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Dec 20, 2017

Turning plastic waste into cooking gas

Plastic waste has attracted widespread concern and attention in Kenya. According to a case study done by the University of Nairobi, the rapid rate of urbanization throughout the world has led to the generation of increasing amounts of waste, including plastic waste and this in turn poses difficulties for disposal. The problem is more acute in developing countries such as Kenya.

The ban on plastic bags/carriers took effect on 28th August 2017 which is a positive move towards reducing plastic waste. A more constraining issue arises on how to dispose off the current waste.

Megagas focuses on the manufacturing of clean cooking gaseous fuel from various polymeric compounds, commonly known as plastic waste. This waste is found easily and cheaply thus making the product affordable and sustainable.

James Isedia Mulema the founder of Megagas has been a teacher for more than thirty years. He started working on plastic waste management in 2009. During trials to use plastic waste to harvest storm water, he realized that he could focus more towards manufacture of clean cooking fuel. In 2014 he harvested his first gas into a makeshift cylinder he had made.

He followed due procedure and registered for a patent at the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI). He also tested the product at Kenya Industrial Research Development Institute (KIRDI). Mr. Mulema says, “I have worked on both my product and equipment to attain the highest quality. Green flames are not common but green is the dominant colour of our flame.”

The Mega gas plant is situated in Vihiga County. The company is working on plans to scale up the production plant and also move into other Counties. Megagas focuses on challenges touching all members of the community. Specifically clean cooking fuels, solid waste disposal, forest cover and environmental pollution. Their product strives to close a social economic gap in the market where only the affluent can afford clean cooking fuel. Reduction of premature deaths especially by women and children, was also a motivating factor for Megagas. The deaths are as a result of indoor and environmental pollution from the use of solid fuels.

Megagas is receiving support from the Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) on business skills, technical expertise and mentorship.

“Our participation in the 2017 Nairobi International Trade Fair courtesy of KCIC and ICDC exposed us to many potential partners, customers and users,” added Mulema. The company also works in collaboration with Kenyatta University at Chandaria Business innovation and Incubation Center (CBIIC).

By Michelle Mung’ata

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