There is a growing interest in biofuels in many developing countries as a means of modernizing biomass use, reducing deforestation, promoting access to clean liquid fuels while helping to curb on energy costs, energy security and the effects of climate change.
In Kenya, many entrepreneurs are starting biomass briquette companies to help power Kenya with a more environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to firewood and charcoal. One such entrepreneur is Kenneth Kamau.
His new found renewable energy producer Olkaria Bio Limited uses agricultural wastes which range from sugarcane stalks, coffee husks, millet stalks and maize cobs to manufacture bio-fuels with the main objective of saving the trees, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving sanitation.
“There is need for third world countries to embrace the production of clean and efficient energy; It saves forests and contributes greatly to a neutral environment. Bio-fuels have the potential of addressing global warming concerns associated with liquid fossil fuels that are on the rise in developing countries,” says Kamau.
He decided to venture into this business because biomass briquettes have always been identified as alternative clean energy solutions for poorer populations who have always relied on wood-based biomass energy to meet local demands.
“Due to increased scarcity of firewoods coupled with the negative socio-economic and environmental outcomes, I needed to identify alternative solutions that benefit people without harming the environment. I then saw how the demand for bio-fuels was high and decided to give it a try,” adds Kamau.
He has so far offered services to Kenafric Industries, Bata Shoes Ltd, Allpack industries, and Kenya Tea Development Agencies Limited who are big and well-known companies in Kenya. This indicates that there is a ready market for biomass briquettes; The industry just needs to create awareness of the distinct benefits of adopting biomass energy value chains.
Having been incubated at the Kenya Climate Innovation Centre, the company has received business advice, mentorship, training, and networking opportunities to potential investors. They look forward to a continued partnership which has drastically boosted their business.