Piloting Bioethanol as an Alternative cooking fuel in western Kenya

What is the Project about


Nyanza Province is a major producer and processor of sugarcane with an untapped potential to convert a significant part of Kenya’s sugarcane agricultural base which produces molasses which may be processed into ethanol.  Production of the fuel has recently restarted, after an unsuccessful fuel blending programme which collapsed in 1993 due to production problems that led to unsustainable pricing, and with markets still evolving for ethanol internationally, there is a window of opportunity to use this fuel in the household setting, prove the application and market, and develop a demand base among poor people close to production which may then spread widely. 

The project seeks to pilot an ethanol stove and fuel market system in the Kisumu area. The overarching objectives of the pilot project are to test the viability of ethanol as a clean, affordable and easily accessible household fuel and to stimulate demand for it in households in the target area and ultimately, elsewhere in Kenya. The project is planned to run for a period of two years.

 The project will introduce and demonstrate the use and benefits of ethanol stoves in Kisumu; assess the appropriateness of the technology in meeting the energy demand and mitigating adverse impacts associated with current energy utilization patterns; jump start the market chain for stoves through financial support to mimic potential carbon finance or similar long-term support; facilitate creation of a supply chain for those purchasing stoves during the project period, and (providing the initial phase is deemed successful) set up a centre for ethanol stoves to launch subsequent second and third projects focusing on commercialization and scaling-up. The project will put in place the necessary structures for commercialization and policy action, by defining the market, analyzing user preferences, socio-economic breadth of the market, as well as determining time savings, emission reductions, environmental benefits and other socio-economic benefits.

 If ethanol proves to be a useful and appropriate fuel, a second phase of two years will be considered to extend the intervention to rural and displaced communities replicating marketing approaches and mechanisms (including fiscal approaches) found to be successful in the pilot phase. Feasibility studies for manufacture and distribution of stoves and other appliances throughout Kenya will be conducted and market mechanisms for ensuring sustainable fuel supply to a larger geographic area (including rural areas) developed and put in place. Ethanol stoves for use in institutions will also be introduced, along with lighting options using ethanol.

A third phase of this initiative would lead to stoves and other appliances (for lighting and refrigeration) being manufactured in Kenya, close to ethanol production centres, to create a wholly Kenya driven market for both household ethanol appliances and fuel.  This would encompass commercialization through local manufacture of stoves and other appliances, wider geographic scope throughout Kenya, institutional stoves, lighting, and potentially refrigeration – serving the cold chain as well as institutions and households


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