s ISO standards for cookstoves and more…

A publication of the

Theme A prActitioner’s journAl on household energy, stoves And poverty reduction Boiling PoinT / 54 /
Theme A prActitioner’s journAl on household energy, stoves And poverty reduction Boiling PoinT / 54 / * Full article online * Author profile and latest contact details * Article websites Meet * Full article online * Author profile and latest contact details * Article websites Meet

* Full article online * Author profile and latest contact details * Article websites

Meet us @HEDON * Full article online * Author profile and latest contact details * Article websites Meet * Full article online * Author profile and latest contact details * Article websites Meet * Full article online * Author profile and latest contact details * Article websites Meet




Energy Market and Enterprise Development

The provision of energy services is key to the reduction of poverty and the achievement of other development objectives. However, for the benefits to flow continuously, the supply of services needs to be sustainable. In all but the direst emergency situations, the best way to achieve such sustainability is through encouraging financially viable energy enterprises working in a stable energy market. * Full article online * Author profile and latest contact details * Article websites Meet

I n this issue, we focus on how to develop and support new energy

enterprises and explore ways in which to better understand

local energy market conditions. GVEP International [page

2] has assisted 835 businesses through training and mentoring and providing access to financing, and CEO Ben Good gives some specific advice in Helpline on page 17. Practical Action Consulting [page 6] introduce their Participatory Market Mapping tool and describes its use in Kenya and Sri Lanka. Another approach to market mapping is described on page 13. Ashden Award winners, Rural Energy Foundation of Senegal describe [page 10] how the creation of a financially sustainable supply chain has enabled 500,000 households in 9 countries to get access to modern energy services. In our regular Viewpoints section on page 19, we hear from a stove producer in Zambia, and also gain an insight into Kickstart International’s rise in supporting smallholder farmers’ businesses across Africa.

HEDON is also delighted to be working with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. On page 28, the Alliance’s strategy document, Igniting Change, is introduced. This lays out their three-pronged approach to creating a global market for clean cookstoves. Also in our News section is information on GVEP International’s activities as well as those of GIZ, who also support HEDON. Our Toolkit from Mercy Corps on page 34 takes you through the maze of the carbon markets with some example projects to follow. IIED previews a report of three case studies on the introduction of mini-grids on page 38. Finally there are two general articles: on page 42 on Biochar and on page 46 on Paraffin use in South Africa. We hope you find something of interest in this edition and look forward to receiving your feedback. The success of Boiling Point depends on us receiving relevant articles, so please look at the call for papers and get in touch with us at

Best regards,

The Editorial team

Boiling Point. issue 60 — 2012






Female number


Male number


Mixed groups





Improved cook















Solar phone









Battery charging







Micro energy enterprise development in East Africa:










Table 1: DEEP Entrepreneurs as per technology areas of their businesses








Challenges for marketing technologies

(Source: GVEP)








Keywords: Enterprise development; East Africa; Market opportunities

THEME THEME Technology Female number % Male number % Mixed groups % Theme number Improved cook


Kavita Rai

Programme Manager, GVEP International Head office, Fifth Floor, Totara Park House, 34-36 Grays Inn Road, London WC1X 8HR, UK

Laura Clough

Technical Liaison Officer, GVEP International PO Box 76580-00508, Nairobi, Kenya

This article provides key findings associated with the development of micro businesses in East Africa through the Developing Energy Enterprises Project (DEEP). This five year capacity building initiative led by GVEP International aims to assist energy entrepreneurs in peri-urban and rural areas of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to improve their business skills and achieve growth. This is done through the provision of technical support for quality products and services, linkages to financing, and by addressing marketing challenges, as briefly summarised in this article.

Figure 1: An energy entrepreneur in Nakuru, Kenya supported by the DEEP Project (Source: Kavita Rai)


Energy access:

A s Africa’s population continues to rise, the demand for domestic and institutional energy increases.

Access to grid electricity across East Africa is low: just about 14% in Kenya, 11% in Tanzania and about 5% in Uganda. Households typically rely on kerosene lamps or candles for lighting, dry cell batteries for any electrical items and biomass fuel for cooking and heating. To meet the challenge of attaining the Millennium Development Goals, energy access is an issue that needs to be high on the agenda. While government policy and subsidies have their role to play, the domain of micro and small enterprises is also crucial to meeting the energy needs of rural communities more effectively.

Enterprise Development

The definition of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) varies throughout the countries of East Africa but is usually defined in terms of number of employees, capital investment and turnover. The majority of MSMEs mostly operate in the services and trade industry or artisan activities such as carpentry, masonry, barber/beauty salons, food vending and small scale trading. In East Africa, micro enterprises in particular are often expected to collapse after two years of operation. Under rural conditions, delivering a successful energy business can be challenging as linkages to appropriate suppliers and financial institutions are weak, and markets are limited. These constraints added by the lack of consumer awareness and low purchasing power, contribute to the high failure rate of many enterprises. In addition, the enabling environment for these enterprises to grow is extremely weak.

Despite these challenges, a study in Kenya found out that MSMEs make up over 90% of the country’s private sector (Ernst & Young 2009). These enterprises boost employment, use local resources and create linkages between small and large enterprises.

About the Developing Energy Enterprises Project – East Africa

The Developing Energy Enterprises Project (DEEP) East Africa funded by the European Union and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a five year initiative established in 2008 to provide the crucial support necessary to enable the development of a sustainable and widespread industry of micro and small energy enterprises in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The project was designed recognising the constraints and challenges faced by the energy entrepreneurs, especially the lack

of business and technical capacity and inadequate access to finance. Focussed on overcoming these constraints, as well as targeting improving access to energy for rural and peri-urban populations, GVEP International has been implementing the programme with partners in the region. DEEP supports the energy entrepreneurs by assisting them with the identification of viable energy market opportunities, technology options, and service structures to generate revenue and sustain business. The programme also assists entrepreneurs through training and mentoring to develop business plans and access the necessary financing, thereby enabling businesses to survive and grow sustainably. By December 2011, there were 682 entrepreneurs, out of which 137 had diversified into more than one energy business. Table 1 provides the breakdown of the total 835 businesses according to technology areas, with the majority in Improved Cookstoves (ICSs) (44%), solar technologies (26%) and briquette technology (17%). Out of these, 57% of businesses were run by males, in comparison to the 42% being female and 1% being mixed groups.

The process

The implementation of the DEEP programme has undergone many changes since its inception. A typical initial project design around community mobilisation, and capacity building proved insufficient for the micro entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. Although many rural markets rely on charcoal or wood for cooking, and kerosene or paraffin for lighting, it was decided in the second year of implementation that the programme will move away from dirty fuels and instead push for cleaner alternatives and a better understanding of the Base of Pyramid (BoP) markets. By 2011, the focus had changed to provide more support to the entrepreneurs who have the real capacity to grow their businesses, and a methodology around key supply chain linkages was developed for new entrants. Direct funding of businesses is not an option within DEEP, but entrepreneurs

are informed that viable businesses can be assisted in linkages to financial institutions to access finance. Once the entrepreneurs are recruited into the programme, they are taken through a technical and business development training programme by business development staff. A basic business plan is finalised to be used by GVEP International to create linkages for potential financing. After the training programmes, group networking and information sharing sessions are also held. These assist the entrepreneurs to share ideas, learn about new technologies and link in to new suppliers and to each other. In addition, both technical and business mentors provide support to each entrepreneur on a one to one basis.

Factors that affect the technology areas chosen by the micro entrepreneurs and BoP markets

Within the DEEP Programme, a few technologies stand out, often because of external interventions such as donor influence, or because the market demands it. The data on Table 1 shows that female entrepreneurs are more common in the areas of ICS and briquettes. Within the ICS sector, men tend to predominate in cladding and stove assembly, whereas women are active in liner production of the locally produced cookstoves. In briquette production, women are more engaged due to the low capital requirements in the initial stages. However, briquette businesses using machinery and/ or making briquette equipment are usually owned by men who are likely to have had some technical training. This data confirms that female entrepreneurs tend to be engaged in businesses that do not need a high level of capital, are low technology and deal in products that can sell to immediate markets. Female entrepreneurs are also generally less mobile than male entrepreneurs. As a result, men have a higher level of access to information and an ability to source products for sale. While accessing credit, women are challenged more as they often lack awareness of existing credit schemes

and more importantly, lack collateral required for loans. Thus, women tend to borrow less than their male counterparts and their loan applications are more often rejected (Kariuki, Balla 2011). Key factors that determined the technol- ogy areas chosen by the entrepreneurs:

— Focus on solar and ICS by donor led programmes: The market reach in the rural areas are limited to solar and ICS technologies, as most donor related activities or programmes have been pursued in these two areas in the last few decades, in all three countries. For example GIZ and Practical Action have focused on cookstoves made and assembled by men and women groups, and artisans. The International Finance Corporation led ‘Lighting Up Africa’ programme has a big focus on LED lighting for BoP markets whereby the product has been developed as a single affordable kit rather than a more complicated expensive system of panels, batteries, cables, bulbs and controllers. — Short life span energy technologies:

If an entrepreneur sells solar lanterns or lighting systems, it will take a few years for customers to make a repeat purchase as the products are durable. Entrepreneurs will need to diversify or spread out their net wider, requiring more skills and resources. Instead entrepreneurs often chose technologies with a shorter lifespan, allowing customers to come back frequently; for example the artisanal cookstoves, phone charging (every few days) or briquettes (potentially daily). — Availability of local resources versus supplier led technology: The uptake of briquette business especially for women has been positive and quick because charcoal waste is readily accessible at a low cost. Similarly, artisanal cookstoves can be made with local resources. Hence it is easier for these entrepreneurs to have a more sustainable business rather than depending on suppliers who are far away. — Changing mind-set: The entrepreneurs trained previously through grant support from development organisations found it difficult to move on to a more commercial



Figure 2: Creating Signboards Energy Findings Recommendations

Figure 2: Creating Signboards






(Source: GVEP)


Phone & Battery Charging

Price of service fairly fixed Location is key Competition exists from similar businesses and those charging from grid electricity Reliant on word-of-mouth and people in the community knowing they exist.


Entrepreneurs need to be located within 5km of main customer base. Need to publicise the availability of the service beyond their shop through use of signboards, leaflets, and announcements. Target any nearby communities where this service is not available.

Solar Lanterns

Pricing is critical Possible revenue could be generated through leasing Customers dispersed over large geographical area


Could employ local sales representatives on a commission basis Need to show customer long term cost savings on purchase Advertise business through local networks, organisations and media.

or programmes such as DEEP. Energy MSMEs sit in a larger value chain and other service providers such as product developers, the media and individuals can

Solar PV

Quality & price critical High cost of system barrier to expanding stock Customers perceived to be mainly male


Could attract more female customers through technology awareness and access to finance. Need to show customer long term cost savings on purchase

contribute to favourable market conditions

Improved Cook

Many business models exist. Some entrepreneurs


In areas where consumers use wood and charcoal, promotional

whether it be through improving product quality, increasing awareness or providing transportation and advertising services. The marketing issues that entrepreneurs face are different for the different energy technologies and the findings in Table 2 are drawn around specific energy technologies. The DEEP East Africa team is


sell direct to consumer whilst others sell to wholesale buyers. Competition is high with producers operating close to other businesses Distribution of stoves is a major challenge

messages should focus on monetary and fuels savings. In areas where biomass is freely available, messages should focus on time savings and health benefits. For those selling direct to consumer, product must be conveniently located i.e. on routes out of town. For those selling to wholesale buyers, they should actively seek new markets and supply product samples.

model of business. The DEEP East Africa programme is changing this by emphasising that energy business is like any other business through the training programmes and associated support. Group networking sessions are arranged where energy entrepreneurs who have

areas of the three countries, energy products like the solar LED lanterns are attractive and hence, there are avenues for opening up the market through a better distribution channel. Currently, the customer has to know about the supplier and reach out, rather than the other way round.

currently focusing on activities to improve entrepreneurs’ capabilities in marketing. Facilitators are encouraged to focus on marketing principles regarding product, price, promotion and distribution. Market development support sessions are also organised with a specific focus on


Quality and price is critical In competition with traditional fuel sources such as charcoal Lack of awareness of benefits of product Reluctance to switch from traditional cooking methods


Needs to be as convenient to purchase as charcoal Target potential customer bases such as schools, hotels & restaurants Use of machinery can reduce the cost of briquettes & make them more competitive Free samples should be given out to potential new customers.

perfected the art of running businesses are invited to share and exchange

In the rural areas, the micro entrepreneurs are also defined by the limited geographical

responding to individual challenges. Such group networking sessions also encourage

Table 2: Findings and recommendations (Source: GVEP)


information and experience. — Technical skills and knowledge:

zone of operation. Despite the need to step up the energy ladder to LPG or biogas for

entrepreneurs to make new links with suppliers and potential customers.

Figure 3: Product packaging

Figure 3: Product packaging


Entrepreneurs are likely to take up energy technologies where they have existing skills and knowledge. For example, entrepreneurs from areas in Kenya where

cooking or larger solar panels for lighting, BoP customers often have low purchasing power making it difficult for those micro entrepreneurs dealing with larger energy

Profile of the authors

Ernst & Young., 2009. Consolidated regional report - Provision of consultancy services for

Kariuki. P, Balla. P., 2011

pottery making has been passed down through generations, have also adopted ICS liner production using their existing skills. However, without specific training it is difficult for entrepreneurs to enter this market. The DEEP programme tries

products to grow their businesses rapidly. The entrepreneurs also lack appropriate marketing skills to promote products and services. One of the emerging challenges has been the failure of entrepreneurs to recognise different market segments so as to

Kavita has over 17 years of experience working in the field of energy and has a PhD in Development Studies. She has been involved for many years in promoting grassroots projects to ensure long-lasting access to

Laura graduated with a Master’s

the study on the promotion of small and medium enterprises (SME) in the East Africa region.

Experience of working with women entrepreneurs in East Africa, GVEP International Paper

to overcome this by providing technical training for entrepreneurs as well as encouraging them to expand into new energy technologies.

customise their products in light of different needs, confirmed by a recent DEEP study (Clough, 2011). Many entrepreneurs rely on a small number of households as their main

clean energy. She also holds a close interest in linking poverty to energy policy development. Prior to joining GVEP International, she performed

Clough L., 2011 Marketing Challenges and Strategies for Micro & Small Energy Enterprises in East Africa. GVEP International

Marketing challenges and strategies

customers and face a lot of competition within a local area. They may feel limited in

various international consultancies in renewable energy and social

One of the key factors leading to a successful enterprise is the marketing of the energy products. As markets are defined by factors as mentioned above, it has also been found that there is limited knowledge of the availability of the new energy products (for example, solar lanterns) in the distant rural areas. One of the reasons for low penetration is also because suppliers do not have sufficient marketing and outreach budgets to branch out in rural areas, thereby limiting them to towns and cities. However, with less than 15% electricity access in the rural

the markets they can access by their business location, available stock and finances. There is also a lack of energy product awareness, both by entrepreneurs, in terms of suppliers, and consumers, in terms of the benefits and uses of energy products. However, in light of these challenges, entrepreneurs are engaging in a range of promotional techniques for their businesses, with word-of-mouth being a widely used tool. Advertising opportunities may arise from contacts within local organisations and government departments, and material provided by product suppliers

development. Kavita is responsible for running GVEP International’s regional programmes and works closely with project implementers, private sector companies and partners.

degree in Mathematical Engineering from the University of Birmingham. She provides technical support to GVEP International’s Developing Energy Enterprises Project (DEEP). She has been involved in various studies in the East Africa region, including a Market Study for Energy Enterprises.

(Source: GVEP) * Read article online and comment * Authors’ latest contact details Meet us @HEDON
* Read article online and comment
* Authors’ latest contact details
Meet us @HEDON


THEME Bioenergy market system development: Comparing participatory approaches in Kenya and Sri Lanka Keywords: Market mapping;

Bioenergy market system development:

Comparing participatory approaches in Kenya and Sri Lanka

Keywords: Market mapping; Bioenergy; Participatory approaches; Market analysis

THEME Bioenergy market system development: Comparing participatory approaches in Kenya and Sri Lanka Keywords: Market mapping;


Ewan Bloomfield

Energy Consultant, Practical Action Consulting

The Schumacher Centre for Technology and Development, Bourton on Dunsmore, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV23 9QZ, UK

Figure 1: Bags of charcoal lined up for sale near Kisumu, Kenya, where Participatory Market Mapping was used to strengthen the market value chain (Source: Practical Action)

The Policy Innovation Systems for Clean Energy Security (PISCES) project aims to develop new information in the sustainable use of bioenergy to improve energy access and livelihoods in South Asia and East Africa. This article discusses enhancing the way biofuels are marketed and sold, through a system known as ‘Participatory Market System Development (PMSD)’. This has the potential to increase the efficiency and sustainability of these market systems, with a key tool that engages stakeholders, known as ‘Participatory Market Mapping (PMM)’. The PISCES project is the first to apply such approaches to bioenergy. Workshops were conducted in Kenya and Sri Lanka in 2009 to identify market chain actors, external factors affecting these chains and sub-sector service providers. The lessons learnt show similarities in the challenges faced by both countries, and provide a model for using market mapping approaches for future applications in developing bioenergy market systems.

Participatory Market Mapping

P ractical Action Consulting (PAC)

carried out research as part of the

PISCES project to address some of

the problems associated with bioenergy value chains in Kenya and Sri Lanka through a process known as Participatory Market Mapping (PMM). PMM is a method of analysis, developed by Practical Action, which allows the market actors themselves to produce valuable new

information which policymakers can use in their national planning processes, as well as developers and interest groups in the bioenergy sector. This is done through a participatory approach, where all relevant actors carry out a mapping exercise. By recognising factors that influence market systems, including existing linkages and blockages, they can increase their understanding of how the market needs to change. Once the relevant actors have been identified and engaged, a Participatory

Market System Development (PMSD) approach can be initiated. This involves the different actors of a market chain, from the gathering of the initial resources (such as fuelwood), through to its delivery to an end user, joining together to make innovations as a group using a well-led and structured process that gradually stimulates interest and collaboration (Bernet et al, 2005). Through the PMSD process, the stakeholders can jointly produce market maps, which are graphical representations

Figure 2: Example of a market map

(Source: Albu & Griffith, 2005)

of market system value chains with three main components: the key actors, the services and the external influencing factors (shown in Figure 2). Such a process can encourage understanding of how markets work, both for the actors themselves and the facilitators, in a process where the various components of the chain are openly discussed. The central component charts the market chain and its principal actors; the top component charts the business environment; and the bottom charts the business services that support the chain’s overall functioning. The input of all these active stakeholders contributes to a market map that helps people to make informed decisions and creates a wider range of knowledge than one created by a single analyst. The process of producing the map, including the structured dialogue between actors from different areas of the market chain, is a learning and development process in its own right. The map is kept by the actors who can use and improve it with time. [More can be found about the PMM and PMSD approaches on Practical Action’s website, under PMSD Roadmap.] (see @HEDON).


Biomass is the most commonly consumed form of energy in Kenya at about 68% of the national consumption. The charcoal industry employs over 700,000 people and represents the country’s second largest rural industry (ESDA, 2005), with charcoal providing energy for 82% of urban and 34% of rural households (Wa Gathui, 2010). Presidential decrees of the 1990s banned its manufacture due to alarming rates of deforestation, but as no alternative household fuels were identified, production was driven underground. However, the Kenyan Government recently started to recognise its importance as a form of household energy in the national economy and developed policies to promote its sustainable production and marketing. Nevertheless, gaps in the charcoal value chain have yet to be addressed to enable truly sustainable commercialisation within the industry.


Enabling Environment

Business Trade standards Finance policy Land registries regulation Knowledge of Tax & tariff regime Contract Low
Trade standards
Finance policy
Land registries
Knowledge of
Tax & tariff
Low official
Q.A Institutions
mass markets
Small- scale
Business &
extension services
Facilitation of
Input supplies

Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, biomass makes up 47.4% of the primary energy supply and is important to a range of energy users, from households and industrial companies to large and small power generation (Nissanka and Konaris, 2010). Although 70% of national bioenergy in consumed in the informal sector for domestic cooking and industrial purposes, it has still not been exploited on a large scale by industries operating within the formal economy. Firewood is Sri Lanka’s main cooking fuel, despite electricity’s availability to 85% of households, and cooking accounts for 81% of total biomass consumption (Nissanka and Konaris, 2010).

