In Mozambique, the first sustainable cooking fuel facility was inaugurated by Federal Minister of Agriculture José Pacheco. The CleanStar project will produce ethanol-based cooking fuel for sale with the company’s cookstoves, an affordable new form of cooking that is cleaner, faster and safer than using charcoal.
The plant in Dondo, in Mozambique’s Sofala Province, will produce 579,000 gallons per year of ethanol-based cooking fuel from surplus cassava supplied by local farmers, who have transitioned in partnership with CleanStar from slash-and-burn farming to more resilient conservation agriculture techniques involving synergistic cultivation of crops and trees to drastically increase their production and nutrition levels.
“Today marks an important milestone in the mission to eliminate dirty cooking fuels from Africa’s leading cities”, says CleanStar Mozambique Chairman, Greg Murray. “This facility produces clean cooking fuel in a way that generates a reliable new income stream for local farmers, while ensuring that a continuous and affordable fuel supply reaches urban households. Our private-sector led approach in Mozambique provides an encouraging example for other resource-constrained African countries that are struggling to respond to rising food and energy prices, growing cities, and shrinking forests.“
The biofuel manufacturing plant is a key part of the integrated food and energy business of CleanStar Mozambique, a company formed in 2010 by Novozymes and CleanStar Ventures, and uses surplus cassava for ethanol, as well as beans, sorghum, pulses and soya, which are processed into packaged food products for sale in Mozambique’s cities.
In Maputo, CleanStar has started pre-sales of its NDZiLO cookstove and cooking fuel products through its company-owned shop network, which is being expanded across the city in preparation for full launch later this year.
“City women are tired of watching charcoal prices rise, carrying dirty fuel, and waiting for the day that they can afford a safe gas stove and reliable supply of imported cylinders,” commented Thelma Venichand, CleanStar’s Director of Sales and Marketing. “They are ready to buy a modern cooking device that uses clean, locally-made fuel, performs well and saves them time and money.”
Throughout Africa, more than 80% of urban families buy charcoal to cook their food, a commodity that is increasing in price as forests retreat, in a market now estimated to be worth more than $10 billion “deforestation dollars” per annum. In Maputo for example, charcoal prices have doubled over the last 3 years.
According to the World Health Organization inhaling charcoal smoke has the health impact of smoking two packs of cigarettes per day, and the organization estimates that indoor air pollution from solid fuel use, including charcoal, causes almost 2 million deaths annually.