The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) partnered with ClimateCare to spark a market for ethanol stoves, supporting people in Kenya to climb the energy ladder. Helping people in developing communities to adopt cleaner, less polluting fuels in ways like this is vital if we’re to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal of clean, affordable energy for all by 2030.

Cooking on ethanol stoves in Kenya

About our client

DFID is leading the UK government’s efforts to end extreme poverty and help people in developing countries lead healthier, safer, more prosperous lives. DFID sought ClimateCare’s help to maximise positive outcomes through clean cooking, with a focus on helping people to adopt more sustainable fuels.

What we did

By promoting ethanol cooking in Kenya, ClimateCare ensured DFID used its funds efficiently and effectively. Ethanol – which is made from molasses, a by-product of the country’s sugar industry – is a sustainable alternative to charcoal because it is renewable and clean burning. Typically, 68% of household energy comes from wood and charcoal, endangering our forests and climate, as well as people’s health. In partnership with Safi International, we marketed, distributed and sold clean burning ethanol stoves. Our customers were mainly communities in Kibera, an underprivileged area of Nairobi.

We wanted the project to flourish in the long term, so we worked with local community finance organisations to set up a revolving fund. This gives families the money they need to buy a stove. We also purchased the CERs produced by the project.

In addition, ClimateCare has supported and harnessed the findings of two studies which explore the relative benefits of ethanol as a cooking fuel, compared with more polluting alternatives. Using ethanol reduces household air pollution and black carbon (a major factor in climate warming) by up to 68% and 83% respectively compared to burning charcoal. Conversely, burning solid fuels in the home accounts for around a quarter of the world’s black carbon emissions, with 84% of this coming from developing countries.

Our impact

Creating a market for ethanol stoves in Kenya has improved life for 40,000 people, lowering families’ exposure to smoky fumes and helping them to save money on fuel. The switch from charcoal to ethanol has also prevented further deforestation, cut carbon emissions and reduced black carbon by 90%. In this way, ClimateCare has supported DFID in transforming lives in developing countries, while also promoting clean, affordable energy. We’re now working hard to expand the programme and make ethanol the cooking fuel of choice for Kenyans.

We knew we could trust ClimateCare to develop an innovative solution that would help us meet our development aims and promote low carbon lifestyle choices. This work gave the ethanol cooking market in Kenya a strong start, in some of the communities where the need was greatest
Dr Virinder Sharma, Former Deputy Head, Climate Change and SD Team, DFID Kenya

No poverty

Good health and well-being

Affordable and clean energy

Decent work and economic growth

Climate action

Life on land