Market Mapping in Kenya and Sri Lanka

To enhance knowledge of the charcoal industry in Kenya and the biomass industry in Sri Lanka, PISCES organised training sessions for staff and sector actors in Nairobi, Kenya in 2009, and Kandy and Colombo, Sri Lanka in July 2008 and January 2009, respectively. Following positive reaction to the methodology and approach, PISCES held full PMM workshops in Kenya in November 2009 and Sri Lanka in January 2009, working with relevant Government departments to identify key bioenergy stakeholders. These workshops successfully brought together the main market actors, helping them recognise the services, inputs and linkages that enable progress, as well as identifying key policies and regulations that can potentially constrain the growth of bioenergy market systems, through presentations, group discussions, feedback, conclusions and recommendations. The overall objective was to enable the charcoal and biomass participants

(producers, transporters, retailers, local level administrators and policymakers) to learn and share knowledge on sustainable production and marketing. This enabled them to start the process by identifying gaps in the value chains and devising strategies to address them immediately following the workshop.

Kenya: Promoting and Marketing Sustainable Charcoal Production

The two day long workshop organised by PAC East Africa, allowed comparisons of two existing local charcoal market systems from Kitui and Bondo Districts in the Eastern and Nyanza Provinces of Kenya respectively. Preliminary maps based on research in Bondo and Kitui were developed by PAC East Africa and the PMM workshop allowed actors to identify gaps in their market system, and to use the maps to model how their markets can be improved to affect change. The market map of Bondo is shown in Figure 3. The Kenyan market maps reveal the similarity of challenges faced by charcoal producers and marketers in both Kitui and Bondo. This includes the limited knowledge and use of efficient production techniques; and specifically, in Bondo, the high cost of transporting wood from farms to kilns and of raising seedlings, and the stigma of charcoal farming due to its previous illegal status; and in Kitui, the low and seasonally fluctuating charcoal prices, inadequate information on taxation, erratic implementation of taxation policies and depletion of raw material sources. Through this PMM process, following a review of the models of charcoal production, the market actors and other important stakeholders from the target


Enabling Environment Anti-charcoal attitude in NEMA Lack of awareness about policies, legislation Lack of charcoal standards
Enabling Environment
attitude in NEMA
Lack of awareness
about policies,
Lack of charcoal
Unofficial taxes
by regulatory
Weak market actor
Inhibitive by-laws
Corruption at
Bondo County
Poor road
transport, wholesale,
societies etc
retail points
Market Actors
Schools in Nyanza province
Hospitals and hotels in Nyanza
Urban and Rural households
Lake Victoria
CBOs (Acacia
Security watchman
VI Agroforestry
(Technical support)
Donor, CARPA,
(Tree Nursery)

areas started to recognise how charcoal is a key industry in Kenya. Although the Government has recently led the development of legislation and policies to facilitate sustainable production and marketing, the industry remains affected by many challenges. Market actors currently have limited awareness of these policies and legislation, and there is still an on-going perception of charcoal’s illegality. Additionally, the presence of numerous charcoal taxes and abundance of actors with unclear roles reduce the business’s profitability. Workshop discussions revealed two key issues: a lack of information on how to determine if a business was profitable, and the problems in accessing sufficient credit by those working in this important sub-sector. The workshop successfully brought together key stakeholders, including chiefs from central Uyoma, Bondo and central Kitui; members of local CBOs; senior forest officers; charcoal producers, transporters, brokers and retailers; a Commanding Police Officer; a Director from the Department of Renewable Energy; and a representative from the African Centre for Technology Studies. They reviewed the case studies and developed ideas for addressing the specific gaps in Kenya’s charcoal market. It was suggested that PISCES should extract key issues from the national energy and forestry legislations, and develop a set of simplified materials for policy consciousness (e.g. a charcoal policy summary booklet) and awareness of local authority fees (to help community associations disseminate information). Furthermore it was identified that PISCES and community associations could initiate the development of charcoal standards with the Kenya Bureau of Standards and the Ministry of Energy. To improve the supporting services in the charcoal market system in Kenya, the Kenya

Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) is the ideal institution to lead the performance evaluation of available charcoal kiln technologies, such as prototype brick drum kilns, to foster efficient small-scale production. Establishing demonstration farms in Bondo and Kitui, to exhibit the management of natural tree species for charcoal production, would be best headed by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS). KEFRI could lead research to generate information on appropriate tree species for different ecological zones for the sustainable growth of wood for charcoal. The suggestions for helping market actors include the formation and/or strengthening of the Community Charcoal Associations to coordinate sustainable production and marketing. The workshop also encouraged immediate actions, including establishing demonstration farms in Kitui by KFS and the Ministry of Energy. Charcoal producers in Bondo started to adopt improved kilns to solve the expensive task of transporting wood to central kilns. The PISCES project has developed a Handbook for policy makers and a Pocketbook for market actors, to help demystify the charcoal legislation in the country. It is also addressing a number of other knowledge and practice gaps, and exploring the possibility of initiating similar workshops with its partners in other East African countries.

Sri Lanka - Unblocking the Biomass Market System

Sri Lanka’s PISCES country program focuses on the effective and sustainable utilisation of biomass for energy applications in different sectors, including households, institutional and industrial applications, small village electrification and power generation, all with an emphasis on ensuring energy access for the poor. A PISCES Biomass Policy Working Group (PWG) has been set up,

Figure 3: A Market Map for Charcoal Production in Bondo (Source: Practical Action)

allowing a group of professionals to engage with Sri Lanka’s biomass policymakers.

It is chaired by the Sri Lanka Sustainable

Energy Authority (SLSEA), which identified

that transformation of the market system

is key to promoting the efficient use of

biomass. The PWG conducted a capacity building exercise in 2008 to understand the PMSD process, before carrying out a PMM workshop in January 2009 (see figure 4). The workshop was held to stimulate an in-depth analysis of two bioenergy market systems, selected by PAC and SLSEA, to identify key issues and areas where policy interventions are required: biomass supply to the industrial sector, and commercial fuelwood supply to households and the service sector. As in Kenya, the workshop’s objective was to identify market actors, their interlinkages, external factors that affect the market chain and service providers. It was also hoped to better understand the issues presently facing the sector and their effect on the market system actors, and to develop policy interventions to promote more efficient and environmentally sustainable market systems. The workshop was successful in identifying chain actors, enabling environmental players and service providers to identify their inter-relationships, and, in particular, the issues facing them. However, a full understanding of the flow of biomass along the market chain was not successful, due to the informal nature of these markets and poorly defined materials flow paths (the quantities and types of wood and agricultural residues transported from their source location to where they are used). The proposed recommendations to enhance the biomass market system in Sri Lanka include: establishing an institution with the authority to implement a bioenergy sector policy framework, formulating biomass product specifications (e.g. moisture content and size) with the Sri Lanka Standards Institution, developing a practical pricing mechanism for biomass, and a revolving fund for cushioning price fluctuations. The stakeholders also suggested a review of regulations regarding forestry products and timber transportation and the possibility of using carbon credits and other environmental schemes, such

THEME Enabling Environment Anti-charcoal attitude in NEMA Lack of awareness about policies, legislation Lack of charcoal

as promoting “eco fuels”. Additionally, incentive schemes may be able to encourage private sector participation in the industry. R&D policies and support structures were identified as requiring further work to ensure more attention and funds are allocated to the biomass sector, such as for optimising distribution models, transport solutions, cooking equipment for domestic biomass use and an investigation into a failing 1MW thermal biomass power plant in Walapane, near Colombo. Energy plantations could also be developed with a more holistic view, incorporating all the social, environmental and financial benefits within an economic study. Market actors would benefit from the identification and mapping of available resources and current and future demand to develop a clearer picture of the resource distribution. The PISCES Biomass PWG will follow up with respective institutions to implement recommended actions. In addition, market actors and other stakeholders could form a pressure group to ensure action and continued momentum. They will also assist the policymakers and other institutions by providing industry-related information, enabling them to take informed decisions regarding introducing new policies and/or amending existing ones.


The workshops in Kenya and Sri Lanka demonstrate how PMM can be used to identify gaps in market systems and provide a platform for further PMSD. Bringing together a group of relevant but often disconnected stakeholders allows experiences to be shared, important issues to be recognised and then translate this learning into recommendations for action to help build the sub-sectors.

Such workshops can encourage powerful market actors to be aware of and engage with issues that negatively affect their market chains. This can produce a greater impact when their collective influence is focused on improving policies that can affect even the smallest of market actors. Similarities were noted in both market systems and analysing the maps showed that it was possible for actors from both countries to identify blockages that were negatively impacting their market systems. For example, lack of standards for the weight of a bag of charcoal in Kenya and for biomass moisture levels in Sri Lanka have adversely affected the consistency of bioenergy quality. There are also clear learning lessons for future participatory exercises. The experiences from both countries suggest that a blend of case studies, detailed emerging issues from market maps and specific recommendations should be integrated into the basic market mapping exercise. This was well-demonstrated by the case studies in Kenya and the clear breakdown of issues affecting biomass market systems in Sri Lanka. Recommendations such as KEFRI offering to address knowledge gaps around drum kilns in Kenya should be the kind of outputs that PMM workshops target. PISCES is planning on using the approach developed in Kenya and Sri Lanka to define a bioenergy methodology which can be replicated in both India and Tanzania. As PISCES continues to facilitate new information on what is needed to enhance bioenergy market systems, participatory approaches can be highly relevant for promoting the commercialisation of these industries into well-established and regulated sectors that will ensure energy access for all and improve livelihoods in developing nations.


Figure 4: Participatory market mapping workshop (Source: Practical Action)


Albu & Griffith., 2005. Mapping the Market, Practical Action, http://


Bernet T. et al., 2005. Participatory market-chain approach, BeraterInnen News 1/2005, Lindau, Switzerland.

Nissanka & Konaris., 2010. Bioenergy in Sri Lanka: Resources, Applications and Initiatives, Working Paper for PISCES.

Wa Gathui., 2010. Promoting Sustainable Charcoal Production and Marketing in Kenya: A Comparative Analysis through Participatory Market Mapping, Published Workshop Report for PAC Eastern Africa office.


This report has been produced under the Policy Innovation Systems for Clean Energy Security (PISCES) project, a five-year research project funded by the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom (UK). Project implementation started in July 2007 and will end in June 2012. PISCES is implemented by a Research Project Consortium (RPC) which includes the African Centre for Technology Studies (lead) Kenya; Practical Action Consulting (PAC) UK, Eastern Africa, and Sri Lanka; University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Tanzania; M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), India; and University of Edinburgh (UoE), UK. * Read full article and comment * Author profile and latest contact details * Link
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Market development:

THEME Market development: An efficient way to boost household energy solutions Keywords: Renewable energy; Market development;

An efficient way to boost household energy solutions

Keywords: Renewable energy; Market development; Capacity building; Financial solutions; Energy delivery; Rural electrification

THEME Market development: An efficient way to boost household energy solutions Keywords: Renewable energy; Market development;


Luc Severi

Operations Manager Senegal, SolarNow BV, BP 64503 Dakar Fann, Senegal

Willem Nolens

Managing Director, SolarNow BV, P.O.Box 1307, 6501 BH Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Figure 1: Technical training on how to install a solar system. (Source: Rural Energy Foundation)

At a time where grid extension and decentralized mini-grid projects are still the most common approach to rural electrification, the 2010 Ashden Award winner Rural Energy Foundation (REF) goes about things in a different way. Using a market development approach, REF builds and supports a supply chain from import all the way to the end-user, including end-user finance schemes. The focus is on effectively reducing the three main barriers to growth: availability, awareness and affordability. In doing so, REF has facilitated access to renewable energy to an estimated 500,000 off-grid people in nine African countries, at a support cost of less than US$ 5 per connected person. But most importantly, it has created a financially sustainable supply chain that lasts long after completion of the intervention. What are the keys to this success? - and will market development also work for other energy solutions?

The market fails

W hen passing through an average

African village at night, you

would be lucky to spot an

electrically-lit house. The unfortunate truth is that the spread of modern energy services is still in its infancy in rural Africa. Governments appear powerless, facing growing pressure and high costs for grid extension, while the private sector has often failed to meet the needs of poor people. Non-governmental organisations continue to see energy as a utility, a service people

are entitled to receive, but connecting people to energy without asking for an initial investment is potentially expensive; explaining why most electrification projects only reach a small number of people. There is now growing evidence of a niche for small-scale de-centralised approaches for the supply of modern energy services that meet the needs of poor people on a financially sustainable basis. Renewable energy solutions are often the lowest cost option when the load density is small - such as in remote locations where the power needs are limited.

Many attractive decentralised energy solutions have been developed over the past years. Renewable energy systems for households, such as solar home systems, pico hydro systems and solar lanterns have become cheaper as a consequence of economies of scale and technical advances. Also, as the energy consumption of items such as improved biomass cookstoves, siphon water filters or LED technology has improved, it is clear that rural households can significantly reduce their energy expenses by using these technologies.

THEME Market development: An efficient way to boost household energy solutions Keywords: Renewable energy; Market development;




When the Rural Energy Foundation (REF) started its activities in Ethiopia in 2007, we mapped the supply side of solar energy products. Our conclusion was that there was ONE retailer selling solar home systems outside Addis Ababa. This retailer had to attend to 75 million rural Ethiopians, can you imagine? Why was it then that other retailers did not sell solar? Answers ranged from; “Solar, what’s that?” to “I do not know how to size and install” and “I need to invest too much in stock”. The needs were clear: firstly the retailers needed to be convinced about the opportunity; secondly they needed to be trained not only on technical, but also on commercial and managerial aspects; and finally they needed finance to buy stock. Still, even when offering this, many retailers remained sceptical, asking “will there be demand?” That brings us to the next barrier.


Imagine you have never seen electricity wires or electrical devices, apart from a battery-charged radio. Someone shows you a solar panel. Not being familiar with the solar PV technology is one thing, but not being familiar with the concept of electricity is another matter. It takes time and a lot of campaigns to raise awareness of the technology and its benefits. Even those that claim to know the technology are not always positive, as they only know the technology and price of early types of solar systems.

Households in rural areas want the services that electricity can provide. They want to watch TV, charge their phones, and have the freedom to connect other electric appliances. With an average monthly income of around US$ 100 in rural Africa, most of the electricity solutions seem beyond reach for the majority of society. The barriers can be partially solved by lower-priced products, which have become available in recent years. If households have at least US$ 10 of disposable income per month, a solar lantern is within their reach. The same goes for a fuel-efficient cookstove or a siphon water filter. On the other hand, credit schemes may need to be in place to allow people to spread the initial investment over a period of time. At this time, there are hardly any scalable credit schemes in place to support renewable energy. Financial institutions are not used to asset-based lending, nor do they have the willingness to expand their lending portfolio in the rural areas.

How market development can help: The Rural Energy Foundation approach

REF is a Dutch registered NGO which facilitates access to renewable energy by establishing and supporting entrepreneurs and technicians in solar energy products in sub-Sahara Africa. The focus is on solar home systems, but the distribution network also provides access to solar lanterns, fuel-efficient cookstoves and low-cost water filters. REF has teams on the ground in eight countries in sub-Saharan Africa, employing 39 renewable energy experts who are committed towards a market-oriented, straightforward and low-cost approach.


Figure 2: Village demonstrations to create awareness. (Source: Rural Energy Foundation)

The essential features of the REF approach are:

— To facilitate the building of solar business around existing local retailers — Coaching in both small business management and the technology of solar energy systems — Securing a reliable supply chain — Providing these retailers with working capital and marketing tools. — Once a critical mass of skilled retailers exists, REF initiates marketing campaigns to boost demand and designs and implements end-user credit schemes REF strives to maintain the lowest possible overhead. The operational costs are made possible by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the DOEN Foundation and private individuals.

Step 1: Creating availability

When starting in a new country, the first activity is to identify existing retailers and service providers for renewable energy solutions. While we have found some very good retailers, most of them active in renewable energy sell the products but do not offer customers the necessary sizing advice, installation or after sales services and

warranty. In those areas where no activity in renewable energy is found, shops in hardware or electrical appliances are approached.

“I used to repair and sell TVs and DVDs, but now I’ve had the training, about

half my business is in solar installations.” – Stephen Meana from Mbale, Uganda. Once a retailer has been identified, and he has proven to be committed towards growing the renewable energy business and providing quality advice and products, he/she is invited to enrol in a coaching programme. The retailer’s needs are assessed and a support plan is made, consisting of training sessions in technology, marketing and sales, and business administration (see figure 1). These training activities are initially given on a monthly basis to the entrepreneurs, sales staff and technicians. Also, he receives marketing support consisting of signboards, posters, demonstration units and more. The materials not only support the visibility of the products in the shop, but also facilitate effective village demonstrations. Finally, some retailers are granted loans to start and expand their renewable energy business.


Figure 3: Tanzanian shop owner starting a solar business. (Source: Rural Energy Foundation)

Step 2: Creating awareness

After having established an effective supply chain, it is important to boost demand, otherwise the supply chain will collapse. REF invented the brand name ‘SolarNow’ for its supported retailer network. This brand name not only helped to increase the visibility of the retailers (who painted the name prominently on their walls), but also allowed branded retailers to benefit from large-scale awareness campaigns in the name of SolarNow through radio, billboards and television. The awareness campaigns by themselves do not create much demand; instead they increase the effectiveness of village demonstrations (shown in figure 2), resulting in increased purchases ..

Step 3: Creating affordability

REF’s initial focus was on solar home systems. It was not until 2009 that REF started to diversify to also include low-cost solar PV lanterns. While the demand for these products increases, it is evident that they cover only part of households’ energy needs, while most households cannot afford complete energy home systems. After a number of unsuccessful attempts to involve financial institutions in the chain, REF found it necessary to establish a for- profit hire-purchase company to provide finance to lower-income households. It is REF’s intension to scale up the loan scheme to reach 100,000 households by 2014.

Only the market can do it

REF’s mission to reduce poverty by developing sustainable markets for renewable energy solutions is far from complete. However, the market development activities so far have proven to be successful. From 2007 to 2010, as REF, 100,000 solar home systems were sold. By December 2010 a pan-African distribution network of 277 skilled and SolarNow branded retailers (see figure 3) had emerged, selling around 40,000 solar home systems per year thereafter. The most recent aim of SolarNow is to sell 125,000 solar home systems before the

THEME Figure 3: Tanzanian shop owner starting a solar business. (Source: Rural Energy Foundation) Step 2:

Case study 1: Generating Income from solar in Uganda

In 2009, REF Uganda pre-financed a number of solar systems for income generating activities, like phone charging and electronic barbershops. The purpose of these “pilot installations” was to raise awareness and promote business opportunities. The pilot installations not only boosted demand for quality PV systems, but they encouraged tens of entrepreneurs to start businesses by making productive use of solar energy.

Case study 2: Promotional tour in Senegal

In December 2009, Jasmien Bronckaers of REF successfully performed a major marketing stunt with a retailer based in Saint-Louis, Senegal. With a Citroën 2CV, they drove through 10 villages to create awareness for solar energy and to promote the products of the retailer. If the retailer was initially hesitant about the benefits, they were quickly convinced. In villages where he had previously failed to make a sale, he received more than 10 orders for systems in the month following the demonstration tour.

end of 2015, effectively providing access to energy to 1 million people. As the market developed, REF found that the retailers who have been supported for several years began facing different challenges. These retailers reach a scale where the primary concern is the product’s affordability. They want to transform from solar retailers into household energy service centres, selling other energy products, such as improved cookstoves, pico-hydro systems and household biogas solutions. To address these needs, REF established a for-profit service provider that, for example, offers hire-purchase facilities to end-users, or management of carbon credit schemes for cookstoves. The intention is that these service providers will, over time, take over REF’s role as market developers; not for humanitarian reasons, but because of sound entrepreneurial incentives. Once a well- functioning and competitive market starts to emerge, REF believes that renewable energy household solutions will become the standard energy supply in rural Africa. This will make a perfect showcase, where rural Africa will have overtaken the western fuel-addicted world.

Profile of the authors

Willem has over twelve years of experience in establishing and leading social enterprises in the field of microfinance and solar energy in Africa. He has been leading the SolarNow activities since 2008.

Luc is currently working and residing in Dakar, Senegal, working on the implementation and management of the back-office structures that facilitates and streamlines the in- country operations.

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THEME Figure 3: Tanzanian shop owner starting a solar business. (Source: Rural Energy Foundation) Step 2:
THEME Figure 3: Tanzanian shop owner starting a solar business. (Source: Rural Energy Foundation) Step 2:


Use of agricultural biomass in competing value chains:

Malwa power plant, Sri Muktsar Sahib district, Punjab

Market mapping; Agricultural biomass; Punjab; Electricity generation; Brick making

THEME Figure 3: Tanzanian shop owner starting a solar business. (Source: Rural Energy Foundation) Step 2:


Arivudai Nambi

Project Director, M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation

3rd Cross Street, Institutional Area, Taramani, Chennai 600 113, India

Santosh Kumar Patnaik

Scientist, M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation

3rd Cross Street, Institutional Area, Taramani, Chennai 600 113, India

Figure 1: Feeding biomass to kiln of a brick manufacturing unit in Muktsar (Source: Santosh Patnaik)

Brick making is a traditional industry, generally confined to rural and peri-urban areas (Singh A.L 2004). Apart from coal and briquettes, brick kilns use fuelwood, rice husk and dry dung for firing. Agricultural biomass has many supporters now and competition for biomass use has been gradually emerging in the area. This paper constructs the prevailing and emergent market systems for agricultural biomass through a market mapping technique. It provides a comparative account of biomass value chain along with supporting services and enabling business environments for two emerging uses of biomass, electricity production and brick making. Additionally, the article explores the market drivers and restraints that determine the biomass flow to the respective value chains.


