Community Demonstration Event
SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and its partners, Greenergia (K) Ltd and Deltares, have been implementing the Waste to Energy (W2E) project, which aims to transform water hyacinth from Lake Victoria into fuel pellets and briquettes that can be adopted and purchased by the local community in Kisumu as a clean green energy source. This project was intended to provide proof of the innovative concept of adoption of fuel and stove combinations by local communities in Kisumu. This idea is new and was formed by the partners as a result of identified challenges related to the invasion of the lake by water hyacinth and extensive research that demonstrated that water hyacinth can be used as a quality biomass fuel. This idea was then combined with the latest research in cook stoves which concluded that gasifier stoves and other improved stoves are more efficient and have greater health benefits for the users since fewer emissions are released during the cooking process.
The project partners carried out a baseline survey with 317 respondents interviewed and an adoption trial study with 40 households in both Rare Beach and Kisumu peri-urban areas. The adoption trial involved: Kitchen performance tests (KPT) where households (HHs) were supplied with new improved cook stoves and appropriate biomass fuels (pellets/briquettes) and on a daily basis recorded (self-score card) what they had cooked, time taken to cook, meals prepared among others. Enumerators were recruited to monitor on a daily basis what was supplied to the households and ensure the HHs had correctly filled information in the self-score card. In addition an end-line survey and two Focused Group Discussions (FGDs) were held to confirm and corroborate information from the KPTs. Data collected from the respondents was subjected to a comprehensive analysis using SPSS and STATA version 13 data analysis software to scrutinize the study data sets, which culminated in the results presented in this report.
This survey established that most HHs relied on firewood and charcoal as the main source of fuel for cooking. These sources were unreliable, costly and environmentally unsustainable. The respondents were also very dissatisfied with these fuel sources due to several factors including: smoke emission; time taken to replace fuel sources and lack of availability. It was also established that the level of awareness and usage among HHs on alternative fuel sources such as pellets and briquettes was very low. Some of the barriers to usage were lack of availability, costs, lack of awareness and incompatibility of the fuels with the stove currently in use by HHs.
Regarding adoption trials for pellets, it was observed that pellets provide an alternate fuel for domestic cooking. The use of pellets with either the Wisdom Stove or Biomass Prime Stove had wide ranging benefits such as ability to cook faster, production of adequate heat, cooking well, use of less fuel, saving of time and production of less ash. However, some areas of weakness needed to be addressed like the time taken to ignite, production of smoke, soot and lack of handling provisions when cooking.
On adoption trials for briquettes, it was observed that use of briquettes on either Jiko Koa or KCJ provided longer burning hours, conserved a lot of heat, was easy to ignite, consumed less fuel, produced much and was not sooty. Many of them recommended the fuel for domestic use. However, some HHs had challenges igniting the fuel especially the first time. In relation to future intentions of HHs, it was established that most HHs planned to make changes in their cooking equipment in the future. Accordingly introduction of alternative stoves such as Jiko Koa, KCJ, Biomass Prime and Wisdom would be recommendable.
1) Demand of new type of fuel: Approximately 75% of the HHs used firewood and charcoal. Out of which 69% of charcoal users and 64% of charcoal users were dissatisfied with the fuels and were contemplating changing the type of fuel. Some of the HH had not used any of the biomass fuels due to lack of awareness. Future initiatives and businesses can take advantage of the willingness of the users of firewood and charcoal to change to new type of fuels. It is recommended to include marketing and awareness activities to influence adoption and use of the fuels among the HH in the region.
2) Market share: The study has established that most of the HH consume firewood (44%) and charcoal (31%) types of fuels out of which 69% of firewood users and 64% of the charcoal are dissatisfied with the fuels and were contemplating to change to a different fuel. Thus initiatives can target to capture approximately 30.4% of the firewood users and 20% of the charcoal users translating into a market share of approximately 50.4% of the market share.
3) Adoptability/marketability of the biomass fuels: The study found that most of the HHs would buy pellets and briquettes if they are availed in the market provided that they were priced at almost the price of the existing fuels. Also most HHs interviewed expressed willingness and desire to shift to and adopt use of pellets and briquettes. However, there was need to provide appropriate cook stoves to use with for quick adoption.
4) Households to target (Target market): The sale of the biomass fuels can be targeted to both users of firewood and charcoal. The fuel would fit best the users of charcoal who buy from the market unlike firewood where the users collect from the fields for free. Thus it would be cheaper to substitute the users of charcoal who buy it at the market by selling the fuels at the same price.
5) Pricing of pellets and briquettes: Product pricing was identified as an important factor that would drive adoption of these products. Most HHs expressed desire to buy the pellets and briquettes if the price was comparable to that of charcoal and firewood. A price of Kshs 30-50 per Kg for pellets and briquettes would be affordable for most households.
6) Packaging: It would be recommended that the packaging of the pellets and briquettes should be in small lots of 1 Kg and 5 Kg that would make it affordable for most HHs both in rural and urban settings.
7) Awareness of briquettes and pellets: This study established very low awareness levels amongst HHs of briquettes and pellets as energy efficient fuels. There is need to raise awareness among users of these fuels using channels that have been established to be effective such as social media, social groups, radio and media platforms and word of mouth advertising. The study established a connection between increased awareness and higher adoption of these fuel products.
8) Barriers to use of pellets and briquettes: The study established a number of barriers that suppressed usage of pellets and briquettes such as lack of availability and incompatibility of the products with existing stoves. It is proposed that future investments be directed towards research and studies to improve the shape, size of fuels in order to be compatible with different cooking stoves. It is also proposed that training and capacity building be carried out to enhance capacity of producers to increase fuel availability.
9) Market entry strategies: It is recommended that financing mechanisms be explored that would enable residents to acquire the cooking stoves by perhaps working with local Micro Finance Institutions to provide financing and creating awareness about the biomass fuels in the region are through social groups or chamas and over the radio among others.
10) Fuel–equipment combination: One of the barriers to use of the biomass fuels was lack of complimentary cooking stoves. There is need to consider provision of the complimentary cooking equipment for ease of adoption of the biomass fuel.
Please contact Reinilde Eppinga (REppinga@snv.org) for more information about the adoption trial.