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Jun 17, 2019

Applicants are Generating Green Energy from Local Materials

Kenya Climate Innovation Center is in the process of conducting routine visits to the business premises of applicants of the incubation programme. The visits which have been ongoing are part of appraising companies that are have submitted requests to join the growing number of KCIC clients. Last week, business analysts clients were visited applicants in different areas in Nakuru county. The  business analysts assessed the innovations behind the enterprises with an aim to getting first-hand understanding of the entrepreneurial concepts as well as they sharing insights with the applicants.

One of the applicants, Brifurn Limited located in Kiangururia, Nakuru County manufactures briquettes from bagasse (sugarcane waste), rice and coffee husks and saw dust using a semi-autonomous machine. The invention is geared towards reducing deforestation in search of firewood and raw materials for burning charcoal. The technology is also geared towards environmental conservation because it uses waste products which would have otherwise been dumped into the environment thus causing pollution.

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In furtherance to that, the briquettes that are manufactured have a higher heat value than charcoal and firewood and their Carbon emission is significantly lower. Brifurn is owned by two young entrepreneurs who are seeking to learn more about expanding their business to reach more potential customers through marketing and improvement of their business model. They are also seeking technological improvement in their production and scaling up their communication strategies.

Briquettes are a compressed combination of waste products. They have a longer burning period compared to other forms of fuel like charcoal. They are made by sifting the waste products, mixing them with water then compressing under high pressure. They are then chopped into the desired sizes and basked under the sun to dry. A drier may also be purchased to accelerate the drying process and be used as an alternative during the cold seasons.

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Eco Genelectic Limited is another applicant who has come up with a technology that generates renewable energy from a home-assembled generator. The innovator borrowed the idea from how a motor vehicle engine operates, but he found the alternative of not using fuel. The generator is modified in a way that it is able reverse-charge itself using no fuel. Its parts are domestically crafted. Currently, the Nakuru-based innovator is producing 800 Watts for his domestic use, but is potentially able to generate over 1,000 KW for commercialization upon further improvements.

“I am seeking support from the KCIC incubation programme to develop a business model and possibly get funding from the financing options so that I can commercialize this innovation,” he says, “I am endeavoring to provide reliable green energy to Nakuru County.” Green energy is an important component of climate conservation because it is naturally replenished and lessens the reliance of fossil fuels.

Green energy is enshrined in the global goals with Sustainable Development Goal number seven being production of clean energy, energy from waste, renewable fuels, energy distribution and management and energy storage. A research conducted by the World Bank last year indicated that the electricity access rate in Kenya stood at 56 percent. Electricity supply is predominantly sourced from hydro and fossil fuel (thermal) sources with the country importing substantial amounts of crude oil and natural gas. Such innovations are thus a milestone to the country.

The next process after the evaluation visits by the business analysts will be to further appraise the applications based on the feasibility they gathered from the field visits. The clients may also be contacted further to give more input after which they will be informed of the status of their applications. Application to become KCIC clients are normally received on a rolling basis. They are submitted through an online portal that is accessed through https://kenyacic.org/apply/.

By Solomon Irungu

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