A gricultural biomass has the potential to meet India’s growing energy needs. In 2007-8, 329.7

million tonnes of agricultural biomass were produced nationwide (Ministry of Agriculture 2008). The green revolution has placed Punjab at the forefront of agriculture where wheat production has increased from 1.7 to 5.1 million tonnes during 1965-72 (Zarkovic 1987), while

growth in other agricultural crops has been equally impressive. Punjab occupies 1.6% of India’s land area but contributes to the country’s 42% of rice, 55% of wheat and 24% of cotton production, generating an estimated 22.65 million tonnes of agricultural residues and industrial processing biomass annually. Currently, this biomass is either underutilised or burnt (Financial Express 2006), but it has the potential to generate more than 1500 MW of power (Government of Punjab 2006).

In 2007-8, Punjab’s installed power capacity of 4628 MW was generating 25,369 million kWh of electricity. Total generation is predicted to be about 7451 MW at the end of the 11th plan (2007- 12), against the expected peak demand of 11,000 MW during 2011-12. To address such shortage, Punjab resorts to purchasing power. In 2002-3, Punjab purchased 8213.84 million kWh of electricity from outside sources (PSEB 2003). A gross power purchase of 17,322 million kWh was projected by the Punjab


THEME State Electricity Board for 2010-11 (PSERC 2011). The establishment of independent power plants and cogeneration

State Electricity Board for 2010-11 (PSERC 2011). The establishment of independent power plants and cogeneration units are some of the recent initiatives underway in the state to utilise agricultural biomass. Malwa Power Plant Ltd. (MPPL), Punjab’s first electricity generation unit from biomass, is such an initiative by Dee Engineers Pvt. Ltd. in the Sri Muktsar Sahib district of Punjab (see figure 2). The feedstock used is predominantly of agricultural origin. Although the boiler is designed for burning paddy husk, a range of biomass is being fired in different fuel mixes. In order to meet the biomass demand, feedstock sources have been diversified and the biomass used in the power plant can be categorised as follows:

1. Of Agricultural origin: cotton stick, mustard Stick, wheat straw, paddy straw, Sorgum husk, Moong husk and dry cow dung. 2. From dedicated plantation: leaves, lops and tops of Eucalyptus tereticornis, Napier grass and Saccharum spontaneum. 3. Miscellaneous: wild grasses, weeds, Prosopis juliflora and Sesbaina grown along drains and farm bunds, firewood chips, tree barks, veneer waste and saw dust. Cotton sticks satisfy more than 60% of the power plant’s fuel needs. The total requirement of biomass is estimated to be 65,043 megatonnes and 72,270 megatonnes at 90% and 100% capacity utilisation per annum respectively (UNFCC 2005). The feedstock use profile of the power plant is presented in Table 1. The fuel mix used relies on the kind of feedstock available, and therefore on the region’s cropping patters.

Cropping pattern

The net sown area in the district is 2.43 x

  • 10 9 m 2 , which is 93% of the district’s total

geographic area. The number of farming families in this district was 31,135 and the average size of operational land holding is 70,400 m 2 , compared to 40,300 m 2 in Punjab (Sri Muktsar Sahib District Administration 2010).

Figure 2: Location of the case study area (Source: Sri Muktar Sahib District Administration n.d.)

power plant, there were mainly two uses for it. Firstly, the generated biomass was the principal source of energy at household level; rural households were using an informal market mechanism to access traditional biomass. Secondly, biomass was used as manure; dry cow dung was considered an inferior fuel and mostly used as manure. After the power plant’s commissioning, there was a dramatic change in people’s perception, which had previously been undermining the use of agricultural biomass, particularly cotton stick as a household fuel. From stakeholder interviews and field observations, biomass usage pattern has undergone a significant change, affecting the rural energy supply dynamics.

Market map of biomass based energy production

The market chain

Cotton stick is the most highly procured agricultural biomass from the farmers of villages near the power plant. Informal price determination is currently practiced and usually lasts for one season before changing; there is no existing unified market to determine price. The average cost is Indian Rupees (INR) 700 (US$ 16) per megatonne of cotton stick, whereas Mustard stick is priced at INR 1100 (US$ 25) per megatonne. When purchased from small entrepreneurs, the price increases up to INR 1000 (US$ 22) and INR 1700 (US$ 38) per megatonne for cotton stick and mustard stick respectively. To overcome unforeseen periods of short supply, the power plant’s authorities have undertaken monocropping plantations of

Biomass Procurement Mechanism of the power facility

A massive procurement and storage infrastructure has been created in order to ensure uninterrupted supply of biomass fuel, including the deployment of weighbridges, mobile chipping machines and transportation. Field staff are employed to oversee the procurement process from potential farmers, with surveys conducted to estimate the quantity of agricultural biomass available in villages. Based on this valuation, the decision to establish a procurement centre is being taken by the management. The chipping of the sun dried and stored material is started within 25-30 days after procurement through mobile chipper machines, which can chip about 10-15 megatonnes of dry material daily. Cotton stick is acquired during November and December directly through the collection centres or indirectly by entrepreneurs. Besides agricultural biomass, monocropping stands of Eucalyptus, Saccharum spontaneum and Napier are undertaken to tide over unforeseen spells of biomass short supply. An estimated 4.047 x 10 6 m 2 of Eucalyptus tereticornis plantations have been implemented in the Muktsar and Malout block. Biomass in electricity production is relatively new in Punjab, although it has traditionally been used as a household fuel. Before the commissioning of the

Type of


Qty used (Mt p.a.)






Cotton Stick




Mustard Husk




Paddy Waste
















Table 1: Feedstock use profile of the power plant

(Source: Santosh Patnaik)

Figure 3: Market map of biomass based energy production (Source: Santosh Patnaik)

fast growing trees such as Eucalyptus and grass species like Saccharum spontaneum and Napier in the less remunerative land. Plantation of these fast growing trees and grasses takes place under a buy-back contract. Based on information obtained from farmers, this has benefited them, as their lands were previously underutilised due to problems with soil salinity, water logging and other physiological and managerial issues. The electricity generated in the power plant is sold to the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) contract. PSEB is the nodal agency which purchases the electricity at a price of INR 3.49 (US$ 0.08) per kWh (base year 2006-7), with five annual escalations of 5% up to 2011-12. The power plant authorities are renegotiating with Punjab State Power Corporation Limited to extend the PPA contract. The electricity is transmitted and distributed to the villages and urban centres on the grid.

Supporting services:

Consultants are hired for advice on technical and non-technical issues regarding the power plant’s daily operations. A large labour force is required to carry out fuel handling, transportation and other functions.

Existing environment:

The Government of Punjab, through the Punjab Energy Development Agency, under the Department of Science, Technology and Environment of Punjab, had given permission for setting up the project through an Implementation Agreement. The New and Renewable Sources of Energy (NRSE) Policy (Government of Punjab 2006) aims to develop and promote alternative fuels based on technologies and

energy conservation measures providing

fiscal incentives to the project. Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has

prescribed standards of environmental

compliance and monitors adherences to

them on a periodical basis. A stack air emissions sample taken by the PPCB at a

power facility premises reported 1.1 × 10 23


CDM Policy support Water logged and Competi tion Existing benefits (NRSE Policy, saline land for for
Policy support
Water logged and
Competi tion
(NRSE Policy,
saline land for
for feedstock
Govt. of
mono cropping
Market Chain
Actors and
Direct Selling
monocrop )
Self employed
Malwa Power Plant t
Punjab State Electricity
source s)
Indian Renewable
Punjab Energy
Agents that
(Consultants )
arrange unskilled
labou r

kg/m 3 at 12% CO2. PPCB have issued consent to establish the power plant under the provisions of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981. This form of energy generation is supported by the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The power plant is qualified in CDM under the Type I (Renewable Energy Projects) and Category-D (Renewable electricity generation for a grid). Total emission reduction credits contracted since inception of the project from 2005 to 2009 is 202,205 tonnes of CO2. A Market map of biomass based energy production is shown in Figure 3.

Market map of biomass use in brick making

Brick making is a localised industry which utilises agricultural and forestry biomass in the form of briquettes. Bricks are one of the most important building materials used in India, the second largest global producer after China. Production is increasing at a rate of 5-10% per annum (Baum, Ellen 2009), with more than 100,000 operating units producing about 140 billion bricks annually. In 2002-3, a total of 2577 brick kilns were functioning in Punjab (Punjabstat 2010).

The market chain

Procurement of biomass varies seasonally in the brick making industry. Absence of a storage facility at the kiln’s premises delimits biomass use. Agents and small entrepreneurs play pivotal roles in procuring the required quantity from farmers and it is used immediately to avoid wastage. As price is not a barrier in the high profit-making brick industry, biomass (mostly mustard sticks) is procured from distant areas, and

sometimes from neighbouring districts in the Rajasthan state.

Supporting services

Sustenance of the brick industry relies heavily on the availability of soil, fuel and labour. Soil is procured from farmers, while entrepreneurs and agents provide fuel and labour. Kilns in a rural setting are better placed due to the soil quality and labour compared to their urban counterparts. Coal is purchased from the local suppliers with loans provided by the banks.

Existing environment

The area is characterised by desert soil which is suitable for brick making. Farmers prefer to give away their land for soil quarrying because of the short lease period (3–4 years) and quick money in return. Often less fertile top soil, due to repeated use of fertilisers and pesticides, of the agricultural land is removed and used for brick making. Rapid urbanisation and extension of townships in the area provides a very lucrative market for brick businesses, with availability of biomass and cheap labour favouring the industry. Brick kilns are installed after getting a license from the Department of Food & Supplies under the Punjab Control of Bricks Supplies (Price and Distribution) Control Order, 1998. A market map of biomass use in brick making is presented in Figure 4.

Comparison of market maps

Mechanisms like direct obtaining, monocropping plantation and biomass storage strategy deployed by the power plant are working favourably in the procurement process. The dependency on agents and local entrepreneurs is established in the brick making industry,


Quick Availability of Government Rapid money feedstock and Existing licensee urbanisation Environment cheap labour Availability of
Availability of
feedstock and
cheap labour
Availability of
Land use
good fertile
Alluvium soil
Market Chain
Actors and
Brick Kiln
Agents that
Coal suppliers
Soil gatherer s
arrange unskilled

Figure 4: Market map of biomass use in brick making (Source: Santosh Patnaik)

whereas the power plant relies more on the on-farm procurement. As brick making is a seasonal affair, it is only operational for 5-6 months a year; biomass generated off- season ends up at the power plant. The brick making industry is well organised as a unit and has considerable influence over the decision making process of government and law enforcing agencies. This enables them to determine better brick prices at regular intervals and evade the emissions regulation legally binding for energy production. The unit price of electricity is determined by the state electricity board, while the power plant operators have no influence pertaining to the tariff policy. Considering the present cost of biomass fuel, which varies from INR 2500-5500 (US$ 44.44-122.22) per megatonne (based on the proportion of fuel mix used) when delivered at the power plant premises, electricity generation becomes a strained affair. The minimum requirement of fuel is around 1.36 kg per kWh of power produced, and with the above rate; the average fuel cost is more than INR 3 (US$ 0.067) with an electricity selling price of INR 4.03 (US$ 0.089) per kWh. To offset the cost disparity, Eucalyptus wood has found prominence in the fuel mix used. There has been an observed 50% increase in area under Eucalyptus plantation in 2008-9 compared to 2004-5. Energy plantation has been undertaken on a long lease basis of 7-10 years tenure. The Eucalyptus clone plants are propagated densely at 4000 plants per 4047m 2 and harvested on a tenure of two years. The average yield obtained is about 20-25 megatonnes per 4047m 2 annually which pays about INR 50,000 (US$ 1111). This has helped in lowering the biomass price to INR 800 (US$ 17) per megatonne and has contributed to fulfilling at least 25% of the total requirement. Less remunerative agricultural land affected by water logging and soil salinity is selected to undertake plantation. 2.06% of the

district’s area was under water during 2009, while the water table is increasing at a rate of 0.2 m per year (Sood et al 2009), significantly affecting the land use dynamics of the region. High input costs in purchasing and transporting coal is promoting the use of biomass in brick kilns. Complete replacement by biomass, however is unlikely as it compromises the quality of bricks produced due to its lower calorific value and the inherent design of brick kilns favouring coal usage. For 40% and 100% biomass dependency, 70 and 300 megatonnes respectively are required to manufacture 1 million bricks, requiring 0.3 kg for baking one brick, which offsets the use of coal by 40%. Because of the higher net profit in brick making, brick kiln units can offer better prices than the power plant. However formal institution mechanisms and procurement contracts are missing in both the value chains; so the plant ends up extending the area of biomass collection, increasing transportation cost and emissions. Institutional mechanisms need to be put in place to avoid such situations, as power plant facilities have resorted to monocropping plantation in the less remunerative land. The brick making industry is among the least mechanised and extremely polluting informal industries in India. The majority of brick makers depend on an extremely inefficient and primitive technology named Clamp Kiln, while others have adopted relatively better types (see Types of Kiln @ HEDON), resulting in a larger quantum of fuel consumption. Low efficiencies in brick firing practices lead to high levels of Products of Incomplete Combustion (PIC) emission. CO2 emissions from the burning of 13.6 million tonnes of coal per year by the brick industry are estimated at 6.7 million tonnes (Sameer 2000). Though shifting to cleaner technology has been made legally mandatory, it has not been effectively implemented. Soil quarrying for brick





land, leads to land degradation, in turn preventing agricultural activity in these areas. This land use change, from

agriculture to non-agriculture, is


important issue in areas where brick making had flourished (Singh et al. 2004).


Power generation and brick making have found common ground in biomass for their respective uses. Power generation has set an example for using agricultural biomass which was previously utilised in less remunerative and environmentally detrimental ways. However, captive feedstock production is the future for the power plant as bulk acquisition of biomass is becoming increasingly cost intensive. Reforms in power regulation may be brought in the form of open access to encourage biomass based power generation. The prevailing water logging and soil salinity situation is favouring the strategy of mass production of fast growing Eucalyptus and Napier grass as fuel in the land available for monocropping. Brick business however, being technologically ill equipped to handle biomass in the current form, is going to remain and would continue to pose sustainability challenges to land and biomass resource use. Localised use of biomass for brick making should be encouraged by bringing in necessary technological changes to kilns, and pertinent environmental regulations should also be enforced.

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THEME Quick Availability of Government Rapid money feedstock and Existing licensee urbanisation Environment cheap labour Availability



Expert response by Ben Good, GVEP International

Three years ago Jude Kabanda began his business and Community Based Organisation, Friends of the Environment (FEO). Operating from Makindye, a suburb of Kampala in Uganda, his company produces briquettes for local people and businesses.

Briquettes are a source of fuel, sometimes made of charcoal dust but can be environmentally sustainable in other forms, constructed

by solidifying biomass waste products such as sawdust, maize cobs and paper. It used to be that all of his briquettes were handmade, the sales of which made him less than UGX 100 (US$ 0.04) a week. He quickly acquired a small machine, but found that his products were still poor quality and prone to smoking. “They didn’t perform as well as the charcoal people were using before”, says Jude, “so they just stopped buying”.

What steps can be taken to help Jude and energy entrepreneurs like him transform their businesses into viable enterprises?


Ben Good

CEO, GVEP International Head Office, Fifth Floor, Totara Park House, 34-36 Grays Inn Road, London WC1X 8HR, UK

THEME Quick Availability of Government Rapid money feedstock and Existing licensee urbanisation Environment cheap labour Availability

A t the heart of any business, you’ve

got to have a product with the

right price and quality to be

desirable. By looking at the market share in your area of operation for fuel cooking, you need to find a proposition that backs up well against charcoal - that gives you a clear price point to work to. Whatever the local price of charcoal, you will struggle to sell at a price significantly more than that. However, later I will discuss price discrimination to identify various classes of people who actually are interested in paying a higher price. Our observation with start-up briquette makers is that they need a lot of support in formulating a product mixture, so that it holds together, handles nicely, and doesn’t arrive as a big bag of crumbs - you want a briquette to stay as a briquette. Therefore, your first requirement should be to gain technical knowledge on product formulation, which is offered through GVEP International Developing Energy Enterprises Project (DEEP). Typically, such changes in practice are about adjusting techniques and formulations, and don’t tend to be process improvements that have much of a price tag. Get your recipe right so that you have a product with the right performance characteristics.

On the production side of any biomass based business, you need to know where its feedstock is coming from. Whatever you end up selling is essentially a mixture of things you bring in: a secure supply of feed stock and a good understanding of whether it will continue to exist throughout the year; as well as pressure from other people trying to access your biomass supply chain. Feedstock strategy is about continuous supply of volume, of the correct material, at a suitable quality, As you move into a business that’s worth scaling, you need to focus on your productive capacity. Briquette making is something that can be done completely manually, and you need to consider various degrees of investment in machinery to reduce production time and improve quality. In this case study, you have developed this far. You seem to feel confident that there is a good case for expanding your output, in which case, there will need to be investment in mechanisation, with financing behind that. It’s important to write a financial plan that justifies investment; whether you’re using personal resources or money from banks, backers will want to know that you can pay off the debt in the period of the loan. The financial plan needs to enable

prediction of volumes and future markets to develop the required cash funds. Some of what GVEP does in supporting entrepreneurs is help develop those financial planning activities. If it is bank debt that is being used to create a case; it is entered in the format and language that is useful to the banks. We provide entrepreneurs with a workbook that asks them to document their expectations for the issues that will underpin a set of financial projections. This structured workbook that enables them to create that investment case is akin to a business plan. This covers mostly the production aspects, but alongside that, you need to manage demand and supply. In trying to increase your local market share of briquettes, there is the potential to avoid the blanket commodity market, which aims to create an offer that is about cost and utility, beating charcoal on both of those measures and increasing market share. Instead, you can create a branded product targeting wealthier clients, offering a product with good sustainability characteristics, which is more expensive than charcoal but feels good when you buy it. This needs consideration of packaging, branding, labelling, and access to those buyers.


“Acquisition of customers is one of the most expensive things to do in business. Once you’ve got a customer, it’s usually easier and cheaper to sell a second time.”

Considering distribution, it would be nice to build up a sufficient franchise within your local market where people start to arrive to buy your briquettes. But equally, you will want to find some outlets that are well located for that more premium niche, if it exists. You might also

like to investigate alternative distribution links, such as stove makers interested in doing a tied sale, for example - buy a stove; throw in five kilos of briquettes, and start a relationship with the new customer. Acquisition of customers is one of the most expensive things to do in business. Once you’ve got a customer, it’s usually easier and cheaper to sell a second time. If you have a significant biomass production business within one catchment area, you tend to get into dis-economy effects associated with distributing a product outside of it. At some stage in the development of your business, you may be thinking ‘how do I move out of my district?’, although I think you may be some way away from this. But in all biomass based businesses that are dealing with high volume, transport costs of low value products escalate. For example, if you’ve got a truck full of laptops, the cost of that journey is a small proportion of the products’ value – unlike for a truckload of charcoal dust. This is where logistics becomes important and you must consider what localised production makes sense – ‘how do I configure my network so that the items travelling long distances are the high value bits, not the bulk low value that might be 25% waste?’

