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Aug 05, 2019

Producing Fuel from Waste Products

Festus Ngugi, the founder of Kings Biofuels Limited in Murang’a County, requested for an early retirement from his employer after meticulously examining and noticing a huge gap in the fuel industry and the likely environmental hazard caused by dumping of waste products. He initiated the idea of producing industrial briquettes in 2013 when he registered the family business called Kings Biofuels Limited.

It took him years of research both in Kenya and outside the country to comprehend the production process of briquettes, the machinery needed and their use. A few years after establishing the company, he came to know of Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) where he applied for Incubation Programme. In 2017 he was admitted into the programme and exposed to business advisory, mentorship and business management and development. “At KCIC I learnt a lot ranging from business set up, market penetration and generally how to survive in the industry,” Festus says.

The Incubation Programme at KCIC is a 12-month program targeting start-ups and early stage enterprises that have at least developed a prototype. The enterprises receive intensive practical training and business mentorship to enable them prove their concepts in the market and progress towards commercialization.

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Festus has hitherto managed to scale up his company that currently employs over 10 people who are involved in different tasks in the production line. He uses agricultural waste products to produce tonnes of briquettes every single day. By using these products, he has managed to protect the environment because the products were previously damped without a proper disposal mechanism.

“The briquettes that we produce have a higher heat value than charcoal,” Festus notes. “They also protect the environment from pollution because they have a 95% reduced emission compared to firewood and charcoal. This is also an advantage because deforestation has been reduced significantly”

Kenya Climate Innovation Center financing

Kings Biofuel is one of the beneficiaries of the KCIC Early Stage Financing fund. Since the financing option from KCIC was advanced to the company, it has scaled up its operations by becoming semi-autonomous, increasing the production capacity and multiplying the number of staff. KCIC facilitates flexible access to finance that is needed by clean technology enterprises including:

  • Proof of Concept (POC) and Matching Grants
  • Seed Capital Investments
  • Early Stage Financing (ESF)
  • Syndicate Financing
  • Resource Mobilization leads for clients
  • Financing through Kenya Climate Ventures - an early stage financing facility aimed at assisting the clean tech entrepreneurs to move from proof of concept stage to commercialization. 

Untapped Opportunity

In the past week, Kings Biofuel received a delegation from Kenya Climate Innovation Center and one of the financing partners, Autodesk Foundation, in a visit that was geared towards discussing open opportunities in market penetration and other areas of business scale up. The discussions revealed that there is an untapped potential in the innovation of modern cookstoves that use briquettes pellets. These would be ideal for domestic use and would save a lot of time and fuel compared to a majority of the cookstoves that are currently in the market.

Innovators can apply to join the Kenya Climate Innovation Center Incubation Programme by filling in their credentials on https://kenyacic.org/apply/.

By Solomon Irungu

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