Off-grid energy from grass

About Solution

Africa's main source of energy is biomass based. Kenya, for example, about 70% of its energy consumption is biomass based. This is at least a US $5 billion industry. The industry comprises of agricultural waste, firewood and charcoal. Annual consumption is 35 million tons with a sustainable supply of only 15 million tons. Unfortunately, the deficit of 20 million tons is met through un-sustainable sources. This has resulted in deforestation, flooding and land degradation. Our solution is to mitigate this by commercializing drought resistant grass that will grown in semi-arid to arid areas.

deficit of 20 million tons is met through un-sustainable sources. This has resulted in deforestation, flooding and land degradation. 


Our solution is to mitigate this by commercializing drought resistant grass that will grown in semi-arid to arid areas. 


This constitutes nearly 80% of Kenya's land. We have partnered with local research agencies who have developed a drought resistant strain of grass that produces high yields and turnover.  This species of grass unlocks land that is under utilized whilst not displacing existing crop land. An on-ground feasibility study has been conducted in Narok town (80km from Nairobi), a semi-arid parcel of land, starting with 6 different varieties of grass. We concluded on 3 species that meet our expectations. This method is modular and scalable. Our vision is to adopt the commercial use of grass for energy like that implemented in Thailand. The grass is farmed, harvested, dried and briquetted for the market. Partnerships with commercial farmers ready to scale up have already been established. Other partnerships in the pipeline are: the energy regulators, standards bureau, smart city designers and water experts to ensure success of the project. Smart city designers are beneficial once an economic activity has launched. 

This project acts as phase 2 of our strategy. Phase 1 commenced mid-2018. We currently briquette sugar cane bagasse from sugar millers who currently produce excess cane waste. It accumulates into mountains that look like sand dunes. Bagasse is too acidic to be constituted with soil and it takes over 4 years to naturally decompose. We believe in a win-win scenario.  Millers sustainably dispose off their waste whilst consumers receive consistent and reliable supply of biomass energy. Phase 2 is to mitigate feed stock supply because millers plan to produce paper from bagasse in the next 5 years. 

This project aims to be triple-bottom-line. In addition to financial impact, socially it creates jobs and environmentally it mitigates deforestation. 

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