This is one reason to think about replicating your production capacity in different towns and locations. You can do that through a variety of models, such as setting up your own by returning to the bank to borrow money to buy more machines, which has the advantage of being entirely your own operation with control over quality and pricing. Alternatively, you can consider a less capital intensive, more franchise type, activity where you are providing some of the underpinning competencies for a replica business to be established in that new location. You will not own it and might not need to provide the

initial capital, but they are operating under your brand to the business and technical practices that you stipulate, if so desired. While there are people who do have capital, a very large proportion of the people we work with don’t have access to it and it is clear their businesses are being held back. Lending/investing is a game of confidence - it’s about the future - so you can do all the work you want in terms of documentation about the business and how much you’ve sold, but at the end of the day it’s about two parties taking a view about the future, and in particular the lender/investor taking the view about the entrepreneur’s capabilities to deliver that future. This can be frustrating in the energy space, where you can see business models and propositions that are highly remunerative in their ability to generate the payback to cover investment costs. Upfront capital is an important issue in the markets we serve, with collateral for lenders in particular being something that a lot of people don’t have or don’t want to offer. DEEP has been doing some work with guaranteeing the loans that entrepreneurs, who we believe in, take from the banks. We have an arrangement with a number of local financial institutions that says if you lend to entrepreneurs that we’re happy with – ones we’ve been working with for a while – then we will support by under-riding the default risk; not 100% as we want the bank to be interested in the answer too, but maybe 70%. We will also require the bank to provide a slightly more competitive interest rate. That has been a way in which we’ve been able to help entrepreneurs grow. Regarding expansion capital, one of the things that entrepreneurs have to be weary of is that as they grow, they must think quite carefully about cash flow and liquidity since a lot of start-up businesses tend to over expand and go bust. For this particular case study, it is a real issue, but as general caution to younger businesses – think carefully about managing growth, either from liquidity, or from the point of view of your capability to maintain quality as operations expand and your scope increases. For example if you’ve got one person who can actually operate the

machinery and suddenly you’ve got three orders; what happens when that person suffers a serious injury and has to three months off? Such scenarios need to be anticipated. The last thing I want to talk about generally is the value of briquettes in the cookstoves debate. You don’t save too many lives, as respiratory problems are still there - by substituting burning too much charcoal with burning too many briquettes in an enclosed space. There is no way to compare the importance of both new cooking techniques and new briquettes. Even if you have large-scale penetration of improved cookstoves, you’re still going to have a demand for charcoal. But the good news is that in a lot of these cases, improving production quality can be free – with new techniques and recipes. I believe the benefits of the various clean energy products being sold by entrepreneurs supported by GVEP are more than just a reduction in carbon - How do you measure the benefits of a school saving money on fuelwood? It’s not really the money; it’s the books you buy with it and the improvements in the quality of education in that school. We talk a lot about how energy is so pervasive in quality of life, but the parts we actually measure aren’t representative. We, as the energy sector, don’t sell ourselves as well as we could. My previous job was in agriculture, where we had the same sort of observations. In the countries where we operate, there are fantastic resources and great market opportunities; what is needed is the application of cash and human capital i.e. knowledge.

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HELPLINE “Acquisition of customers is one of the most expensive things to do in business. Once



Interview with Lazarous Chewe, Stove producer in Zambia

In this Viewpoints feature we had a chat with Lazarous Chewe, a stove producer and entrepreneur in Zambia who, following his involvement in an INGO-led project for producing and marketing improved cookstoves, set up Dread & Works Enterprise.

His business provides cookstoves to the local Zambian market and has so far managed to innovatively adapt to the pressures of his sector.

HELPLINE “Acquisition of customers is one of the most expensive things to do in business. Once

Tell us about yourself and how you got into the business of stoves?

My name is Lazarous Chewe and I come from Zambia. My background in the biomass energy technology sector began when I was employed by the Care International Stoves Project in 1998. I had no previous experience with biomass improved stoves; I was hired to be part of the marketing team which was going to produce and promote improved stoves in Zambia. At that time we did not have improved stoves locally that our project could use to promote the technology. The project decided to look to a country with similar conditions to ours, that had the technology as well as experience in their production, and Kenya was identified along with the Kenyan Ceramic Jiko stove. The project then arranged a training trip to Kenya where 15 Zambian tinsmiths where selected to be trained in the production of improved stoves and I was one of the persons that travelled to this training. My role was to learn how the Kenyans have marketed the Jiko. When we returned to Zambia, the project produced ten thousand stoves and carried massive promotional activities. Unfortunately the project failed to find funding for the next level of marketing and it was closed mid-flight in 2001. After the project closed, looking at the amount of exposure and research information I gained from this experience, I decided to establish an enterprise in 2004 which was going to continue producing and

promoting improved stoves, called Dread & Works Enterprise. I developed my skills through various international training workshops and conferences on biomass energy that I have attended both locally and internationally and I’m now using this information in my work as a stove producer.

What kind of stoves does Dread & Works Enterprise produce?

Initially we produced four types of stoves. We have the Anagi stoves, which we make once we get a contract for instance in a refugee camp. So we have worked in partnership with organisations working in humanitarian relief to make these stoves. Then we make the Ceramic stove. This is the stove I have a passion for! This is a stove I feel works for a long time! But in order for me to produce it I need a lot of investment. As a result, I have had to reduce the number of ceramic stoves I make - I just make it if people give me a contract in advance. But the stoves that I produce mostly are the Rocket stoves, particularly the institutional rocket stoves, because these are easy to make (shown in figure 1). All I need is an angle grinder, my welder, some local bricks, and my machinery, which are not too heavy.

Do you always make a stove at the client’s premises?

Yes. I realized that in Zambia it would be extremely difficult for us to mobilise money to purchase production equipment, especially since the technology

that we’re dealing with is not yet widely promoted. I came up with a concept of producing stoves at the premises of our clients. I decided to invest in basic hand machinery and tools that are critical to stove production such as angle grinders, a welding machine and purchased insulating bricks from local brick making companies. This system has proved to be cost effective to us because when we get a contract we only ask our clients to buy their own materials based on the stove specification and we produce the stove for them at their premises. To our enterprise, this is an advantage at the moment since we have avoided huge overhead costs and are able to make improved stoves despite not having enough resources. So basically, through my work, a lot of people and institutions have got to know me and what I do and I have used my experience and connections to obtain orders from them. So I tell them that I will gladly make a stove for them, and they can place an order, but what they need to do is pay for the equipment and the materials, and I will come and fabricate it at their place (see figure 2). This is because we do not have a workshop where we can sit and produce stoves and people can come and buy from. So that is our strategy at the moment. And it works well because I am lucky to be well connected, having been in the business for 10 years, and so a lot of people know me in the government or in the non-profit sector. So if anybody needs a stove, they just call me.


“Then we make the Ceramic stove. This is the stove I have a passion for! This is a stove I feel works for a long time!”

Figure 1: Rocket stove to make tea for factory workers (Source: Lazarous Chewe)

Figure 2: Fabricated rocket stove for a client in Lusaka premises (Source:

Lazarous Chewe)

Do enough people know about the stoves and do you get enough orders?

I think that for the ceramic stoves my market is basically local NGOs. I am getting a lot of customers from this. But the rocket stoves, big institutional stoves made for cooking in places like prisons and schools, I think are more attractive from a business perspective because the amount that is involved is quite substantial. And so when I get orders for around 10 stoves, which is around how many I can make in a month, in money terms that translates to US$ 4000-5000. There is also a growing demand for the domestic rocket stoves, which we are getting from contracts through NGOs.

How do you promote your stoves to customers?

Promotion basically is targeted at institutions, with messages of fuel efficiency, clean cooking environment and reduced indoor air pollution. In Zambia, every day we have big international trade fairs – agricultural shows – where we exhibit and promote our stoves along with a brochure we have developed to explain to users how they work and their environmental and social benefits. Our promotion is also largely through the Internet which we get a lot of work through, and from some exhibitions that we attend where we interact with people and can get orders.

Aside from institutions, do you also get individuals as customers?

Yes actually, we get individuals coming from all walks of life. Our project is heavily linked with the government ministries because we attend most of their workshops, and so we do get jobs from the individuals we meet at these workshops and programmes.

Does Dread & Works Enterprise have a website?

I’m happy you ask me this question and I hope your readers will get one or two ideas from my response. No, we do not have a website. The only thing that is working for us is the page we have on the HEDON Household Energy Network website.

So did you find HEDON useful?

Very, very

useful -


must tell you.

We do not need to have an energy

website in Southern Africa because we already have a website, HEDON, that

is helping us. So what people need is to use this facility that is coming to them at zero cost and take advantage of it. As for me, I have to confirm again, that the HEDON website has been very helpful to our ways. We get a lot of work through your website! The Internet is responsible for many contracts that we have done so far. For example, we have been able to get connected to international training opportunities and organisations that want our technologies in Zambia.








message through HEDON from a British organisation, African Survival Development, who were looking for a stove company in Zambia to help them make 70 domestic rocket stove for their farm workers in the Southern province. So this shows that the Internet is playing a very important role in terms of communication. We are able to reach people that we would not have been able to without it.

Thank you! What challenges are you are facing in your work in Zambia?

There are a lot of challenges. One is that the biomass sector is not receiving enough attention from the government as much as sectors such as petroleum and hydro power do. Yet over 75% of households in Zambia depend on biomass energy for cooking. Most of our projects are supported by NGOs. And we have a problem where, when money ends or the donors pull out, the entire thing just crumbles. So what happens is that all the people they tried to work with, are changing jobs and going on to other things. So in the end we haven’t achieved anything. Secondly, in a country like Zambia, issues of climate change and deforestation are not yet in the limelight to enable

people to understand the importance of stoves in conserving wood. People don’t know these issues!

Thirdly, we do not have the production capacity to promote stoves in the whole country. Zambia is a big country, but we are operating on a very, very small level. Also, banks will not give us loans because our sector is treated as a high risk area of investment with no tangible collateral. They do not understand it and will not invest in it. This is a challenge for an enterprise like ours. Then, we also lack capacity for production. In the neighbourhood in which we are operating, we cannot employ skilled power. We do not have money to pay engineers, accountants, lawyers etc. So we are just doing this with our passion.

Are you able to benefit from carbon funding?

No. In order to accept money from carbon trading, we must have very good production figures. Now, to have good production figures we need machinery to produce these stoves, which we cannot afford. Secondly, for us to accept carbon funding, we need a very elaborate working environment. We need each and every department to be in place so that when people are evaluating our project they are able to see how we work. But our capacity to work on that level is quite low. It is something we are training for, so that in the future we can also try to get carbon funding. But right now, we do not have enough money and the manpower to help us take it to the next level.

What kind of institutional support would help your business?

In Zambia, for me to compete in the stove business I have to register my business and pay taxes. However, the people involved in the production of traditional stoves do not usually pay tax. As a result, my business is at a disadvantage since my improved stove product ends up being expensive compared to the ordinary stove produced here. Institutions and the government need to enforce that anyone who is involved in the stove business should be registered with the tax office and the Registrar of Companies. But this is difficult in Zambia. As for our own company, we have registered and are paying tax, but this makes competition difficult.

VIEWPOINTS “Then we make the Ceramic stove. This is the stove I have a passion for!


VIEWPOINTS “Then we make the Ceramic stove. This is the stove I have a passion for!

Why are they not paying tax if they are making traditional stoves?

To give you an idea of what business is like in many African countries, in Zambia stoves are made by people in communities, where someone can just make a stove and sell it. Now for us who are trying to move a step forward- for me to accept money from carbon trading and for me to get a loan from the bank- my company has to be registered. Whereas these local businesses, their aim is not to grow. Their aim is to survive, so they make and sell a few stoves. But we have an ambition to grow and therefore see this as a barrier.

with these – we are using crude methods to fabricate them.

Are your stoves competing with the StoveTec and Envirofit stoves?

Yes. I know that Envirofit is already in South Africa, so it is a question of time when they will be in Zambia. My observation is that if these stoves come to Zambia, automatically the stoves that we are trying to make cannot stand in terms of quality and pricing. So, before this happens, I would rather we go into partnership with them, and help them sell these stoves in Zambia.

think HEDON should continue! Please do not go offline, we need you! And continue to give us more contacts through your journal and website. Promotion of improved stoves is still at infancy stage in Zambia. For organisations out there that wish to start a biomass stove programme in Zambia, my humble advice is to put more effort in mass production and serious promotional activities for commercialisation.

What do you think the market needs to develop? You mentioned the need to mass produce at a cost that users can afford.

Mass production is our dream. We would love to make these stoves, because we understand this technology and the cooking culture of our people. Now for us, business in Zambia is very expensive because the materials to make stoves are not available. Things like metal sheets come from countries like South Africa and Zimbabwe. So it means that when we are buying these materials, they are treated as finished products, not raw materials. So in terms of taxes, it is quite expensive to get metal sheets in Zambia. We are also looking at a secondary option which is to partner with institutions that are producing stoves. You may have seen the stoves that have been made by StoveTec and Envirofit; the market in Zambia will be attracted to that kind of packaging. Our stoves cannot compete

How can HEDON and Boiling Point be more useful to you and others in your business?

Firstly, the HEDON website and Boiling Point have produced great benefits in terms of contacts and technical information that we get. Personally I never went to Engineering school, but the information that I have gathered in the seven years I have associated with these two sources of information has greatly broadened my understanding of biomass technology to a higher lever as a producer. I think it would be nice if more voices like mine are given a chance to share their experiences in Boiling Point; that way we can learn from each other’s best practices. What is important to us is the connections and the visibility that the website provides. If HEDON can improve how our pages are presented on their website, such that it can become more personalised, that would be good. But I * Read full article and comment * Author’s latest contact details Meet us @HEDON
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Interview with Nick Moon, Co-founder and Managing Director of KickStart

In this Viewpoints feature we met up with Nick Moon, Co-Founder and Managing Director of the NGO KickStart International (formerly Kenya-based ApproTec), to find out how their Agricultural Water Management products are supporting the businesses of thousands of smallholder farmers in Kenya, Tanzania, Mali, Burkina Faso and across Africa.

VIEWPOINTS Interview with Nick Moon, Co-founder and Managing Director of KickStart In this Viewpoints feature we
VIEWPOINTS Interview with Nick Moon, Co-founder and Managing Director of KickStart In this Viewpoints feature we

What was the motivation behind the founding of KickStart?

KickStart began as a Kenyan NGO in 1991, around the time that the new world

order of market economies was being introduced in Africa. At that time Martin Fischer, my co- founder of KickStart and I were working for a large British charity through the late 80s. However we began to understand that the work we were doing with this charity, although it was well intentioned, was not proving to be terribly effective.

Why was their work not proving effective?

What these NGOs often do not realise is that people in most communities are very dynamic, adaptable and perceptive. And they respond quite sensibly to the opportunities that the NGOs are bringing their way - opportunistically and even entrepreneurially.

But what is really taking place is that the

NGO is bringing large amounts of capital, whether it is financial, human or technical,

into a very limited geography. And so a local economy develops around the fact that there is this availability of capital and resources that were not there before. And so you have inadvertently created a kind of artificial or temporary economy. For example, the NGO is training a women’s group to produce roofing tiles using sand from a local river bed and sisal fibres from their farms. They can put these on local primary schools which means the school will not need to buy from elsewhere, and this will create jobs

and all kinds of great things! But it is all orchestrated by the NGO because they are providing training and equipment to the specific women’s group, and they are also making sure that the same women’s group get offers from the local primary school for business, which also happens to be the school the NGO is supporting; so in fact the NGO is selling the tiles to themselves! And when they try to extract themselves from that equation after a few years, they are still puzzled as to why, quite soon after their departure, that economy collapses in on itself. It is not surprising.

How did you deal with this realisation?

Well, I cannot say it was a sudden Damascus moment. This dawned on us little by little because we were working with an organisation that was doing this kind of work very seriously with expectations that they were doing better things for people. So in one village we set up a workshop to distribute improved ploughs, ox carts, donkey carts and other traction instruments that if farmers got hold of, would certainly make their work easier and increase their productivity. We knew this was important, but we capitalised on the project! We could do all this because we were an NGO, not realising that we were putting ordinary people out of business. Round the corner, in a side alley, there had always been the local carpenter - a guy with a small lean-to work shed and a few crude tools who was already making this equipment in the best way he knew how,

and managing his own difficult cash flow situation. We set up this workshop making these instruments, effectively putting him out of business, and of course when we did retire, or tried to retire, our workshop collapsed and stopped producing these implements, by which time the local businesses were also out of business, and so in fact we caused damage. So we felt that there must be a more effective, efficient, sustainable way of doing this. And the best way of doing this, we found, is by taking a tough love approach, and making sure we are not giving anything away for free. So that is the premise of our approach at KickStart:

to not look at poor people as victims of circumstances outside their control. Their difficulty is not that they are incapable, but what exactly to do. What markets can they serve? How can they use their time and energy in productive ways? And that is where we see the answer.

Tell us about KickStart ..

KickStart started in Kenya as a Kenyan NGO. We then expanded into Tanzania in 2000, into Mali in 2005 and then started a program in the western part of Burkina Faso end of 2008. We re-structured and reconstituted ourselves about 4 years ago and changed our name from ApproTEC to KickStart. KickStart International is now a US registered not-for-profit organisation with headquarters in San Francisco. Our operational headquarters, the Africa office, is in Nairobi, which I am responsible for running, and we also

VIEWPOINTS Interview with Nick Moon, Co-founder and Managing Director of KickStart In this Viewpoints feature we

Figure 1: Woman with hose (Source: Esther Havens 2011)

VIEWPOINTS Interview with Nick Moon, Co-founder and Managing Director of KickStart In this Viewpoints feature we

Figure 2: Man with Super MoneyMaker Pump (Source: Esther Havens 2011)


VIEWPOINTS Interview with Nick Moon, Co-founder and Managing Director of KickStart In this Viewpoints feature we

Figure 3: Woman with MoneyMaker Hip Pump (Source: Esther Havens 2011)

have country offices in Kenya, Tanzania, Mali and a small programme in Burkina Faso, run from Mali. All in all we employ 235 people, the vast majority of whom in

our country offices are nationals of that

country. We have actually been involved over the years with a number of different technologies, and almost all of them have been human powered.

Why are your products human powered?

If you were to drop in on Africa at

any point or place right now, you would find a lot of people not doing very much - people sitting about under mango trees apparently idle. You’d be mistaken if you thought that they are just idle, lazy people. The reason they’re like that is because they have nothing to do - not because they

want to do nothing. We are in a society and economy here, where labour and time is abundant and very cheap. But where capital is very difficult to obtain and the cost of money is high.

Human power is another form of renewable energy. It is actually the most renewable of all. It costs nothing, it is intelligent, it can turn itself on or off without something else having to make that decision, and it is also extremely adaptable. And if we can convert that energy very efficiently, which is one of the very important design criteria which we pursue here, then it certainly can develop wealth and value in unprecedented ways.

Why MoneyMaker irrigation pumps?

Well, we asked ourselves, ‘What is the opportunity out there that we can

exploit?’ If you look at the big picture, we are 6.5 billion people on this planet right now. Already more than half of us simply do not get enough to eat, we go to bed hungry every night, and that is only going to get worse when we are 9.5 million in

2050, unless we can produce and of course distribute more food to more places.

Africa has to be the place where we increase productivity by appreciable amounts, because agricultural production in Africa has not grown! It has been a flat line for 40 years since independence. Whereas in China, India, Europe the US or Japan, yields during this period have gone up by even up to 600%. In these countries we have more productive seeds, fertilisers and farming technologies. But more importantly in the US, Europe and Japan there is plenty of water, because the rain falls for a lot of the time. In China, more than 50% of agriculture is irrigated! In India the Green Revolution has seen up to 500% increase in yields largely due to the fact that 45% of Indian agriculture is irrigated. Irrigation allows you to grow more often, so you can grow all year round instead of 4 or 8 months out of 12. It allows you to grow more on a given area of land. It allows you to grow very much higher value crops than previously when you were dependent on rainfall, and where you might have had to grow drought resistant crops. Finally, it may also allow you to grow on land previously not suited to growing, despite being fertile, due to lack of water. Only 5% of African agriculture is irrigated. This means that 95% is rain fed, and that everyone grows stuff at the same time and so the prices fall through the floor. So they get a very poor return on hard work and investment in growing that crop. A few months later, in the dry season when there is no harvest and no one is growing anything, the prices of food go through the ceiling. So your rural family is hit with a double whammy. What they grow fetches very little, yet when they buy

they have to pay a lot. So that is what keeps them in the poverty trap or below

the poverty line. You have a feast-and- famine production cycle, which is totally and out of sync with demand.

Are there no traditional methods of irrigation developed over the years?

Yes there are. But you see until recently, until this forced shift to cash and market economies, these things were not so important. Only 3% of Africa’s water resource is actually managed. And then there is climate change of course. And I can tell you for sure that it is real. The rainfall in Africa used to be predictable, but now it is not. Sometimes it just does not come at all, or there is a faulty start and then it disappears, all sorts of horrors!

Does KickStart only produce irrigation products?

We prefer to call them Agricultural Water Management (AWM) technologies, because they embrace irrigation, but also things like water catchment. We initially started off in the area of low cost building production technologies. But our mission was not so much to develop gizmos, machines and equipment, our mission was to get as many people out of poverty in as short a time as we can, and sustainably. What could impact millions of people in severe poverty? The idea of irrigation started to make more sense. We are not abandoning our old technologies – we still produce for example low cost building materials technologies (still selling hundreds of these), manual oil presses for squeezing cooking oil out of sunflowers or sesame seeds, manually operated hay bailing machines especially for use by dairy farmers, animal traction technologies etc. What we realised however was that our irrigation pumps had much higher potential impact on poverty in large numbers, and so we focus almost exclusively now on promoting them.



