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.
COP22 ended last week in high optimism that leaders will continue to invest in initiatives and actions that help avert the global warming crisis. This includes starting to review 'nationally determined contributions' this time by 2020 and investing in more renewable projects. Developing countries pledged to switch to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 while developed countries reiterated their commitment to funding these initiatives.
In Nairobi telecommunications firm MTN have opened a new data office with 70 racks aimed at supporting small to medium sized businesses. Liquid Telecom’s East Africa Data Centre has 600 racks and IBM have recently opened a cognitive cloud computing service in conjunction with Sidian Bank. Kenya is now a growing hub for online supported services and cloud technology not just in East Africa, but across the continent as a whole.
Africa needs to invest in more mini grid and off grid solutions to provide more people with power and support economic growth and social transformation, so says Africa Progress Panel - led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Traditional methods of supplying power are unreliable and experience many challenges, with mini grids and off grids as modern methods can help bridge that gap. Their demand is increasing and costs decreasing.
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.