Mar 15, 2017

Transforming lives through improved cook stoves

Chaff energy was established three years ago as a social enterprise which seeks to tap into the underutilized fuel sources that will in the long run reduce deforestation and land degradation due to firewood demand and improve the quality of fuel. The company designs, develops, fabricates and distributes integrated firewood/charcoal/gel improved cook stoves for rural and Peri-urban communities. Based in Thika, Kiambu County, Chaff energy fabricates and distributes high quality rice husk and pellet gasifiers cook stoves. The pellets can burn up to eight hours and produce high grade heat similar to LPG gas.  The stoves are made of stainless steel which makes the cost of production high. The company will be importing 200 gasifiers from Vietnam this month targeting women groups in the rice growing areas especially in Mwea. 

The second product is the modern and efficient household charcoal kilns which are portable, produce charcoal and biochar at a faster rate, uses less fuel and produces high quality charcoal. The kiln coverts firewood into charcoal in 5 hours. This is vital in converting firewood into high quality charcoal particularly for small households. This makes charcoal relatively affordable.

The third product is the improved cook stove jiko extra which produces less smoke, is efficient in firewood consumption, can also use charcoal and pellets, is durable and affordable. The jiko extra also comes with a lighting gel (motopap) which is locally sourced. The gel eliminates the use of papers in lighting the jiko. In a month, they are able to produce 30 jikos.  

Every year, indoor air pollution accounts for over 4 million deaths and leaves millions of others with chest and respiratory complications. Chaff energy encourages the product users to invest in a carbon monoxide detector in order to be aware of the CO2 levels in their households especially when cooking.

One of the challenges the business is experiencing is getting a local designer to work on the gasifiers. “Outsourcing the design and assembling the precut pieces locally might be the immediate solution in reducing costs,” says Francis Mugecha the business owner. The company is in the process of testing the prototypes in order to get feedback on improving the product.

Mugecha is also in need of business plan writing services, business training, financing and a mentor to offer advice on business management. He would also like to interact and do business with like minded entrepreneurs who are in the same field and to share knowledge and expertise.

 

By Mercy Mumo

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