Nick Moon, Co-founder and Managing Director of KickStart, talks about smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa

I grew up in India and South East Asia as my father was in the shipping industry and became exposed to quite a few things that as small boy I thought were not fair. During my teens I was educated mostly in England, but I left school deliberately at the age of 18 to become an artisan of some kind. I was 26, when I decided to apply to the Volunteer Service Overseas (VSO) in 1982. I thought I would only spend a short time in Eastern Africa, but ended up living here for the past 28 years. I lived in a specific village for almost 3 years, and my sense is that the greatest beneficiary of my VSO experience was me. I did train a lot of 15 or 16 years olds in woodwork, building and the rudiments of running a

small business. But what was actually taking place was that I was starting to get an education on how the world works for people who were my neighbours. These were small holder farmers with three or four acres of land who were almost entirely dependent on the land for their livelihoods. They were not employed by anyone else, except the occasional odd jobs. And the economic unit were the extended family. Parents, children, grandparents, uncles; they cooperate with each other to ensure that through their actions, first food and secondly money, is generated. So I was greatly impressed by their ability to do exactly that in the early

80s. In Africa, rural Africa in particular, there aren’t any jobs. People are largely thrown back onto their own devices. They share remarkable adaptability and innovation for making do with no safety net and no effective social welfare system in place. Not just to survive, but in some cases to prosper comparatively. Around 75% of sub-Saharan Africa’s people are smallholder farmers. So the majority of the population is dependent on the 1-7 acres that the extended family owns, or has been allocated – depending on the tenure systems. Not exclusively, as in almost every case there will be members of the family who have migrated to a different part of the country, or a different country, who are employed and sending remittances back to their homes. Unlike Western Africa, in East Africa where I have lived for 28 years now, people tend to be homesteaders. They

do not live in a village; rather they have a home on their few acres of land, although there may be a trading or market centre a few miles away. The tendency is for farmers to gravitate to those areas that are highly agricultural, with increased chances of being fed by rain or rivers, which leads to denser population. So in Kenya for example, a country about the size of France, 75% of the people live on 15% of the land, as a big part of it is desert or semi-desert. The rural population is concentrated in high density areas which also host markets and infrastructure. So nobody is more than 3 or 4 miles from the nearest market or trading centre where they could sell their produce. There is an opportunity for people to serve and exploit such markets, as long as they can produce what these markets want, at the time it is wanted. And that is the big issue across Africa!

Now let me tell you a story about my neighbours in rural Kenya…

This is very important because there has been a fundamental shift in the last 20 years on how people approach life here in Africa.

In the 80s…

In the mid 80s, my neighbours who were smallholder farming families, would get up before sunrise, and begin on a number of little chores needed in the homestead before getting on with daily business. The kids would then scamper off to school, wearing uniforms but no shoes, and having with them a little school bag. When they get to the school there is a teacher, a classroom with equipment, resources which are rudimentary, but they are there. There is

a trained teacher who is not being paid enough, but he or she has some chalk, a blackboard and a few books. And so the kids get a primary education, and furthermore, they get lunch. Every noon time, they will be handed a bowl of maize and beans, and twice a week maybe a packet of milk. And all of this is free, provided by the local government which ensures that the kids are educated and their basic nutrition is being taken care of. While the kids are at school, the mom might go down to the nearest trading centre to buy cooking oil, tea leaves, sugar or kerosene, any of the essential commodities that the family doesn’t grow themselves on the farm. At the trading centre she will find that the price of these commodities is controlled by a central government and so she pays a set price well below what would have been the market price for

How do you market your products?

Well first of all, we acknowledge that this

very poor person is also a potential investor

of time and energy. And we approach them in the market with a capital good as you would any prospective investor and say, ‘Look, I have an offer for you. If you invest your money and sweat in this technology, then the chances are very, very high that you will succeed and prosper and make a lot of money’. This is the value proposition. We have to persuade them that it really is true and genuine, and simultaneously we have to make sure that the solution or the product is available and accessible very conveniently and at a price that they can afford. We also use branding. It is very important for us that we differentiate our products so that people; not only recognise the brand but value it; can be confident that it is not here today gone tomorrow; and that there is depth, dependability and reliability around it. We use the tried and tested marketing and distribution mechanisms that any successful corporation is using – like Toyota cars, Dell computers, Nokia mobile phones. It is a question of two things: firstly ensuring the supply, which is down to private sector distribution and retail channels and networks. Secondly, it is about building the awareness and demand for the product, which is done through media based advertising and a lot of physical in-your-face promotion and demonstration. The reason we have to do that is of course, that despite the fact that we approach them as entrepreneurs and investors, rural African farmers are the most difficult to reach.

They are difficult to reach physically with a product, because they live in scattered and remote areas, and secondly they are difficult to convince. Farmers everywhere tend to be very risk averse, conservative and sceptical.

How do you promote your products?

There are basically two components to marketing, what the marketing people will call above-the-line promotion, and below-the-line promotion.

Above the line is where you hire some type of media to broadcast your message. We use a lot of local language FM radio. A country like Kenya has 42 different ethnic groups and they all have their own language. People respond much more positively to messages that they receive in their own tongue. So in the last four or five years the proliferation of local language FM radio stations has served us very well. So the whole point of the media, and we sometimes use newspapers but mostly radio, is to raise awareness and stimulate interest. But that is as far as it goes; we still have not sold the pump. The idea is to get people’s attention, arouse their curiosity, and inform them about where to go if they want to know more. Below-the-line promotion is the actual physical promotion and demonstration of the pump. The investment is so high that it is a bit like buying a new car. So we get people to go to the dealership and see a pump in action, talk to a sales representative, pick up a brochure, ask questions, go away and chat to their wife or brother and come back after a week and have another look. It takes quite a while for

them to go through the purchase decision process. But physical demonstration is the thing which ultimately closes the sale.

Where do you demonstrate?

For merchandising and branding, we do demonstrations outside our dealers on

the sidewalk. Also every town, trading centre or village in Africa, has a market

day. So we will be there on a market day, have our sales people with pumps in the middle of the market, talking through megaphones and loudspeakers or playing music. We also go to agricultural shows which are fairly standard practice across Africa each season. We might also work with another local company selling seeds or fertilisers and invite people to an open day on a particular farmer’s farm. Or we will visit women’s groups because the women, who do a lot of the farming of course, tend not to listen to the radio as much as their husbands. They also tend not to leave their homesteads as often as the men do.

Where are your products developed?

Our products are designed and developed here in Africa. This is where we make the first prototypes and test them in the field until we have the final design ready. We have mechanical engineers, our own design and development facility in the slums of Nairobi and we also design the product tooling for consistent quality. We believe for obvious reasons that centralised mass production is the right way to go. We do not think it is sensible to support very small scale, local artisanal production of capital equipment.

Where are your products manufactured?

Our pumps currently are all made in China. They were previously made in Kenya and Tanzania, but as demand spread across different countries, starting up production plants in different parts of Africa would pose all kinds of difficulties - raw material availability, quality control, warehousing and distribution logistics

issues. So we were obliged by a force of economic pressure to go to either China or India. We went for China to ensure higher quality and cheaper price. Furthermore, we can ship from China to Africa cheaper

than from Africa to Africa. The important thing for us is that we get the highest

quality product into the hands of the African farmer at the lowest market price that is possible.

Are foreign AWM products competing with your own in African markets?

Not yet, but that day may come. And when it does, I do not think it will necessarily be a bad thing. Why? Firstly, it has not happened yet. We have had a lot of people try to copy our pumps, for example in Ethiopia, Rwanda and India. Two things happened. Firstly, the pumps are of inferior quality and performance, have a short life span and break down easily, and that is bad news for everyone. Secondly, what these places soon understand is that those pumps do not sell themselves just like that, because they are not sufficiently well known in the marketplace to be sold without a lot of marketing and promotion, and this is very expensive. For us it is a very hard sell and thus is not profitable.

However, when we have built awareness to critical mass levels, when millions of people in Africa know what our pumps are and what they can do, then that will open the doors for all kinds of competitors to come in and start copying. And we welcome that day, because what we are trying to do here is not make pumps and make a profit for Kickstart, we are not-for-profit!

From the time you receive the completed products, how do they end up in the hands of customers?

Imagine we fill up a container full of our products in China and ship that container into Nairobi, Dar Es Salaam, or Bamako where they will be offloaded into our warehouses and bundled together with their accessories which are sourced locally. These finished products are now ready for distribution, normally by road, either to a wholesale distributer who then organises for their onward distribution to the retailer, or we take them directly to these retailers. For example in Kenya we have 125 authorised stockists and agents

of MoneyMaker products. These are farm input supply stores – what we call here in Africa Agrovet stores, which sell agricultural and veterinary products. These are the right outlets to make our product available.

We also have a significant business-to- business export programme. Many of our products, primarily pumps, are marketed and ultimately sold to development NGOs and UN agencies working in different parts of Africa. We also market and sell to independent wholesaler distributors of agricultural equipment. So we have

VIEWPOINTS VIEWPOINTS Nick Moon, Co-founder and Managing Director of KickStart, talks about smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan

Figure 4: Super MoneyMaker Pumps (Source: KickStart International)

distributors of our products in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, the Congo, Rwanda, Barundi, Uganda and Ethiopia. We also sell our products to organisations working in conflict or post conflict settings like the WFP,

WHO, World Vision and Care. Around half of our sales currently are made through this business-to-business export channel.

Do you have to convince Agrovet stores about your products?

Right at the beginning, when we first introduced our pumps, there was considerable resistance because no one knew what these things were and why they should tie up their working capital and give shelf space to something they did not really know would sell. So we would say ‘Look, just stock the pump. You don’t have to pay us for it until you’ve sold it, and meanwhile we’re going to create the market and send customers to you.’ But that was then. Now, they approach us seeking to secure a dealership and become authorised as MoneyMaker



some of those goods. This is because we lived at that time under what we call command economies or centrally planned economies. And so aid money for development was used to provide these important services. In the unfortunate case when someone in the family got sick they would find their way, sometimes quite a long way, to the local clinic where someone qualified for simple diagnostics, would examine and decide, 99 out of 100 cases, that they have one of three conditions. They have either got malaria, or some kind of upper respiratory tract infection, a bad cough or even tuberculosis, or some kind of diarrheal / oral faecal infection. They would then be handed a piece of paper or a chip and told to go to a clinic or dispensary to get their drugs. The drugs would be free. So the picture I am trying to paint is one where the kids are going to at least primary school for nothing and

being fed there, commodities are being price controlled so that you do not pay market price for kerosene. And with curative health care being free, money,

or cash, in the lives of those people at that time was secondary. Cash was part of their life but not central to

their survival. So at that time their main concern was food security. Let us grow enough food this rainy season to fill up the granaries, and make sure we can make it until the next rainy season and hopefully we will also have some surplus to sell for a few pennies to buy that cooking oil we need. This is how 75% of sub-Saharan Africa used to live, and so a subsistence lifestyle was viable - in fact it could even be quite nice, people did not seem unhappy with the situation in the early 80s. But it all changed very drastically around the end of that decade because of geopolitics - things which where way outside these people’s exposure or experience.

In the 90s…

At the end of the 80s was the collapse of Communism, the end of the Cold War and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, which meant that Western nations now had an opportunity to place different requirements on their development aid. At the same time as Communism was reeling from the shock, Globalisation was in full swing. So the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and international donors decided that now is the time to encourage African States to move towards free market Capitalism, because few of them were doing so. Kenya for example, although it was aligned with Capitalist states, was still operating as a centralised or command economy for most of its people. And the new dispensation said that if governments want to continue to qualify for international development and budget support, they have to change the way they are governing their countries!

You have to remove all subsidies, lower tariff barriers, throw open your markets and swallow a one size fits all structural adjustment description. And so most African governments, some

more willingly than others, acceded to this pressure as they did not really have a lot of choice. They thus started the long process of converting from whatever type of economy they had at the time, to something much closer to the free market democracy model that most people agreed was the best way to go. This process is still ongoing. Now, what this meant for my neighbours in rural Kenya was not well understood by the big economic development planners at the time. They later came to understand, what they later called, the social cost of adjustment - because this is the effect that it had.

If you can imagine the little family again, all getting up early, the kids still scampering off to school - only going to school is not free anymore. The teacher

is still paid by the government, but the parents under a scheme generally known as cost-sharing are expected to contribute to building the school, buying the desks, the books, the chalk and pay for all sorts of activity fees. So whatever they called it, they were careful, but the truth was that parents now had to pay to send children to school, which they didn’t have to do before. Secondly, there is no free lunch anymore. Again parents were expected to provide that lunch. So very quickly, out of the window went this whole provision of free education and basic nutrition for kids. Secondly, when mama went to the trading centre to buy some cooking fat or tea leaves, she would find that those commodities would cost 10 times today what they did yesterday, because the price controls and subsidies had been removed. And so the price she has to pay now, more accurately reflects the cost of getting this commodity into the market. Thirdly, the healthcare was

gone as well. You could still go and get diagnosed for free by a clinical officer, but instead of being given a ticket to take to the dispensary, you would be given a prescription to take to the pharmacy, where you would have to buy the drugs. And so the combined effect of all these new adjustments was dramatic.

It meant that rural families all across

Africa suddenly woke up one day to discover that they were living in a cash economy, where they needed ten times the money they needed before, just to continue living in the same conditions.

Furthermore, because of population growth which is quite healthy here at 3%, they were expected to generate that money from a shrinking asset. This because as families subdivided the land from one generation to the next, the land per family became smaller. It is in this environment, and with these hardships in mind, that KickStart was founded.

pump dealers. This is because people realised that selling a pump creates a brand new customer or converts a customer from someone who used to spend 10 dollars a year in their shop to someone who spends 200 dollars, as they generate income. So little by little, certainly in Kenya and in the high potential areas where our pumps are getting much more widely known and accepted, we demand that dealers fulfil a certain amount of selection criteria.

Have you come across pumps from other NGOs in the marketplace, such as treadle pumps?

Yes, there are a lot of treadle pumps out there. But that is very different to what we have developed here for Africa. In India the water tables are very high and the land is flat, so you just need a low lift suction pump which lifts the water and sloshes it into the next paddy. What we have designed is a pressure pump. It sucks water up into the pump from a river or stream or shallow hand-dug well, and then having got the water to the surface, it pressurises it and pushes it up the side of a hill, up the side of a building or into an elevated water tank. It is a pressure pump, because most Africans live on slopes. Also the machine has to be very energy efficient, because a human being can only put out 70 Watts and we have to convert that into significant volumes of water, adequate to commercially irrigate your land. The pump also has to be utterly dependable – it should never break down, nor require constant adjustment or maintenance. Also, it should be portable. Some of the older treadle pumps are great

big clunky things which weigh 40 kg and are difficult to carry. People however do not necessarily live where they farm. So they often like to carry the pump back home and lock it up at night, which they cannot do if it is a big heavy thing. Our heaviest pump weighs 22 kg, while our lightest, the hip pump, weighs 4.5 kg which is very portable! And at the end of this year we are introducing a brand new one, which has all the characteristics of the big one, but it will only weigh 16 kg. Also important are durability and reliability. Every single one of our pumps has an individual serial number stamped on it after it comes through quality control at the factory, so each is individually identifiable. We also offer a 12 month guarantee on every pump such that if anything at all goes wrong we will replace or repair it free of charge. It is also a clever way as it turns out, of measuring our impact. We do a lot of impact monitoring as it is a supremely important piece of our operations. So we offered a guarantee, which most people want, and to activate their guarantee, customers are asked to fill out a form at the point of purchase so we have their contact details saved in our database. We then use this data to randomly select small representative samples of users and visit them to see how they’re getting on. We follow them for about 4 years; immediately after purchase, then between 15-18 months later, and then around 18 months after that. And that is how we are able to assess the results of our work. The result is quite significant and the potential is huge. We have now succeeded in getting about 100,000 very successful family

businesses (farming businesses) up and running who are collectively employing 150,000 people, and generating 100 million dollars a year in new wealth.

What is the payback period of your pumps?

One of our design criteria is that we

should not proceed with a technology unless the payback period can take place

within 3 or 4 months of purchase. This is because farmers are accustomed to putting

money into the ground, and waiting 3 or 4 months before they see any returns.

On average, households are making a net income increase of US$ 1000 a year for as long as the pump works, as a net

result of their US$ 1000 purchase. This is a ludicrous return on investment. We generally assume a lifespan of a pump of three years, but in fact 70% of the pumps we sold seven years ago are still working.

Do you offer support services after purchase?

Well, we have a network of authorised dealerships and so if a customer needs any help, they can take their pump back to the dealership where they bought it. We have designed the machine so that you don’t need any tools at all to take it apart or put it back together again. But the spare parts or repairs, should they be necessary, are guaranteed through these private sector value chains, the dealerships.

What is the role of other NGOs or CBOs in your work?








operations, we are marketing and selling

water management solutions to them. I do think that sometimes their methodologies are not terribly effective or efficient, but there are lots of NGOs and CBOs which are working assiduously with different communities in different geographies to help improve matters. So we seek out these organisations to ask if our products might be useful to them. We do not operate on the ground in Malawi for example, but we have 27,000 pumps working there, almost entirely due to two or three NGOs that are working on the ground with smallholder farmers associations.

Are they using the same operational model as KickStart for these pumps?

That is a fascinating question. Some do, and some do not. Some give away the pumps, especially in the case of post- conflict relief and rehabilitation. The WFP might provide refugees with a bag of things containing some seeds, tools, fertilisers and a pump. But with other NGOs we have noted, and I hope this has something to do with our influence, that more and more are adopting market based approaches through partial subsidy or soft loans. So they provide households with vouchers which are redeemable in a certain

shop worth half the value of the pump, requiring the household to pay the rest.

But what we have discovered through our impact monitoring is that over 90% of people

who pay the full price upfront for a pump are actively using them. So, in our marketing strategies we tend to favour developing relationships with NGOs and development agencies which use a market approach. And

the ones which don’t, we offer them not just the pumps but training and advice as to how they might really maximise the impact of their application of this technology.

How could the government make your work easier?

They could help us a lot more than has been the case until now. I should point out that we do not have any difficulties with any of the governments in countries we operate in. However I do think that they could and should do a lot more, because we are effectively implementing their policies. We are creating jobs, stimulating enterprise and economic development, increasing agricultural productivity and food security. Unfortunately governments sometimes perceive non profits like us as rivals for resources. Secondly, policies are often very sound policies. Their delivery however, depends on an efficient and effective civil service. And the sad truth is that not many of the civil services are either efficient or effective, and are very often blighted internally by a culture of corruption. So ideally, the Kenyan government could use tax payers’ money to support actual research and development of solutions which are applicable to their people. Secondly, they could be investing in the development of the market by which those solutions reach people. In developed economies, it is standard practice for public money to be used at universities or research institutes for development of technologies or to catalyse their adoption in the market place.

Is there agricultural research going on in Africa?

Yes, there is a lot of research going on, although I am not sure how much is practicable or useful. A lot is going on at national research institutes, particularly for agriculture, in the realm of biotechnologies: research on seed types which are drought resistant, or produce more per acre, GMO crops etc. In Kenya there is the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, and there are a couple of large NGOs which are supported by international organisations like IFAD and FAO in this space.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about alleviating poverty in all these years?

There is no difference between poor people and rich people, except that poor people do not have any money, and rich people do. Those people are exactly the same as any other, in terms of their basic human needs and aspirations, and there is no need to approach them or consider them as fundamentally different or apart from the middle classes. By recognising and using this realisation, we can get solutions to them a lot more simply, easily and quickly than I think is generally imagined. * Read full article and comment * Author’s latest contact details Meet us @HEDON
* Read full article and comment
* Author’s latest contact details
Meet us @HEDON




Sean Bartlett

UN Foundation, 1800 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, 4th Floor,

Washington, DC 20036, USA

GACC NEWS News Editor Sean Bartlett UN Foundation, 1800 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, 4th Floor, Washington, DC

Figure 1: Cover image of Igniting Change report

(Source: Rodney Rascona)

Alliance’s Sector strategy to ignite change

Since its September 2010 launch, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (Alliance) has attracted more than 250 partners and is already addressing some of the clean cookstove and fuel sector’s most urgent needs. With its mission to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women and combat climate change by creating a thriving global market for clean cooking solutions, the Alliance is well placed to help the sector reach the target of 100 million households adopting clean cookstoves and fuels by 2020.



