Photograph courtesy Takamoto Biogas
Great Energy Challenge Innovator: Takamoto Biogas
Project: Lease-to-own biogas, a renewable, reliable, and affordable cooking solution for Kenyan farmers
Location: Rift Valley, Kenya
Summary: Reliable and affordable energy is the most pressing issue for small-scale farmers in the developing world. To meet cooking needs, farmers burn firewood, which requires more than an hour per day to collect. Or they use charcoal, which is rising in price of 14 percent per year. Further, smoke from cooking fire causes over 4 million deaths per year. To confront this reality, farmers need a better energy source.
A typical family in Kenya can spend up to three quarters of their budget on inefficient cooking and heating needs. Takamoto Biogas has created the world's first lease-to-own biogas product in order to solve this environmental, financial and health challenge. The biogas system uses cow dung as a feedstock to produce gas for cooking purposes.
Farmers pay a small installation fee followed by a lease fee equivalent to what they normally spend on charcoal. The farmer will eventually own the biogas system after 36 months of payments. Then the biogas system will last for another two decades. With this system, farmers receive enough biogas for six hours of cooking per day. Farmers can collect enough waste from just two cows in order to keep this system running. Takamoto estimates that the market for biogas systems in East Africa is greater than 40 million people. The lease-to-own biogas can solve their energy needs.
Goal: To create an ecosystem for a profitable domestic biogas market in East Africa
Project Participants: Schutter Energy, operating under the brand name Takamoto Biogas; Kyle Schutter, managing director
The Great Energy Challenge grant program, in collaboration with a distinguished group of scientists acting as the board of advisors, awards roughly a half-dozen grants per year. The goal of the grant program is to hasten the growth of promising, global energy solutions as a response to climate change, energy resource constraints and environmental limitations.