Africa’s 1st Ethanol Cooking Fuel Plant


Africa’s first bio-ethanol cooking fuel plant opened in central Mozambique.  Africa’s rapidly emerging middle class are hampered by a lack of choice when it comes to household energy. Over 80% of Africa’s 400 million city-dwellers still rely on charcoal – dirty, environmentally destructive, and a major cause of indoor and outdoor pollution. The price of charcoal has tripled in price the past three years because it is linked to the size of cities, distance to forests, and diesel price to transport it. The cost of charcoal to urban households climbs upwards as cities and deforestation expand. Alternatives to charcoal are now economically viable.

The partnership between Novozymes and CleanStar Mozambique, NDZiLO, will provide cleaner, safer and cheaper cooking biofuel for families in Mozambique who generally rely on charcoal for cooking. At full capacity the plant will produce 8000 gallons of ethanol a week, which the company will then transport from the province of Dondo to a neighborhood in the capital of Maputo. The bio-ethanol will be sourced from cassava, the most common food staple grown in the region. The 1500 Farmers participating in the program will be required to raise the cassava using a permaculture arrangement. For each plot of cassava, a plot of the same size must grow legumes and another, maize or another cereal grain. The farms must then be surrounded by agroforest in order to prevent water and soil runoff as well as provide shade to reduce the need for irrigation.

Farmers will benefit from a reliable customer for their crops, and in fact, NDZiLO plans on opening a cassava flour mill near the biofuel plant to deal with any surplus. For now the plant is running at 25 percent capacity. So far 500 cook stoves have been sold with another 2200 on order. The project is starting on a smaller scale because NDZiLO’s marketing and sales team need more time to find customers. Cooking with Ethanol is safer than carbon monoxide producing charcoal that may led to cancer.

via CleanStarMozambique and Inhabitat