The Alliance has published ‘Igniting Change: A Strategy for Universal Adoption of Clean Cookstoves and Fuels’. The result of an unprecedented consultation with more than 350 global cookstove experts, this roadmap for the sector identifies the creation of a global market as the most viable way to achieve universal adoption of clean cooking technologies, and lays out a three-pronged approach for creating that market:

— Enhance Demand by understanding and motivating potential users, developing better and more technology, enabling consumer finance, and creating innovative distribution models to reach remote consumers — Strengthen Supply by attracting more finance and investment, accessing carbon finance, enhancing market intelligence, and creating inclusive value-chains — Foster an Enabling Environment by engaging national and local stakeholders, building the evidence base for the benefits of clean cookstoves and fuels, promoting international standards and rigorous testing protocols, and ensuring monitoring and evaluation. The Alliance has completed work on a draft Strategic Business Plan 2012-20, that identifies where the sector and the Alliance are now, what the Alliance aims to achieve, and how it will do so. Meant to be a tool for progress measurement, the plan also sets out the case for investing in and partnering with the Alliance. The Alliance’s activities will be guided by the parameters of the Igniting Change strategy across three phases, each with a specific goal:

— Phase 1 (2012-14): Launch global and in-country efforts to rapidly grow the sector — Phase 2 (2015-17): Drive investments, innovation and operations to scale — Phase 3 (2018-20): Establish thriving and sustainable global market for clean cookstoves The Alliance will focus on interventions that will be transformational in nature, including:

— Catalyse the Sector and Broker Partnerships; — Mobilise Resources; — Enable Markets; — Champion the Issue; — Promote International Standards; and — Coordinate Sector Knowledge and Research. Since March 2012, the Alliance has held three stakeholder engagement sessions in Nairobi, Kenya; Dhaka, Bangladesh; and Hanoi, Vietnam. The aim of these was to share the Alliance’s strategic business plan for feedback and input, learn what activities partners and other cookstove sector actors are involved in in these countries and regions, and describe the Alliance’s upcoming plans for scaling up towards its ‘100 by 20’ goal.


GACC NEWS News Editor Sean Bartlett UN Foundation, 1800 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, 4th Floor, Washington, DC
GACC NEWS News Editor Sean Bartlett UN Foundation, 1800 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, 4th Floor, Washington, DC

Figure 2: Alliance presents its 10-year business plan

to partners in the US (Source: Alliance)

Dynamic cross-section of Alliance engages in panel discussion on cookstoves

At the conclusion of the US-based partners meeting on 17 January, the UN Foundation and the US Government hosted a dynamic panel discussion on the issue of toxic cookstove smoke, the formation of the Alliance to address it, the multi-pronged benefits of clean cookstove and fuel interventions, and how the sector is coming together as never before to create a thriving global market for affordable, accessible and clean cooking solutions – as laid out in the strategy Igniting Change: A Strategy for Universal Adoption of Clean Cookstoves and Fuels. Participating in the event were:

Welcome and opening remarks by:

— Kathy Calvin, Chief Executive Officer, United Nations Foundation — Gina McCarthy, Assistant Administrator, Office of Air and Radiation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Dr. Nguyen Vu Tung, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to the U.S.

A panel discussion by:

Radha Muthiah,

Executive Director, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves

Chef José Andrés,

Owner/Founder, ThinkFoodGroup and World Central Kitchen

Jacob Moss,

Director, U.S. Cookstoves Initiative, U.S. Department of State

Laura Asiala,

Director of Corporate Citizenship, Dow Corning Corporation

Neil Ghosh, Director, SNV-USA Katherine Sierra,

Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development Program, Brookings Institution

Tyler Suiters,

Chief Correspondent, Bloomberg TV’s energyNOW! - moderator

Boiling Boiling Point. Point. ISSUE issue 60 60 2012 2012

GACC NEWS News Editor Sean Bartlett UN Foundation, 1800 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, 4th Floor, Washington, DC

First ISO workshop for cookstoves standards

The Alliance and the Partnership for Clean Indoor Air (PCIA) have been working with the American National Standard Institute to submit a proposal to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for an interim, voluntary, consensus document for cookstove standards. The document is based on the 2011 Lima Consensus ‘Tiers of Performance’, an agreement to establish an interim rating system for the evaluation of cookstove models that reflects the varying tiers of performance in the areas of fuel efficiency, indoor air quality, emissions of particulate matter and carbon monoxide, and safety. The ISO Technical Management Board unanimously approved the proposal and we held a workshop in February in The Hague, Netherlands, as part of our commitment to developing globally recognised standards for clean and efficient cookstoves. An ISO International Workshop Agreement (IWA) was finalised and affirmed by 91 participants from 23 countries. It focuses on rating cookstoves in several performance tiers in relation to four key elements - fuel use/efficiency, total emissions, indoor emissions, and safety. Resolutions were also adopted regarding areas of future work. The workshop proceedings and a draft of the IWA can be found on the PCIA website (see @HEDON).

Engaging, listening and learning in India Radha Muthiah (left), the Alliance’s Executive Director, visiting salt pans

Engaging, listening and learning in India

Radha Muthiah (left), the Alliance’s Executive Director, visiting

salt pans with the Self-Employed Women’s Association of India

(SEWA) in Surendranagar District, Gujarat State on 6 February.

(Source: Manpreet Romana).

Both men and women are very keen on clean cookstoves in this

desert climate area, where wood for fuel is nearly non-existent.

Radha also learned that the community is interested in “bundle”

opportunities - investing in clean cookstoves, solar panels and

solar lights together all at once.

* Link to GACC’s publication Igniting Change * More about the ISO Workshop

Meet us @HEDON

GACC NEWS News Editor Sean Bartlett UN Foundation, 1800 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, 4th Floor, Washington, DC






Alessandra Moscadelli

GVEP International, Head office, Fifth Floor Totara Park House,

34-36 Grays Inn Road, London WC1X 8HR, UK


GVEP INTERNATIONAL NEWS News Editor Alessandra Moscadelli GVEP International, Head office, Fifth Floor Totara Park House,
GVEP INTERNATIONAL NEWS News Editor Alessandra Moscadelli GVEP International, Head office, Fifth Floor Totara Park House,

Figure 1: An improved cookstoves micro-producer supported

by the Developing Energy Enterprises Project (Source: GVEP)

DEEP delivers energy to 1.8 million East Africans

GVEP is leading the way in delivering sustainable energy, by providing it to 1.8 million East Africans through the Developing Energy Enterprises Project (DEEP), nine months earlier than originally planned. DEEP was started in 2008 and is funded by EU and the Dutch government. It had a target of bringing sustainable energy services and products to 1.8 million Africans by 2013 by supporting businesses and innovation and providing entrepreneurs with access to capital. The programme supports local entrepreneurs working in renewable energy technologies, including improved cookstoves, biomass briquettes, cleaner alternatives to charcoal, solar PV products and services, and biogas. GVEP provides the business and technology training and access to appropriate financing, and these have contributed to the growth of 900 new enterprise projects and creation of 2,000 jobs in East Africa. The environmental benefits of these technologies arise from reduced purchase of ‘dirty’ fuels such as charcoal, wood and kerosene. This substitution also underpins DEEP entrepreneurs’ value proposition to their customers: saving time and money, and reducing indoor air pollution. The demand for such clean, low carbon and affordable energy sources saw 275,000 stoves being sold in the region last year alone. Ben Good, CEO of GVEP said: “As the global economic crisis continues and world leaders sit down at the G20 and Rio+20, GVEP is demonstrating that action and investment in energy brings jobs, growth and innovation to developing countries. GVEP is sending a clear signal to policymakers and governments that real progress on these serious issues is possible – and that local energy business can have a leading role to play in this”.


GVEP INTERNATIONAL NEWS News Editor Alessandra Moscadelli GVEP International, Head office, Fifth Floor Totara Park House,

IDEAS energy innovation contests

Simple innovations can have a dramatic effect on the way businesses and markets operate in developing countries. Despite the potential for improving energy efficiency and for adaptation to climate change, many countries in the Caribbean face technical and financial barriers to supporting the implementation of such projects. A new round of the IDEAS Energy Innovation Contest was launched in the Caribbean region in February 2012. The Caribbean islands have great potential for the development of economically and environmentally sustainable projects in key sectors, such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and biofuels. Local innovation and the adaptation of existing technologies to local circumstances are essential to increasing the competitiveness of renewable energy services and tackling environmental concerns. The IDEAS contest seeks project ideas focused on the adoption, innovation, development and transfer of technology regarding renewable energy sources and energy efficiency, having a tangible impact on the local or regional area, while supporting the development of sustainable economies and reducing poverty. The programme, which will run until the end of 2014, is jointly sponsored by the UK Aid from the Department for International Development (DFID), and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). DFID has chosen GVEP as its implementing partner. The call for proposals was open to Caribbean-based innovative projects and enterprises, and the winners will be announced in July 2012.

Loan Guarantee Fund

Through its work with micro enterprises, GVEP has identified various financial issues as the main barriers to the success of energy entrepreneurs. There is a need to increase the availability of affordable loans to promote growth, by allowing businesses to invest in capital equipment and working capital, and by stimulating product demand through consumer financing initiatives. However, many energy businesses are not experts at engaging with banks to make the credit case for a loan, and in some cases are deterred by exaggerated perceptions of banks’ likely behaviour in the event of default. It is important to link promising micro and small energy enterprises to financing sources, and provide capacity building to both parties. In response to these, GVEP launched a Loan Guarantee Fund in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, providing bespoke training to financial institutions in a range of energy financing issues, and linking them with some promising energy entrepreneurs. The Loan Guarantee Fund was established with initial capital made available by corporate and philanthropic donors. Typically, the guarantee provided is for approximately 70% of the lender’s default risk, on a shared loss basis, with cash collateral from the GVEP Fund lodged in a restricted account with the lender. With the improved security, lending rates to the entrepreneur are reduced. Up to date, a total of 16 agreements were made between various lending institutions (commercial banks, savings and credit co-operatives, microfinance institutions, a network of 800 women’s savings groups), and 86 entrepreneurs have taken loans to grow their businesses. There have so far been no claims on the Fund since the first loan guarantee placement was made in August 2009. The Loan Guarantee Fund gained an additional boost when GVEP was approached to be part of Kiva Zip, a pilot programme initiated by Kiva, one of the leading person-to- person micro lending facilitators. Its mission is to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty, and “test new ways of realizing this mission with the goal of expanding our reach to unserved populations by using new technologies that also drive down costs to the borrower.” GVEP and Kiva Zip entered into an agreement in December 2011 and sixteen micro-energy entrepreneurs have since successfully found financing via Kiva Zip Loans. Apart from the jobs created directly through the development of SMEs, several rural households with access to renewables will be able to improve their incomes and quality of life. This is particularly the case for small stores who, by adopting clean energy technologies such as solar lanterns, can stay open for more hours at night. Children are also able to study longer, and families benefit through the conveniences of modern living and productive uses of clean energy-powered devices such as radio, TV and mobile phone.

Boiling Point. ISSUE 60 — 2012

Study: Briquette businesses in Uganda

GVEP has completed a study which investigates the potential for briquette businesses in Uganda to address the sustainability concerns of the country’s biomass fuel market. It investigates the conditions in which micro and small-scale briquette producers are operating in Uganda and examines their potential for growth. It revealed that recent increases in charcoal prices have created an economic case for briquette businesses to serve domestic and institutional markets. Restaurants and institutions such as schools, prisons and hospitals offer the greatest potential

to stimulate demand for briquettes. Domestic markets remain difficult to penetrate due to the cost of distribution and lack of awareness and acceptance among household consumers. According to the study, micro-entrepreneurs can be grown from small (< 20 tonnes per year) to medium scale producers (20 – 200 tonnes per year) using locally available machinery. By attracting suitable investment, opportunities also exist for new entrants to open medium to large-scale production (200 + tonnes per year) facilities, using imported equipment. As Hamish Ferguson, author of the report explains, “Biomass has historically been a cheap and accessible source of fuel for Uganda’s population, but this is unlikely

GVEP INTERNATIONAL NEWS News Editor Alessandra Moscadelli GVEP International, Head office, Fifth Floor Totara Park House,

Figure 2: A sack of briquettes

to continue. The

(Source: GVEP)


level of

demand, coupled with unsustainable harvesting and poor management of forests, means that Uganda is approaching something of a biomass crisis. This provides a context in which the economics of briquette production are becoming feasible, and the report aims to investigate this potential further. GVEP has been supporting briquette producers in the East Africa region since 2008 and we have found that there is much scope for growth from an industry that is still in its infancy.”

* More about the DEEP programme * Download the study on briquette businesses

Meet us @HEDON

GVEP INTERNATIONAL NEWS News Editor Alessandra Moscadelli GVEP International, Head office, Fifth Floor Totara Park House,





Lisa Feldmann and Monika Rammelt

GIZ HERA, Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit

(GIZ) GmbH, Postfach 5180, 65726 Eschborn, Germany


GIZ NEWS News Editors Lisa Feldmann and Monika Rammelt GIZ HERA, Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit

GIZ hosts GACC European implementer and donor meeting

On January 23 and 24, 2012, four Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC) Secretariat members, including the Executive Director, Radha Muthiah, met in Eschborn, Germany with twelve of its European–based implementer organisations. The purpose of this meeting was threefold: to gather comments and input on the initial draft of the Alliance’s Business Plan, to further an understanding of the needs and institutional capabilities of the European organisations, and to strengthen existing partner relationships and foster new ones within the Alliance’s clean cookstoves and fuels network. The meeting was hosted by GIZ at its headquarters in Eschborn, Germany. It helped to clarify the common understanding of the Alliance and its implementing partners on a joint strategy and way forward.

GIZ NEWS News Editors Lisa Feldmann and Monika Rammelt GIZ HERA, Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit

Figure 1: Marketing of Roumdé stoves in Burkina Faso (Source: GIZ)

EU approves West Africa regional cookstove project

With funding from the European Union, GIZ launched a new regional clean cooking project in Western Africa at the beginning of 2012. Project de Cuisson Economique en Afrique de l’Ouest (ProCEAO) is scaling up the EnDev stove projects in Benin, Burkina Faso and Senegal as well as the GIZ stove interventions in Mauretania. ProCEAO will also support the national energy research centres. The project aims at reaching 475,000 people with clean cooking energy by December 2014. ProCEAO is partnering with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); the Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) will be the regional partner on implementation level.


GIZ NEWS News Editors Lisa Feldmann and Monika Rammelt GIZ HERA, Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit

Figure 2: Women transporting firewood in Nepal (Source: GIZ)

Promoting cookstoves in Nepal

Since late 2011, the GIZ Energy Efficiency Programme has been supporting the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) in the promotion of improved cookstoves in Nepal. Besides the main objectives of improved indoor air, reduction of fuel consumption and increased savings in time, especially for women and children in rural areas, GIZ supports AEPC in capacity building to ensure the dissemination of technically improved cookstove models. During the first programme phase, the area of operation’s focus has been on the western lowland of Nepal called Terai. Main activities planned are the improvement in technology and range of improved cookstoves provided by the State Authority; professionalisation of stove builders and manufacturers; setting-up of a production chain for “new portable improved cookstoves”; and awareness raising and social marketing campaigns on improved cookstoves, including kitchen management and stove maintenance practices.

Congratulations: EnDev Bolivia wins Energy Globe Award for efficient toasting ovens

EnDev Bolivia won the national Energy Globe Award for their efforts to distribute efficient toasters for peanut farmers. The new ovens are produced by local companies and utilise locally made liquid gas as fuel. With the success of these ovens among peanut farmers, other farmers started buying these and adapted them to dry maize, beans and chilli, and more than 3,500 families have profited so far. EnDev Bolivia co-funds the upfront costs of the new oven by up to 60 per cent. They also train the users in operation and maintenance, including cleaning and fuel use. For more information, including a video presentation on the toasters, visit @HEDON.

New publications

Cooking is Life

HERA has recently published a new edition of “Cooking is Life”. This publication offers short information about cooking energy and the work of GIZ and its partners in supporting cookstove markets. It is the first publication of HERA that offers access to more in-depth information directly via QR- codes. Please let us know if you are interested in receiving some hardcopies of “Cooking is Life”. The publication is available on the GIZ HERA website (see @HEDON).

New manuals on how to construct and use the Eco-Estufa Justa

Energising Development (EnDev) Honduras recently published two practical guide books on how to build, use and maintain the Eco-Stove Justa.

The first manual, ‘Manual Práctico: Construyendo la Eco- Estufa Justa 16 x 24’, provides a brief history about it. Shaped in the form of a traditional stove, the design has been improved several times to increase efficiency and to lower costs. The manual lists basic tools and materials needed to build the stove and then gives a detailed explanation on how to construct it.

The second manual, ‘Manual de Uso y Mantenimiento de la Eco-Estufa Justa’, details proper practices for using and maintaining the Eco-Stove. Cleaning practices for the combustion chamber, chimney and stovetop griddle for proper usage are explained, as well as how to ignite and extinguish the Eco-Stove. Currently, EnDev Honduras is supporting the construction of more than 4,500 Eco-Stoves Justa in various communities throughout the country. The links to the manuals are available @HEDON.

GIZ HERA Cooking Energy Compendium:

A practical guidebook for project implementers

This compendium presents a comprehensive guide book for both practitioners and project planners in the clean cooking sector. The poverty-oriented basic energy services programme of GIZ (HERA) has compiled its knowledge about cooking energy in order to support the need for large-scale dissemination of energy efficient technologies for cooking and baking. Although there is a great deal of literature and information in books, by organisations and on web pages, this publication addresses the need for a compendium drawing together broader issues on cooking energy. This is accessible on Energypedia (see @HEDON).

Energising Development project factsheets

These factsheets provide you with main facts, background information, impacts and lessons learnt from EnDev as a global programme, and EnDev Bolivia, Ghana, Indonesia, Burkina Faso and Kenya, each on two pages. EnDev and HERA have developed the factsheets and they can be obtained from the GIZ HERA website, available @HEDON.

European Cookstove Coordination Meeting

In October 2011, GIZ HERA and Practical Action invited European implementers and organisations to the first European Cookstove Coordination Meeting. Participants comprised GERES, SNV, Energia, BSH, Ashden, HEDON, GVEP International, Shell Foundation, Practical Action, and GIZ. The meeting aimed at mapping various interventions, synergies, divergences, and possible joint actions in the clean cooking sector. Furthermore, the GACC Secretariat gave an update on its current status and future planning. Three working groups elaborated on: recommendations and contributions to GACC; recommendations to EU; and core principles of the European cookstove implementing organisations.

Boiling Point. issue 60 — 2012

Boiling Point. ISSUE 60 — 2012

* More information on the improved toasting ovens * Links to ‘Cooking is Life’ publication, Eco-Stove Justa manuals, Cooking Energy compendium and Energising Development project factsheets

Meet us @HEDON

GIZ NEWS News Editors Lisa Feldmann and Monika Rammelt GIZ HERA, Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit





Mercy Corps

PO Box 2669, Dept W

Portland, OR 97208-2669 USA

Mercy Corps: 10 steps for carbon credit supported projects

Mercy Corps supports initiatives that fulfil our development mandate; where these also reduce greenhouse gas emissions we can look for financial support through the development of carbon credits. The following steps are a general overview of the process to get carbon-related funding and what is expected of: Mercy Corps – the project developer and implementer; the carbon retailer – business that can sell credits on the carbon market; and the carbon verification body – organisation responsible for determining the eligibility of your carbon credits.

The actual process may not follow the steps in the exact order they are listed and will also be influenced by the technology adopted and the chosen standard and methodology. However, this document serves to provide a simple outline of the terminology and to aid decision making on whether or not carbon revenue is an appropriate source of funding for your project. A checklist is provided for this purpose.

Initial Considerations

N ot all projects are suitable for carbon financing. To be eligible projects must either significantly reduce

emissions or ‘capture’ carbon by storing it away. Projects that reduce emissions are categorised as either renewable energy (replacing use of fossil fuels by a renewable source such as solar) or energy efficiency (reducing the amount of energy required). Reforestation, afforestation and Reducing Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) capture or sequester carbon are also eligible. The extent of this reduction/capture is vitally important since there are costs involved in adhering to carbon market mechanisms. Determining the scale of the project, and/or its potential for replication, is therefore important. As a general rule projects should have the potential to reduce emissions by more than 10,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum in order to be cost effective. Smaller projects could still however, receive direct support for a company wishing to make a voluntary offset and which does not require official monitoring. Carbon financing can help projects to escape from the traditional donor project


cycles of three to five years since income is related to both scale and the timeframe of the project with longer timeframes being the most cost effective. This can provide a tool to aid replication and achieve sustainability but commitments to this longer timeframe, or an exit strategy to pass on the projects to partners, are essential. The technology being adopted is a vital consideration, particularly whether it would have been introduced without carbon financing, while the location of the project will dictate whether it is feasible to think of meeting the stringent monitoring standards. Projects in remote areas involve higher monitoring costs and are less likely to be viable. Staff skills also need to be considered to ensure that there is the internal capacity to adhere to the monitoring requirements. Finally, carbon financed projects require stability since projects need to demonstrate the permanency of emission reductions. Projects in unstable environments, such as emergency situations, are therefore less likely to be suitable. If the project description suggests that it may be eligible for carbon financing then the following guide can be used.


One of the first criteria to consider for a potential carbon financed project is whether or not it can demonstrate ‘Additionality’; whether it can truly make additional savings in greenhouse gas emissions beyond what is termed Business as Usual (BAU). Definitions of additionality vary but normally come under the following categories:

— Financial analysis: where the project demonstrates that without the additional financing from carbon credits, the project would not have the resources to be implemented in the same shape or form. — Barrier analysis: where it can be shown that legal, social, technological, or cultural barriers exist that prevent particular climate mitigation activities being undertaken, with projects only considered additional if they can be shown to overcome such barriers. — Common practice analysis: where the technology or project is not currently common practice in the region or country and therefore carbon financing is helping to overcome barriers to new practices.


