More than 80% of Nigerian Household rely on firewood and charcoal as source of energy. From women cooking daily for their families to food sellers across Nigerian streets, widespread poverty in which over 70% of the population live on less than $2 per day worsened by erratic electricity- most especially in rural areas makes reliance on wood and charcoal the only seemingly available option.
Apart from environmental harm such as deforestation, indoor air pollution caused by using wood is the single largest environmental risk factor for female mortality and the leading killer of children under the age of 5 worldwide.
About half a million sub-Saharan African women and children reportedly die prematurely each year due to respiratory disease caused by smoke inhalation. Although the Nigerian agricultural sector provides livelihood for more than 90% of the rural population, agro-waste from this is a major environmental issue as rotten waste agricultural waste emits methane and leachate and open burning generates Carbon Emissions.
Many African countries including Nigeria still depend heavily on wood to meet basic energy needs. In the various African regions, wood fuel share ranges from 61% to 86% of primary energy consumption, with a major part (74% to 97%) consumed by households. As reported by the Harvard School of Public Health, nearly 470 million tons of woods were consumed in the form of firewood and charcoal in sub-Saharan African homes in 2000, than any other region in the world.
An estimated 21.3 million Nigerian households rely on firewood or wood charcoal. Nigeria’s fuel wood consumption according to Maduka (2011) is about 80 million cubic meters. The household cooking sector is the largest consumer of energy in Nigeria, with > 80% derived from fuel wood. Only 40% of the population is connected to the national grid with 90% of rural areas having unreliable or no electricity at all eliminating electricity as a source of cooking energy for almost half the population. Also, hotels, events, restaurants and small-scale industries use large quantities of charcoal for cooking purpose. Nigeria has the largest desertification rates in the world with loss of 55.7% of its primary forest. The number of trees wasted for the production of charcoal is extremely high. The producers report that no single tree yields up to four bags of charcoal and these hardwood trees take decades to grow. It is estimated that for each production cycle, for each production cycle, between 20 and 30 trees are cut but makes less than 70 bags of charcoal. According to established reports the charcoal industry in Nigeria also has export value of 380,000 metric tonnes annually
Alternatives like kerosene, solar and cooking gas are expensive. The raw materials for our waste-briquette fuel production comes from agro-waste like banana peels, corn husks and cobs , these are readily available as Nigeria produces about 2.8 million tonnes of banana and 10.5 million tonnes of corn yearly. Based on local market research, we estimate that a household will spend on the average of $70 a year on our product making a Total Addressable Market of over $1.4 Billion for household sector alone.
While Briquette Charcoal is popular in countries like Kenya, Zambia, Uganda, no major company in Nigeria is currently utilizing waste to develop cooking energy solution.
WasteBank Energy Services produces a culturally acceptable, environmentally-friendly and low-cost energy source by converting readily-available agricultural wastes which are unexploited into briquette charcoal. From usually discarded agricultural wastes like banana culture waste, banana peels, corn cobs and husks, we produce a clean energy solution which is smoke-free and last three times longer than wood charcoal, enabling consumers significant cost savings.
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