The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and the Energy and Environment Partnership Programme in Southern and East Africa (EEP) wanted to develop an improved charcoal production plant technology and business model in Kenya. Existing facilities are unable to keep up to demand and Kenya is struggling with land use issues as biomass production (charcoal) competes with agriculture.
Charcoal is often the only source of energy available and affordable for the poor but has many unwanted side effects including emissions to air and ground, deforestation and waste of valuable raw material due to production efficiency issues. Pöyry Management Consulting was asked to develop and test a new type of charcoal plant that would be more efficient, more affordable and environmentally friendly.
We developed a new charcoal production plant to produce high quality and affordable charcoal to domestic and industrial markets. This plant is different from any of the existing charcoal manufacturing systems in the world and features a new an integrated chamber, wood retort using only local construction materials including local bricks. The new retort is easy to operate and maintain and affordable for local entrepreneurs to build. It is 40% more energy efficient and uses only wood from sustainable plantations. In addition, there are no emissions to the soil or water generated and emissions to the air contain mostly water vapor and no methane. The plant constructed was handed over to a local entrepreneur at no cost, supporting sustainable local economic development in Kenya.