Alternative fuel to wood charcoal
Associated Organization: Trees of Healing USA/Hand of God KenyaWe are proposing to build a factory that would make an alternative fuel to wood charcoal. It would not only save the environment (deforestation and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions that are associated with the normal production of charcoal from wood), decrease poverty through job creation, create a taxable product for the government, and also supply an alternative fuel to wood charcoal for the people. It qualifies for carbon credits.
Themes: Energy, Forestry, Poverty and vulnerability
Regions: East Africa
Followers: 7 people are following this project
Millions of people in many parts of Kenya East Africa face domestic energy shortages and wood is becoming harder and harder to find. Modern energy supplies are non-existent or unaffordable. In many villages women walk countless kilometers each day to find the household supply of wood; and in towns families spend up to a third of their income on wood or charcoal. At the same time, the exclusive use of wood for energy increases deforestation that dramatically increases the problems of drought and desertification.
The disappearance of forests protecting watersheds leads to more variability and thus less availability of surface waters and diminishes water infiltration supplying aquifers. In addition, the loss of vegetative cover also increases hydraulic and wind erosion, and can start the process of soil erosion destroying land fertility.
But yet there are 200,000 charcoal producers operating in Kenya, and around half a million people (producers, transporters and vendors) involved directly in the charcoal trade (almost half of these on a full time-basis) who support around 2.5 million dependents.
The amount of charcoal produced each year in Kenya is 1.6 million tones. The annual income from charcoal is around Kenya Shillings 32 billion (USD 400 million) almost equivalent to the income generated from Kenya’s tea industry.
As these statistics show charcoal is big business even though it’s been outlawed by the government! As one can see, charcoal production must stop or change to save the environment and forests in Kenya.
There is a solution to this charcoal problem and it is an alternative fuel. Trees of Healing Ministry Inc. in collaboration with Hand of God, Ministry Kenya has located an international organization that has developed and patented a new innovative technology for renewable household energy, producing a household fuel alternative to wood derived from agricultural residues not used for animal foodstuffs. The product of this new technology has been named Green Charcoal.
- This domestic fuel is obtained by a unique and efficient continuous carbonization process which allows fuel wood and normal charcoal to be replaced by green charcoal at a very competitive price.
- The use of the green charcoal is a significant improvement towards eliminating greenhouse gas emissions (methane) that are associated with the normal production of charcoal from wood.
- The improvement from using the green charcoal machine is due to the fact that the process burns the methane produced as its driving source of energy.
When implemented this project has the following:
- Environmental Impact
Green Charcoal offers several benefits in terms of reduced greenhouse gas emissions and helps to conserve biodiversity:
1. Avoidance of deforestation related to the production of wood charcoal;
2. Improved carbonization yield compared with wood charcoal production;
3. Avoidance of methane emissions resulting from traditional wood charcoal production techniques;
4. Abatement of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide emissions resulting from the burning of agricultural residues. 10 Kg of CO2 equivalent emissions are avoided for each Kg of green charcoal produced.
By reducing dependence on firewood, the project protects forests and as a consequence will help to halt desertification. In addition, and contrary to traditional wood charcoal production, the carbonization process does not emit any methane. It must be noted that, in contrast to wood, green charcoal production does not emit any toxic fumes and does not contribute to climate change.
- Economic Benefits
Economic benefits accrue from a range of factors:
1. Per unit of heat produced, green charcoal is cheaper than wood charcoal;
2. Charcoal production creates local employment opportunities;
3. The green charcoal machine produces around 3.5 tons of charcoal per day; that is equivalent to around 40 tons of CO2 in terms of carbon credits. The generation of carbon credits provides additional cash flows to be used to further reduce the cost of charcoal production.
Green charcoal performs the same as charcoal made from wood, at half the cost. It represents a freeing up from the constraints of scarcity, distance and cost of available fuels in Africa. It is a clean alternative fuel source that will not only save the environment but will create jobs and income for many, including the youth.
As an alternative cooking fuel it is a considerable improvement in combating the widespread rural problem of indoor air pollution that kills more than 1.6 million people each year - one person every 20 seconds - and some two billion more are at risk. It kills more people than malaria and nearly as many as unsafe water and poor sanitation. It is the fourth largest health threat to women and children (in the world’s poorest countries) after water-borne diseases, malnutrition and HIV/AIDS.