Globally, there are currently 1.5 billion people who have no access to the main grid. Currently, Kenya stands at 83% on mobile penetration, but only 20% of these statistics have their households connected to the main grid. The question then becomes how possible to power these mobile gadgets? Jiko Power is trying to address this problem. ‘Jiko’ in Swahili means a cookstove, while ‘Power’ essentially connotes the electrical power derived from the heat generated from the firewood that is used in the stove.
In Kenya’s semi arid regions grappling with climate change, rural communities are turning their attention to growing the drought tolerant melia volkensii (mukau) tree. This fast maturing hardwood tree dubbed the mahogany of the dry lands, has many uses, and its timber is lucrative and in demand. A hectare of mature melia volkensii trees, can earn a farmer over Kshs3 million (USD $30,000) and harvesting can begin at 10 years in ideal weather conditions.
There are over 500 million smallholder farmers globally, farming plots of land less than 2 ha in area. Many are struggling to make a living from farming and are looking for ways to increase productivity. Research shows that small farm productivity can be doubled by irrigation. However, many smallholder farmers struggle to irrigate their land. The solution: a sustainable method of irrigation which decouples volumes of irrigation water from volumes of gasoline or diesel fuel consumed - the SF1 solar pump from Futurepump.
A farmer in Kenya is reaping massive benefits from solar-enhanced dairy-farming. In order to boost production, Willy Kirwa, a dairy farmer located in Eldoret (Western region of Kenya in the Rift Valley) invested $40,000 USD in a modern state-of-the art solar power system on his 50-acre farm to help in lighting and processing of milk.
Over 75 per cent of Kenya’s population, with the majority concentrated in the rural areas, rely on agriculture not just for food but as a source of income. Small holder farmers, who form the bulk of the food producers have been grappling with a myriad of challenges, key among them pests and diseases. But in the wake of these isues that have threatened food production and ultimately fanning the hunger cycle, Kenya is counting on a model that is giving farmers more personalized attention to tame these diseases - dubbed 'plant clinics',
Africa will need bold measures in order to avert a looming health and environmental crisis - which is the result of air pollution according to a recent OECD report. The report also shows that outdoor and indoor pollution in Africa are causing more death and carry more estimated costs than unsafe water and sanitation and childhood malnutrition. The report says that most of this pollution comes from energy generation, open fires in household operations and imported used equipment.
In late 2004, Kisumu bay, Lake Victoria, was covered in a blue-green hue. The algal bloom - a proliferation of cyanobacteria – demarcated an area of low oxygen and eventually decomposing algae, causing fish to suffocate or flee and contaminating the drinking water- a dead zone. Adapt-N, a software programme developed by researchers at Cornell University seeks to solve this problem.
Wind power in Kenya contributes only a small amount of the country's electrical power. However, its share in energy production is increasing. Kenya aims to generate 2,036 MW of wind power, or 9% of the country's total capacity, by 2030. With the project expected to match approximately 18% of the current national grid electricity-generation capacity, the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project shall become a renewable energy gem in the East African continuum.
Around the world, arable land or land that is suitable for agriculture is dwindling. The rural-to-urban migration and growing cities of the world have constricted the capacity of the rural populations to provide food, for both urban and rural populations. At the same time, our overall world population is increasing. How do we feed an additional 2 billion people by 2050? In Kenya, a US-based not-for-profit social enterprise called CAN YA LOVE (pronounced as Kenya Love), is working with a consortium of local partners, to erect pillar gardens in urban areas such as slums, community land spaces and in schools.
Another innovation with regard to solar energy category was that of solar roofing tiles presented by Strauss Energy. Strauss is into the business of incorporating solar cells - called Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) into building materials such as tiles. The solar tile is either made of a plastic material or mixture of plastic and ceramic components, with solar cells being overlayed on top. This model seeks to combine both the advantages of house roofing and power generation. The solar cells work in the normal way by converting sun’s energy into power which is then channeled to power devices at home, office or factory.