Prioritizing Fuels in Our Work
During the Alliance’s recent trip to Kampala for a consultation meeting with partners in Uganda, I had the chance to visit Green Bio Energy, Ltd., the producer of Briketi charcoal briquettes. The briquettes are made primarily from recycled materials – charcoal crumbs and dust that are too small to sell, agricultural waste, and recycled rainwater and cassava flour bind everything together. We are the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, but fuels are an equally important part of cooking solutions that can save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and protect the environment. Fuel processing, like what we saw at the Briketi factory, is an opportunity to produce a more uniform (and typically cleaner burning and efficient, and more easily transportable) fuel, to utilize waste materials, and to create local economic opportunities. Other types of fuel and energy sources can also provide similar benefits. But the clean cooking sector faces significant challenges in scaling up clean fuels, including those related to efficient fuel production and distribution, developing technologies that can use cleaner energy sources, and consumer adoption of alternative fuels. The benefits and tradeoffs are also complicated when land-use, agriculture, forestry, mining, manufacturing, and distribution are combined into fuel systems.
To address these challenges, the Alliance has worked with its fuels-focused partners to develop a fuels strategy that covers three areas that together will support a thriving global market for clean fuels. First, because people don’t always have a choice of fuels, due to availability and affordability, the Alliance’s fuels activities will focus on optimizing the production and use of the currently accessible fuels. At the same time, in recognition of the demonstrated benefits of clean fuels, the strategy will focus on market-based approaches to support a transition to cleaner fuels over time by addressing accessibility and affordability, and ensuring consistent availability. To guarantee a range of environmental, social, and economic benefits, the Alliance will also focus on providing knowledge and decision support tools for partners to optimize fuel production, distribution, and use.
The Alliance will be addressing fuels as a cross-cutting area throughout our activities. In particular, we hope partners will consider the Alliance’s Spark Fund from a fuels perspective and submit proposals that help move the sector toward greater fuel diversity. We look forward to hearing more from our partners and other stakeholders about innovative and disruptive ways to develop a thriving global market for clean fuels.