Carbon Retailer

It is possible to navigate a project through the carbon market without the help of a carbon retailer but this is both complex and risky and is probably not advisable for Mercy Corps at this stage. Carbon Retailers are companies that engage in either the compliance market or the voluntary market (or both). The compliance market is the regulated arena where companies, governments or other entities buy carbon credits to help them comply with caps on their total emissions. The voluntary market includes individuals and companies that voluntarily mitigate their greenhouse gas emissions through the purchase of credits. One tonne of carbon equals one carbon credit. These credits are sourced from programmes and initiatives that reduce or capture carbon. Credits are either ex-ante (a forward sale) or ex-post (once credits have been verified). The decision on which retailer to engage with should include:

— Whether they operate primarily in the voluntary or compliance market. — The proposed scale of the project. — The ethos of the company (whether they are sympathetic to the work of NGOs and will give some assurances that carbon credits will not be sold to companies that would fall outside our due diligence protocols). — The price offered per tonne of CO2. — The terms offered (i.e. whether they will provide some up-front financing or wish to wait until credits are issued and whether or not they will pay for Designated Operational Entity (DOE) project validation and verification (see ‘Monitoring’ below). The retailer will guide the project through the process and is usually responsible for writing and submitting the Project Design Document (PDD) to a Standards body.


Before engaging with a project developer retailers will check whether the project complies with additionality requirements and will assess project risks (risk of non- delivery, external risks, reputational risk and

regulatory risks). They will also examine key issues of permanence and leakage. — Permanence: The need for permanence is to ensure that the emission reductions achieved during the project are real, verifiable, cannot be reversed and will continue throughout the life of the project. For example, a forestry project may need to have a credit ‘buffer’ to insure against the loss of carbon credits if it is destroyed by fire or there is a change of land use requiring deforestation. — Leakage: Before any project goes ahead it must also demonstrate that it has considered, and dealt with, the issue of leakage. Leakage is a measurable increase in greenhouse gases that occurs outside the boundary of the project that is directly attributable to project activities. For example, a project designed to reduce deforestation in one area may prove to be ultimately unsuccessful in lowering emissions if harvesting activities are just displaced to another site.

Compliance or Voluntary Market

NGO projects are more suitable for the voluntary market for a number of reasons but particularly because of scale, choice of technology, and timelines. Carbon credits sold under the voluntary market are called Voluntary or Verified Emission Reductions (VERs) while those in the compliance market are called Certified Emission Reductions (CERs). Some of Mercy Corps’ larger projects may be eligible for CERs down the road.

Choosing a Standard

Previously the voluntary market was poorly regulated which gave rise to considerable adverse publicity. Over the last few years a number of robust standards have emerged, that give assurance to purchasers that credits are valid, are not double counted and contribute to sustainable development. Most operate on a not-for-profit basis and cover their costs from charges applied to

registration and credit issuance. The Gold Standard was set up by WWF and other NGOs and Mercy Corps is listed as an NGO supporter. The standards provide benchmarks of quality for purchasers of carbon credits. Although others exist, the most likely standards for Mercy Corps projects are:

— Gold Standard (GS): which represents best practice since it requires the project to prove that it is contributing to sustainable development and will not have any adverse socio-economic or environmental impacts. This requires more rigorous monitoring which in turn means extra expense and a need for greater staff capacity. Carbon credits attract a premium price because of this assurance. GS does not, currently, handle forestry and land use projects. — Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS):

an emerging market leader in the voluntary carbon market. It handles all types of projects (renewable energy, energy efficiency and forestry and land use) and has slightly less demanding monitoring requirements with this difference normally being reflected in the price per tonne being offered. — Plan Vivo: a system for developing community-based payments for ecosystem services projects and programmes with an emphasis on building capacity, long-term carbon benefits from community forestry and land use projects, diversifying livelihoods and protecting biodiversity.

Choosing a Methodology

All projects must follow an approved methodology for defining the baseline, evaluating the project emissions and emissions reductions, and defining the monitoring procedure. It is possible to design a methodology and submit this for approval to one of the Standards but it is both time consuming and costly. It is therefore likely that most Mercy Corps projects will adopt a methodology that has been through this process. The methodology used will depend upon the technology adopted and the Standard being followed.

Boiling Point. issue 60 — 2012




Project criteria


Project criteria Reason Additional Resources

Additional Resources

Is the project located in a stable environment?

Carbon finance projects need stability to ensure the permanence of


Further information - including

templates for baselines, energy

poverty surveys, and sources of

Is the expected emission reduction/capture likely to be more than

It is unlikely that smaller scale projects will cover the monitoring

additional material/helpful websites

10,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum - either immediately or through

costs although this is technology dependent.

- is available from Dory McIntosh or

project scale up?

Jim Jarvie (visit @HEDON).

Does the scale and location of the project indicate that monitoring

Widespread geographical coverage or remote areas make

would be cost effective?

monitoring more expensive.

Monitoring costs may be in the region of US$ 20-30,000 per annum.

It is more likely that the carbon revenue will be generated after the

Can the project cover this?

end of the first year once emission reductions have been proven.

Does the technology comply with a recognised methodology?

It is possible to design and submit a new methodology but not

realistic for Mercy Corps at this stage.

Does the project have skilled staff, or can acquire staff, who can

The carbon market requires stringent monitoring to take place.

handle monitoring requirements (surveys, data recording, reporting).

Is the project length suitable?

Most carbon projects are 2-10 years in length with longer projects

being preferred.

being preferred.

Would the project involve just one product/technology?

Projects involving multiple products might require separate

methodologies which raises costs.

Does the project meet additionality requirements, i.e. would it not

The project is only eligible for carbon financing if it can meet the

have occurred without the incentive of carbon credits?

additionality ruling.

Table 1: Checklist - Affirmative check for criteria indicates project potential for carbon financing


The Baseline


Projects are also checked by third

Project Examples

Emission reductions need to be real, measurable and verifiable. This necessitates measuring the emission reductions associated with the project

The need to demonstrate that carbon emission reductions are real, that credits are not double counted and that they contribute to sustainable development

party ‘Designated Operational Entities’ DOEs. The DOE for a respective country is responsible for initial validation that the project is eligible and meets all the criteria for the Standard that is being followed.

Figure 1: A stove manufacturer taking

intervention against BAU (i.e. what

requires rigorous project monitoring.

The cost of this validation may be met by

stoves to a larger boat for transport

would have happened in the absence of

Monitoring is carried out on a regular

either the retailer or the project developer

to market (Source: Jim Jarvie)

the project). The actual process will vary according to the methodology and which

random sampling basis during the lifetime of the project with the size of samples

and will vary according to the nature and scale of the project. The DOE will also

Figure 2: A happy customer with a

Standard the project is adhering to. This

determined by a statistical programme

review the draft PDD submitted by the

new stove (Source: Jim Jarvie)

will normally require technical assistance for the calculations of emission reductions and, in the case of forestry projects, may need detailed surveys to be carried out. The baseline analysis will normally use one sample population but multiple baselines

which takes into account the numbers involved and the level of confidence required. Costs do not go up exponentially as the project expands because sampling is on a statistical basis. The quality of the monitoring will determine the quality of the carbon credits

retailer. When the project is underway the DOE will pay a return verification visit to confirm the veracity of emissions and, based on the DOE’s report, the relevant credits will be issued by the Standard body.

time foraging for fuel and suffer from fewer illnesses. The carbon credits are associated with the reduction in

Lack of accessible, affordable fuel and electricity inhibits income generation and raises expenditures.

employment opportunities and the protection of one of the world’s most threatened eco-systems. Emission

may be required if there are substantial differences in the target population.

Sustainability and Stakeholder Surveys

that are verified while the documentation required will depend upon the chosen standard and methodology. For example, Gold Standard requires the project developer to compile all data on the

The following projects have been proposed or are being implemented in the Mercy Corps world:

unsustainable wood used. — Community Forestry (Colombia) - This project is working with slum communities to plant trees in urban environments and surrounding hillsides

The installation of biogas facilities addresses the issue of poor sanitation while providing a useful source of clean and free cooking fuel to slum dwellers and also reducing carbon emissions.

reductions are associated with the replacement of charcoal by a renewable fuel source.

The project should demonstrate that it is contributing to sustainable development and would not have any adverse social, environmental or economic impact. The exact requirements for this will depend on whether it is complying with GS, VCS or Plan Vivo requirements. Stakeholder consultations should also be held to ensure that local opinions guide and shape the design of the project.

baseline, the sustainability matrix and the stakeholder consultations into the Gold Standard Passport, which is then used by the retailer to develop the PDD. The monitoring process is rigorous and demands high quality record keeping and staff ability to conduct surveys. As a rough guide, project monitoring costs are likely to be in the region of US$ 20-30,000 per annum.

— Fuel-efficient stoves: (DRC, Myanmar and potentially Timor Leste). Around the world, millions still use traditional three stone fires for cooking. These are highly inefficient, contribute to wide-scale deforestation and also lead to high levels of respiratory diseases – particularly among women. The use of a fuel efficient stove can dramatically reduce the need for fuelwood which, in turn means that women spend less

which will provide useful sources of fuelwood and fruit while conserving and restoring waterways and wetlands and helping to capture carbon. — Biogas from Waste (Indonesia) - In the population-dense slums of Jakarta, poverty, overcrowding and lack of adequate sanitation and waste disposal leads to unhealthy, unhygienic, and environmentally damaging conditions.

Carbon credits are associated with the substitution of a fossil fuel (usually kerosene) by a renewable source. — Briquettes (Democratic Republic of Congo) - Combustible biomass briquettes are produced from a wide range of waste plant and agricultural material. Benefits to local populations include reduced respiratory diseases (from lowered smoke levels), * Read article online and comment * Contact details for additional resources Meet us @HEDON
* Read article online and comment
* Contact details for additional resources
Meet us @HEDON


Boiling Point. issue 60 — 2012




Delivery Models for Decentralised Rural Electrification:

Case studies in Nepal, Peru and Kenya – Executive Summary

Keywords: Rural electrification; Delivery models; Renewable energy; Nepal; Peru; Kenya

This is an extract from the third report in IIED’s new ‘Access to Energy’ publication series. The series was launched in 2011 as a way of supporting research and making available lessons learned about access to energy.

The series will include in-depth studies of specific access to energy projects, programmes and business models; analytical literature studies about particular aspects of energy delivery; and in-depth country studies looking more broadly at the energy sector and aspects of policy that support or hamper access to modern energy services, especially for poor and remote communities.


Annabel Yadoo

Sustainable Development

Consultant, International Institute for

Environment and Development (IIED)

80-86 Gray’s Inn Road,

London, WC1X 8NH, UK

The aim is to explore how current initiatives are working, how they depend on their social, cultural and political context, and how successful models can be scaled up, replicated or adapted to suit other contexts.

PREVIEW Preview Delivery Models for Decentralised Rural Electrification: Case studies in Nepal, Peru and Kenya –
PREVIEW Preview Delivery Models for Decentralised Rural Electrification: Case studies in Nepal, Peru and Kenya –

Figure 1: Key issues in Uganda’s

energy sector

(Tumwesigye et al. 2011); An ‘Access

to Energy’ series publication

Figure 2: Remote access: Expanding

energy provision in rural Argentina

through public-private partnerships

and renewable energy. A case study

of the PERMER programme

(Best 2011); An ‘Access to Energy’

series publication

A ccess to affordable, reliable and clean energy is fundamental for poverty reduction and sustainable

development; without it, the Millennium Development Goals cannot be achieved. Electrification, along with access to modern cooking fuels and mechanical power, is a catalyst for improvements in the fields of poverty reduction, food security, health, education and gender equality. Nevertheless,



1.3 billion people still lack access to electricity, of which over 95 percent live in sub-Saharan Africa or developing Asia and 84 percent are in rural areas. There are many different ways to electrify rural areas, not only with regard to the different technologies used, but also the types of delivery models applied. Common rural electrification technologies include grid extension, community mini-grids, stand-

alone household systems, multifunctional platforms and central charging stations with battery banks. This report will focus on the delivery models used for community mini-grids, as there is evidence to show that mini-grids can be one of the cheaper forms of electrification (on a per unit basis, calculated over the system’s lifetime) and also potentially offer a 24 hour AC service that can power a wide range of appliances.


The purpose of this report is to analyse the impact of delivery models on the creation of sustainable welfare benefits. Three case studies are selected, comprising of one renewable energy mini-grid project or programme from each of Nepal, Peru and Kenya. Although rural electrification poses a great challenge to all three countries (only 32 percent of rural Nepalese, 23 percent of rural Peruvians and 10 percent of rural Kenyans have access to electricity in their homes), their different physical, institutional, economic and socio-cultural contexts have led to different approaches to rural electrification. These approaches, alongside some of the countries’ major electrification challenges, are described in Chapter 2. The case studies are compared and analysed in terms of their ability to generate sustainable welfare benefits for their intended beneficiaries (Chapter 3). A series of 43 Sustainability Indicators (based on five dimensions of Sustainability – Economic, Technical, Social, Environmental and Institutional) are designed and used to assess the projects’ impact and its likely sustainability. The key findings from the case study analysis are as follows:

— A holistic approach to sustainability – that is, consideration of its technical, economic, social, environmental and institutional dimensions – should be adopted in the project planning and implementation stages in order to create sustainable welfare benefits. Neglect of one or more dimension will detract not only from sustainability, but also development impact and resilience. — The broader a project’s remit (for example, not only focusing on electricity access but also introducing toilet assisted biogas, raising awareness on environmental issues and improving the local gender balance), the greater its potential to improve a community’s overall development. — Project management can be made more efficient, transparent and effective when it is clearly separated from ownership and a formal system of checks and balances is established. Effective management can also improve resilience to internal and external shocks and stresses.

— Wherever possible, practitioners should aim to future-proof systems by including demand growth margins in the original project design. Project resilience can be enhanced if detailed risk analyses are conducted and contingency plans agreed by all the key stakeholders a priori. The second stage of the analysis focuses on examining which elements of a project’s delivery model are particularly important for the creation of sustainable welfare benefits. Delivery models are generally comprised of several variables. For the purpose of this research, these have been subdivided into the intervention’s technology choice, implementation process and surrounding support infrastructure (its enabling environment) and include the following elements: the assessment of community needs, desires and availability of local resources; management models; productive end uses; the implementing agency’s approach; ownership and governance; local skills and training; local job creation; financing; dissemination strategies; and the project’s interaction with hardware suppliers and the various financing, regulatory, legal and political institutions and policies which form its enabling environment. The findings, presented in Chapter 4, are based on analysis of the data generated by the three main and several less in-depth satellite case studies, 67 expert interviews and a literature review. Three cross-cutting themes are identified as having a particularly strong influence over the creation of sustainable welfare benefits: Responsibility, Impetus and Scope. Different elements of a project’s delivery model feed into each of the themes and their boundaries are not entirely discrete. Their key features are summarised thus:

Responsibility: The extent to which a sense of duty for the off-grid electricity system amongst users, managers and local support staff (such as implementing agencies, governments, manufacturers or financiers) has been created. Responsibility is arguably the most important factor that will influence the likely sustainability of a project or programme. — Ownership is only important to the extent that it encourages key stakeholders to take responsibility for the effective

management of the electricity system. As the perception of ownership can increase responsibility, it can be more relevant than legal ownership. — Financial contributions, “sweat equity”, project showcasing and local participation in planning and decision-making can create a sense of ownership and responsibility for users. Responsibility in management can be instilled through rigorous training, selection tests, ongoing monitoring and community mobilisation. — A community mobiliser can provide guidance and external objectivity. — More formalised management, a wider group of owner-stakeholders and a clear auditing process can improve transparency and accountability to the users and financiers. Impetus: The need for incentives that will encourage users, managers and investors to provide ongoing support for the electricity system, as well as to scale-up and replicate the project’s activities. — It may not be necessary for users to have initiated the electrification process, or shown particularly pro-active leadership in the first instance, provided that their interest and desire for the project can be aroused through facilitation (for example, by a community mobiliser). — User interest is only likely to be sustained if the system meets their needs and desires, and generates additional welfare benefits, income and, wherever possible, employment for the local community. Therefore, the development of productive uses could play a significant role, as could community mobilisation processes that encompass training and support across different development areas. Where there is local impetus for a project or programme, users may independently attempt to scale-up activities or replicate them elsewhere (or encourage other communities to do so following demonstration). — A system’s managers and operators should be paid an appropriate wage for their services in order to maintain their drive and motivation. — Impetus from local authorities such as district governments can be better sustained across successive changes

Boiling Point. issue 60 — 2012


PREVIEW PREVIEW Figure 3: Sample hybrid business Figure 4: Decision support tree for Enabling Environment model
Figure 3: Sample hybrid business
Figure 4: Decision support tree for
Enabling Environment
model for mini-grid development
Does the country have effective policies, institutions, technical
support, financing infrastructure, regulation and laws that will
support the development of rural mini -­‐grids?
Facilitating government; Supportive policies and legal structures; Access to
financing; Facilitating NGO or alternative organisation that will stimulate
private sector and community involvement.
Is there a systematic approach to
assessing rural electrification needs
and available local resources that is
already in place in the country?
Work alongside national and
regional governments and other
key stakeholders to improve the
enabling environment as required
External Company
Local Cooperative/
Use this approach to select an
appropriate community for
the rural mini-­‐grid
Carry out a systematic nationwide
assessment of local needs and
in administration if the project has
adopted a non-partisan approach.
— External investors and entrepreneurs
will usually require a degree of financial
impetus before they are willing to
invest in a rural electricity system.
Therefore, sustainable business models
should be sought to incentivise private
sector involvement.
Scope: The extent to which holistic
development benefits are achieved and
a project’s institutional environment is
strengthened so as to create a sustainable
sector and increase a project’s chances to
be sustained, scaled-up and replicated.
— A broad range of welfare impacts,
income-generating uses of electricity
and local employment opportunities
should be created.
— Awareness-raising, training, seed
capital and investment in surrounding
infrastructure may be needed to
develop productive uses and increase
their ability to alleviate poverty.
— It is recommended that mobilisation
processes be used to create welfare
impacts that are not exclusively linked
to energy, thereby widening a project’s
scope and making it more holistic.
— The enabling environment can be
improved by increasing access to
financing and technical support
networks, improving monitoring
practices, raising awareness of off-grid
technologies amongst local governments
and development planners, and working
alongside national governments to
improve policies and institutions.
The report considers a number of strategies
to encourage the scaling-up and replication
of successful interventions, most notably
strengthening the enabling environment
and incentivising private sector approaches
to rural electrification (Chapter 5). It
proposes a sample hybrid business model
for mini-grid development (Figure 3) which
capitalises on the comparative advantages
offered by the different stakeholders: a
private company’s greater access to the
necessary financing and technical skills for
the hardware’s installation and continued
maintenance, and a community’s greater
willingness to engage in, and often greater
efficiency (lowered instances of theft and
Invests in the generation
and distribution hardware
and provides a service
contract for the lifetime of
the hardware. Jointly
holds the managing body
to account.
Bulk Purchase
of Electricity
A local socially-motivated
but profit-orientated
management board buys the
resources alongside relevant
national bodies
Yadoo, A., 2012. Delivery models
electricity in bulk and retails
it amongst the residential
and business consumers in
its catchment area.
for decentralised rural electrification:
case studies in Nepal, Peru and
Kenya. International Institute for
Does the community have a long
Environment and Development,
Provision of
Assign a community mobiliser to live and work
with the community, focusing on a range of
development issues; Investigate what industries
and businesses are active in the area, how they
currently obtain their electricity supply and
whether they would be interested in a hybrid
business model for off-­‐grid power generation
history of cooperation and/or are
private companies viewed with
Robert, T., Twebaze, P., Makuregye,
N., Muyambe, E., 2011. Key
issues in Uganda’s energy sector.
International Institute for Environment
User Group
Consider adopting a
cooperative based
management system
Consider adopting a
management system
and Development, London
Best, S., 2011. Remote access:
Expanding energy provision in rural
National body in charge of
regulating the activities of
the external company.
Organised group that
protects user
interests. Jointly
holds the managing
body to account.
Argentina through public-private
Ensure effective monitoring
and regulatory systems are in
Provide additional assistance to
partnerships and renewable energy.
promote productive uses of
electricity where necessary
A case study of the PERMER
programme. International Institute
for Environment and Development,
Scale-­‐up and
Profile of the author
improved tariff collection) to manage, the
distribution side of the system.
The model proposes that a private
company could finance and service
rural electrification infrastructure (or
subcontract a qualified firm to do so),
and a local management committee such
as a cooperative or local micro-enterprise
could buy the energy in bulk and manage
the distribution to local residents. The
private company could be a designated
energy services provider or a nearby
telecommunications operator or factory
that requires off-grid electrification for
their own use. The use of an anchor load
(such as a factory or another commercial
end user) should improve financial
However, adequate institutional and
financial support is likely to be required
before a private company will be interested
in the business venture. The government
should ensure that effective regulation is
in place to monitor its activities. Likewise,
an auditing body – composed of the user
group and the external company investing
in the generation equipment – should be
established to improve the effectiveness
of the local management committee. The
rights and obligations of each party (the
external company, local management
team and users) should be transparent,
formalised and enforceable by law.
The majority of the report’s
conclusions are not country specific,
despite the deliberate selection of case
studies from three continents to reflect
different physical, institutional, economic
and socio-cultural domains. Nevertheless,
the enabling environments in the three
countries vary considerably, impacting
upon the types of projects encountered,
their sustainability and potential to
be scaled-up and replicated. At the
community level, the largest difference
between countries relates to the choice
of management model employed: micro-
enterprises find it more difficult to gain
traction in Nepal than in Kenya or Peru,
as they are regarded with some distrust.
Conversely, due to a strong tradition of
cooperation and more closely-knitted
communities, cooperatives are generally
considered more effective in Nepal than in
Peru or Kenya where such traditions are
not as predominant. A decision support
tree is presented (Figure 4) to incorporate
the results of the research for the benefit
of rural electrification practitioners
In summary, the report presents
the following core recommendations
for the benefit of practitioners and
institutions involved in the provision and
implementation of rural electrification
projects in developing countries:
training technicians, improving access
to finance, establishing regulation and
national support policies). In so doing,
the ability for a project’s benefits to be
scaled-up and replicated should increase.
— Try to engage the private sector
through more innovative partnerships
and hybrid business models, provided
a supportive institutional and financial
environment is already in place. If
successful, private sector involvement
should help accelerate scaling-up and
— Be aware that there is no one-size-fits-
all solution. Take care to tailor the
rural electrification system to cater for
the specific needs, desires and cultural
specificities of different communities. This
will be particularly relevant with regard
to the choice of management model.
Dr Annabel Yadoo has worked as an
energy researcher and consultant
for the international NGOs Practical
Action and Renewable World. She
has a PhD in Delivery Models for
Decentralised Rural Electrification
from the University of Cambridge
— During a project’s planning and
implementation stages, overriding
focus should be placed on generating
a sense of local responsibility for
the electricity system and its upkeep
across all key stakeholders, growing
local desire for the electricity services
provided and stimulating providers to
expand their business, and extending
the scope of the project across
different development arenas to create
maximum welfare impact.
— A number of concrete steps can be
taken to achieve this, many of which
fall under the categories of ownership,
management, productive uses, training
and job creation, financing and
implementing approach.
— Rather than focusing exclusively on a
project’s micro level, attempt to influence
and build the institutional framework
and environment in which the project
takes place (raising awareness of
renewable energy off-grid technologies,
and has conducted fieldwork in
Peru, Nepal, Kenya, Nicaragua and
Mozambique. Annabel has published
five journal and conference papers,
presented at three international
conferences and spent two months
working as a researcher and
assistant policy adviser in DFID’s low
carbon development team (part of
the Climate and Environment Group).
This publication is based on the
author’s doctoral work that was
conducted at the University of
Cambridge (Centre for Sustainable
Development, Department of
Engineering) between 2008 and
2011. The PhD was funded by an
interdisciplinary studentship from
* Link to full publication
the UK Energy Research Centre;
additional funding was provided by
the Royal Academy of Engineering
Meet us @HEDON
and Engineers Without Borders UK.
Boiling Point. issue 60 — 2012



