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Baseline Report of Clean Cooking Fuels in the East African Community

Submitted by on September 5, 2016 – 11:44 amNo Comment

(Project Gaia)  Ethanol fuel production represents a significant opportunity for economic and social development in the East African Community (EAC) region. Ethanol can be produced locally using a variety of feedstocks that can be selected based on unique local conditions. Farmers can grow fuel feedstocks along with food crops to gain access to a second market and diversify their incomes. Large- and small-scale distilleries can be set up to produce ethanol, which can be sold for cooking fuel, transportation fuel, or small-scale power generation.

Economic opportunities can be generated along the value-chain from growing crops to fuel production and sale, embracing activities from the manufacture and marketing of stoves to distributing and retailing of fuel. Furthermore, by adopting ethanol as a household fuel, fuel energy production will move from the forest to the farmer’s field, that is to say, from the cutting of wood to the growing of high yielding biomass crops that can be harvested several times in a year. More biomass can be grown and processed into a fuel that burns readily and cleanly, while pressure is reduced on forests for fuelwood and charcoal production. Families will have healthier homes with cleaner indoor and courtyard air.

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization commissioned Project Gaia for this study following a successful pilot study in Zanzibar from 2014-2015. The pilot study demonstrated that ethanol produced from the Zanzibar Sugar Factory was a preferred cooking fuel and could be competitive on the market. Project Gaia has been examining the potential for alcohol fuels in developing markets for 20 years and during the past 10 years has sought to encourage cookstove and ethanol fuel businesses in Sub Saharan Africa and elsewhere. Its experience is drawn from 29 pilot studies in 13 countries to date.

Project Gaia has developed benchmarks and guidelines for beginning ethanol microdistillery, stove, and fuel distribution projects or businesses. This study draws from Project Gaia’s experience to analyze the
potential for small-scale ethanol production for cooking in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, and Ethiopia.
For successful ethanol production and cookstove projects, it is necessary to have government support that fosters a regulatory environment suitable for producing, selling, distributing and regulating ethanol as a fuel. In many countries, laws from the time of colonialism tax ethanol heavily as an alcohol beverage. No tax treatment may exist for ethanol as a fuel. Several of the countries included in this report have begun to adopt new policies and regulations to promote ethanol fuel production and lessen the tax burden on producers and consumers.

Ethiopia is increasing production over the next five years in order to use all of the waste molasses generated in its sugar industry. The Kenyan government recently passed a law that allows a tax exemption on ethanol used for cooking. Kabuye Sugar Works in Rwanda is expanding production and is including ethanol in their expansion plans. Although progress is being made to develop ethanol as a fuel, more work must be done with governments to encourage them to develop supportive tax structures for ethanol as fuel and create standards for quality of fuel ethanol for cookstoves as well as for other purposes such as automotive fuel blending. This report reviews the six EAC countries that are the subject of this study and examines the market potential of ethanol fuel, current and projected fuel production,
government policies that may affect the production and sale of ethanol fuel, and the potential for small-scale distributed production of ethanol for cooking fuel.

Several feedstocks were selected for review, including molasses from sugarcane, damaged or unsaleable roots, tubers, and fruits, unsold produce from vegetable and fruit markets, uncollected fruit drops below mango trees (Mangifera indica), prickly pear cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica or Opuntia polycanta), sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas), cassava (Manihot esculenta), taro (elephant ear, Xanthosoma), melon (Cucumis melo), sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) and sweet sorghum (Sorghum bicolor). These feedstocks were selected based on their suitability for the EAC region and current production in the countries examined. These do not represent a complete or exhaustive list of feedstocks that are or could be available; the list of potential feedstocks is much longer. But the feedstocks selected for examination do show the diversity of what is available.

Molasses from sugar manufacture is one of the best feedstocks to use in either large- or small-scale fuel production. In all of the surveyed countries, although to a lesser extent in Ethiopia and Kenya, molasses is currently a waste product that is either dumped or used for livestock feed. But where sugar manufacture exists, the amount of molasses produced greatly exceeds what can be fed to livestock. Many of the other feedstocks examined are best suited for small-scale ethanol production that happens
close to the source of the feedstock. Small-scale ethanol production is uniquely suited for the use of crops and plant materials that are wasted, do not make it to market, or are not currently utilized. This is because a small ethanol plant can be scaled to the size of the feedstock supply, can be located on a small footprint, and represents a relatively modest investment in equipment and machinery.

This report recommends that a project begin with a microdistillery in the range of 1,500 to 5,000 liters per day. While smaller projects may be feasible under the right conditions, this size, while still small, allows the operation to be monetized by a not insignificant output. A distillery of 1,500 liters per day will support cooking for up to 2,000 households. This represents a meaningful customer base and the potential for good daily revenues. Size of the plant should ultimately be dependent upon the feedstocks available, the reliability of their supply, the market that has been developed for the fuel, the financing available, and the capacity of the project owners/operators who will be running the distillery, selling its
products and managing the business.  READ MORE Download report

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