GENERAL General Biochar: Biomass energy, agriculture and carbon sequestration Keywords: Biochar; Gasification; Cookstoves; Soil improvement Authors

Biochar: Biomass energy, agriculture and carbon sequestration

Keywords: Biochar; Gasification; Cookstoves; Soil improvement

GENERAL General Biochar: Biomass energy, agriculture and carbon sequestration Keywords: Biochar; Gasification; Cookstoves; Soil improvement Authors


Sarah Carter

Research Assistant, UK Biochar Research

Centre, University of Edinburgh,

Edinburgh, EH9 3JN, UK

Simon Shackley

Lecturer in Carbon Policy, UK Biochar

Research Centre, University of Edinburgh,

Edinburgh, EH9 3JN, UK

Figure 1: Distribution of Sampanda

and Anila gasification cookstoves for

household testing in Maharasthra

India. (Source: Sarah Carter)

Biochar is the result of heating biomass in a low to zero oxygen environment and it is suitable for soil improvement and carbon storage. A range of technologies and scales, from industrial continuous units to micro-gasification cookstoves, can produce it. Improved gasification cookstoves, in addition to their efficiency and reduced smoke production, can also be operated to provide biochar. Waste biomass, agri-residues and wood can be used as feedstock. The production conditions will influence the biochar properties. The alkaline nature, high Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC), water retention and availability of certain nutrients contribute to the benefits it can bring to soil.

Introduction to biochar

Biochar is the porous carbonaceous solid produced by thermochemical conversion of organic materials in an oxygen depleted atmosphere which has physiochemical properties suitable for the safe and long-term storage of carbon in the environment and, potentially, soil

improvement.” (Shackley & Sohi 2010). First coined by Peter Read, biochar can be considered a charcoal-like material prepared for soil improvement, which also provides a long term carbon


sink (Read 2009). Because of its carbon storage properties, carbon finance can possibly be obtained where it is produced and then incorporated into soils. Biochar can be made from biomass including wood (Abdullah 2010), greenwaste (Chan 2007), agri-residues (e.g. shells, husks) (Novak 2010), other biomass processing by-products including papermill sludge (Van Zwieten 2010) and even wastewater and sewage sludge (Hossain 2010). Since the discovery of the Terra Preta soils of the Amazon showing the historic incorporation of charcoal and other

materials, there has been increasing interest in biochar (Shackley et al 2010). These soils, in relation to adjacent ones, showed benefits such as increased water retention (Glazer et al 2002), nutrient availability and soil Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) – even after abandonment up to 2000 years ago (Sombroek et al. 2003, Glaser et al. 2002). However, the exact char production conditions and soil improvement methods for these soils are unknown, so the modern biochar soil amendment results may not reflect these historic soils.

Figure 2: Biochar production in India

from Casurina equisetifolia in the

Anila stove. (Source: Sarah Carter)

Cookstoves and biochar

Gasification stoves, in addition to benefits generally produced by improved stoves (increased efficiency and decreased smoke production), may also produce biochar which can potentially increase food production where biochar is used as a soil amendment. They can contribute to achieving seven out of the eight Millennium Development Goals which aim to reduce global poverty (Warwick & Doig 2004). Projects in South East Asia undertaken by the UK Biochar Research Centre have attempted to assess these impacts. A key finding was that the multiple benefits which micro-gasification cookstoves provide, may make some designs unsuitable for many scenarios (Carter & Shackley 2011). Potential weaknesses have included their limited turn-up and turn-down capabilities and inappropriate height, where cooks typically sit or squat to cook. Difficulties in operating the stove in order to produce biochar were also experienced, such as for the user in identifying at what point to extinguish the flame and the biochar (if it is not quenched when produced from the Anila stove, it will turn to ash once it has been removed from the stove). These factors are potential barriers to adoption (Roth 2011, Carter & Shackley 2011). In cookstoves, pyrolysis, gasification and combustion will occur at different times during the burn, but when it is in gasifying mode, the gas (comprising of carbon monoxide and other molecules) is burnt to produce heat (FOE 2009, Horne 2006, Sohi & Shackley 2010). Pyrolysis temperatures of 450-550°C (slow pyrolysis) will maximise biochar production (Lehmann 2007), which is higher than a Top-Lit Up Draft (TLUD) stove will typically operate at. However conditions vary and the Belonio gasifier (forced draft), for example, can operate with a flame temperatures of 610°C (Belonio 2005). Most stoves are designed specifically to produce a clean flame suitable for cooking rather than to maximise biochar production. Nevertheless, some commonly available designs can produce between 25-30% biochar, and sometimes


GENERAL General Biochar: Biomass energy, agriculture and carbon sequestration Keywords: Biochar; Gasification; Cookstoves; Soil improvement Authors

higher, from the feedstock on an oven dry weight basis (SET 2010, Iliffe 2009, Own observations). These rates are comparable to yield under controlled slow pyrolysis conditions, where a 40% conversion rate to biochar is about the expected maximum (Brownsort 2009). Biochar in cookstoves is likely to be produced in a TLUD stove where the operating temperature is about 400°C (Anderson 2010). These typically have a lower pH and lower CEC than when produced at higher temperatures (Shackley & Sohi 2010). Little is known, however, about the production conditions, including temperature and pressure, in cookstoves. This leads to difficulties in assuring the consistency of the biochar’s properties. However, Iliffe (2009) found that selected properties were consistent, including pH and CEC, when produced from the same cookstove and feedstock. Feedstock is known to be one of the major determinants of biochar properties (Brownsort 2009, Baldock & Smernik 2002). Depending on the feedstock used, biochar produced in the stoves can be used as a fuel (particularly wood charcoal). This can be burned fully in the stove in which it is produced or, be quenched with water and stored for later use in a charcoal stove.

Gasification cookstove designs

Natural-draft gasification stoves are designed for a specific feedstock (see Table 1). Some gasification stoves have several versions designed for different purposes – for example the Champion TLUD stove includes a ‘refugee’ version – a simpler, less costly, design which can be made from reclaimed materials, and an artisan version, which requires manufacturing (Anderson 2010).

A new stove is not always required to produce biochar. Experimentation by Appropriate Rural Technology Institute, India (ARTI), found that simple adaptation of a conventional or improved shielded mud/concrete stove could convert it into a gasification stove. ARTI’s Bharat Laxmi wood burning stove was added with a grate, insulating blocks and chimney (SET 2010). A tin with holes punched in the bottom, which is placed in the combustion chamber of the stove, acts as a fuel chamber which also restricts the air, leading to gasification. Primary air can enter through the holes, and secondary air through the stove chamber. The pan’s height above the stove may need to be adjusted to allow all the gas to burn fully, and further research would be required to assess this adaptation’s efficiency. Batch operated stoves can be divided into two types, autothermal and allothermal (Roth 2011). Autothermal refers to those which produce biochar (or charcoal) in the main chamber through flaming pyrolysis. The biomass is pyrolysed and gasified, the gas burns to produce heat for cooking and biochar forms as a solid residue. In allothermal stoves, biomass is placed in an outer fuel chamber and is heated by the thermal reactions in the main fuel chamber. The biomass undergoes thermal decomposition, releasing pyrolytic vapours which flow into the main fuel chamber and are combusted, producing a biochar residue. The feedstock in the outer chamber can therefore be quite different from that in the main chamber. In autothermal stoves, pyrolysis and gasification result in biochar production; and, if incineration is allowed to follow, the biochar will turn into ash. If the stove is extinguished before the biochar is ashed, it can be kept for soil amendment or fuel purposes.

Boiling Point. issue 60 — 2012



Figure 3: Cabbage pot trials in

Cambodia (Source: Sarah Carter)

The majority of gasification stoves are autothermal, of the TLUD design (or technically an ‘inverted downdraft’ design) (Anderson 2010). One of the leading designs is the ‘Anderson’s Champion TLUD’, which won an award in 2005 at the stove camp (Aprovecho) for the lowest emissions. Primary air enters to initiate thermal reactions, while secondary air enters for gas combustion for flame and heat production. TLUD designs can burn with a clean flame due to the gasification process. These can be natural draft or forced draft (with an integral fan). The same concept has also been used to produce devices with other functions, including the natural draft gasifier water heater for rural households (Babar & Karve 2009). The best known two chamber allothermal stove is Anila (Figure 2) designed by Professor Ravikumar. This stove also burns gases using the principles of the TLUD stove.


Many types of biomass material can be used to produce biochar in gasification cookstoves, and some designers also list a variety of suitable feedstock. Dry biomass is universally required, with moisture below 20% (Roth 2011), and wood is a commonly recommended feedstock to ensure the stove’s most efficient use. Micro-gasification stoves tend to utilise fuel with a small particle-size; in cases where wood is collected or purchased in large pieces, some stoves (including Andersons TLUD, EverythingNice and the Anila stove) will require wood to be chopped for optimal operation and to fit inside the fuel chamber. This is often viewed negatively by users (Carter & Shackley 2011). The Anila is more flexible than the others in some respects, since the pyrolysis chamber can utilise materials that do not burn well in the combustion chamber (own observations), although wood chips were found to be incompletely charred during tests by Iliffe (2009). It allows the use of small sized residues which otherwise would be discarded (Roth 2011). The extent of the presence of

GENERAL Figure 3: Cabbage pot trials in Cambodia (Source: Sarah Carter) The majority of gasification stoves

available residues without an alternative use has to be investigated on a case-by- case basis (Carter & Shackley 2011).

Biochar benefits to soils and crops

Biochar incorporated into the soil can influence it physically, chemically and biologically and potentially benefit plant growth (IBI 2010, Lehmann 2007) (see Figure 3). It can improve water retention; Chan et al (2007) observed improvements to hardsetting soil including tensile strength reduction, increases in field capacity and a higher pH when over 50 t ha -1 biochar was added. Biochar can also reduce the soil albedo (reflectance) (Grieshop et al 2009), thus warming it. Biochar is typically alkaline, a useful property for addition to acidic soils. Certain nutrients are directly available through the solubilisation of ash contained within the biochar and microbial use of the labile carbon will lead to more plant available nutrients (Shackley & Sohi 2010). Biochar retains cations better than other forms of soil organic matter and this ability increases as it ages in the soil (Lehmann 2007), owing to its high CEC (Sohi et al 2010). As it ages and particle size decreases, CEC may also increase (Shackley & Sohi 2010, Lehmann 2007). Chan et al (2007) showed that biochar addition with fertiliser increased radish production, although biochar amendment alone did not. Asai et al (2009) found that the impact of biochar’s addition in field trials depended on the presence of available nutrients from fertiliser (synthetic or organic). They suggested that the lack of available nitrogen in the soil led to decreased yields of rice after biochar

addition, probably because of adsorption of available soil nitrogen onto the biochar’s surface. The addition of biochar with sufficient fertiliser, on the other hand, saw positive results for crop yield. Experiments carried out in South East Asia found varied responses, including that in some cases, biochar alone led to significant plant growth (Karve et al. 2010). The effect of biochar on soil and crop growth will also depend on the interactions with the soil type and microbes (Rondon et al 2007, Warnock et al 2010). The receiving soil will also influence the longevity of the biochar, since even a recalcitrant fraction of biochar will eventually degrade in the soil and oxidise (Novak et al 2010). There are two main carbon fractions in biochar:

the recalcitrant fraction which is frequently stable over hundreds of years and the labile fraction, which is mineralised in the short term (days to a few years) and returns to the atmosphere. Biochar can degrade abiotically and biotically, but the turnover in the soil is much slower than for plant litter (Glaser 2002). The exact length of time biochar will stay in the soil is debated, but 1000- 1500 years has been predicted for the recalcitrant fraction (Lehmann & Joseph 2009). Biochar persists in the soil, since its aromatic structure renders it resistant to the usual process of microbial degradation of biomass in the soil (Baldock & Smernik 2002). Biochar which has been incorporated into agricultural soils can also potentially be ‘lost’ (or rather displaced) as it can move with eroded soil away from the site and enter river systems (Forbes et al 2006), though it will continue to store carbon. The long-term stability of biochar in the soil is important since stable carbon can potentially attract carbon finance.


Stove Name


Country developed




Anderson / ARTI


Wood / biomass


R.V. Ravikumar





Bhaskar Reddy



Biochar stove





Champion TLUD




Wood / biomass


Beijing Shenzhou


Wood / crop waste

Daxu Bio-energy


Company Ltd





Holey Briquette

R Stanley & K Venter

South Africa

Fuel briquettes






Magh series natural-


Bhaskar Reddy









Any biomass

Peko Pe




Variety of dry



Philips Natural-Draft






Karve (ARTI)


Wood / biomass




South Africa


/ New Dawn





Sawdust and other


powdery biomass




Table 1: Prominent natural draft

gasification stoves, available or in

development (see @HEDON for the

entire referenced table)

Profile of the authors

Gasification cookstoves have the potential to provide multiple benefits, particularly energy efficiency, and smoke reduction, in comparison to traditional stoves. With the additional benefits that biochar can provide as a soil amendment, there is potential to increase these further. However the extent to which these benefits can be realised is dependent, among other things, on the technology, and its ability to provide for the needs of the user.


Dr Priyadarshini Karve, Dr Anand

Karve and the staff at Appropriate

Rural Technology Institute, India.

Financial support from the Asian

Institute of Technology and IDRC-

CDRI is gratefully acknowledged.

Boiling Point. issue 60 — 2012

ABarnes D.F, Openshaw, K, Smith,

K.R. and van der Plas, R., 1994.

What Makes People Cook with

Improved Biomass Stoves?, 1994

World Bank Technical Paper 242.

Energy Series. May 1994.

Carter, S. & Shackley, S., 2011.

Participative Distributed Innovation

Process and Biochar: Smoke

reduction, sustainable agriculture

and soil management. Final Technical

Report - in press. University of

Edinburgh. Asian Institute of


Lehmann & Joseph, 2009. Biochar

for Environmental Management

Science & Technology. Earthscan,


Sohi, S., Krull, E., Lopez-Capel, E.,

Bol, R., 2010. A Review of Biochar

and Its Use and Function in Soil.

Advances in Agronomy. 105, 47-82.

Shackley, S.J., Carter, S., Sims, K.,

Sohi, S., 2010. Expert Perceptions

of the Role of Biochar as a Carbon

Abatement Option with Ancillary

Agronomic and Soil-related

Benefits. Energy and Environment.

(Manuscript accepted).

Warnock, D.D., Lehmann, J., Kuyper,

T.W., Rillig, M.C., 2007. Mycorrhizal

responses to biochar in soil –

concepts and mechanisms. Plant

Soil. 300, 9-20.

Sarah graduated with a BSc

Environment, Economics & Ecology

and MSc Resource Management in

the UK. She has previously worked

as a project co-ordinator, and socio-

economist for Plan Vivo carbon

forestry standards, spending time

in East Africa. She also worked on

various projects as a researcher at

the University of Edinburgh. Most

recently, this took her to India and

Cambodia to manage biochar field


Dr Simon Shackley works on

assessing options for removal and

storage of carbon and CO2 (includes

techno-economic, socio-political and

policy evaluations and implications).

He is involved in biochar field trials

and exploring development of

thermal conversion technologies and

biochar products. * Read full article and comment * Full list of references Meet us
biochar products.
Read full article and comment
* Full list of references
Meet us @HEDON





Percentage or







mean Standard



Deviation (SD)





90% 68% 45% 84% 23% 27% 0% Cooking (summer) Cooking (winter)
Cooking (summer)
Cooking (winter)


R 763.26





Minimum: R 150


Maximum: R 3800





Household members

2.85 (1.6)





Children (<3 years)






Children (3-10 years)






The dynamics of paraffin use in a low-income





South African community

Characteristics of home


Table 2: Demographic variables

Figure 1: Open doors/windows during

Material used

90% corrugated

Table 3: Energy sources used by paraffin users

paraffin use

Keywords: Paraffin; Low-income; South Africa; Ingestion; Safety; Indoor air pollution



10% other



Paraffin is a widely used energy source in low-income households in



Electrified (officially or



South Africa; however, the unsafe use of this fuel is associated with high

Robynn Paulsen

incidence of fires, injuries and poisoning from ingestion. The objectives of the study were to identify the energy mix of paraffin users, determine

Research Officer, Paraffin Safety


Association of Southern Africa,


Aims and objectives

Data analysis


84% of households report ensuring

practices linked to paraffin use, and determine the incidence of energy-

125 Belvedere Road, Claremont,


sufficient ventilation. The proportion of

related harm among the sample. This was achieved by surveying 250

Cape Town, South Africa

The objectives of the study were to 1)


Data was analysed using descriptive statistics.

households ensuring sufficient ventilation

households in Soul City, an informal settlement in Johannesburg, South Africa. The findings of the survey identified several harmful

identify the energy mix of paraffin users, 2) determine practices linked to paraf-


declines when cooking with paraffin in winter, as only 27% of households ensure

behaviours relating to paraffin use. This includes poor ventilation when

fin use, and 3) identify the incidence of energy-related harm among the sample.

Demographic variables


sufficient ventilation. The majority of households report purchasing and storing

using paraffin for heating, lack of appropriate paraffin containers, and high incidence of unsafe paraffin stoves. The findings highlight the need for a multi-sectoral approach to eradicate paraffin-related harm.


Table 2 indicates the demographic profile

Multiple energy use of paraffin

paraffin in inappropriate containers (93%) such as cool drink bottles, milk

Table 1: Risky behaviours and correct




of the sample. The monthly household

bottles and water bottles; and at least 72%

This is dependent on collaboration between civil society, government