Promoting Energy Efficient Technologies
Majority of rural communities and the urban population in Uganda depend on wood and charcoal for cooking and heating. However, much of the wood and charcoal is obtained unsustainably, leading to degradation of forest resources. Moreover, wood is often burned in inefficient appliances, causing emissions that have negative health and environmental impacts.
Uganda’s Renewable Energy Policy (2007) seeks to diversify energy supply sources and technologies in the country and calls for broad participation of stakeholders communities in energy projects, particularly taking into account the needs of the poor.
KRC Uganda therefore supports the energy transition by improving access to efficient and cleaner energy technologies for vulnerable communities. We have grown expertise around the making of bio-briquettes and fuel efficient cookstoves, and transferring these skills to communities through training groups, local artisans and providing production machinery. We also work with partners to promote viable solar products for cooking and lighting.
Making briquettes out of biomass waste provides a viable solution to over exploitation of forest resources. It can also be viable source of income for poor households and communities involved in briquette production and sell. Briquettes are proven to be 40% more efficient compared to wood and they burn hotter and longer lasting than firewood and charcoal. They also burn cleaner than firewood and charcoal releasing less smoke, soot and greenhouse gases.
Fuel-efficient cookstoves are constructed with the objective of improving efficiency of heat transfer to the cooking appliance, thereby saving on the amount of fuel used which in turn reducing pressure to exploit forest resources. Studies reveal that fuel-efficient cookstoves can reduce the amount of fuel used by 20–50 percent compared to open-fire cooking like the three-stone fire and non-insulated metal cookstoves. In our different cookstove intervention , KRC promotes three major designs depending on the local context. These include, Lorena stoves, Giko stoves and Institutional cookstoves targeting large institutions like schools.
Lorena stoves are low-cost, fuel-saving cook stoves, made of sand and clay. These stoves are a great way to replace the traditional three stones open fires.
The institutional energy saving stove maximizes energy efficiency and therefore reduces fuel costs up to 60% compared to a traditional three stone open fires.
Giko stoves are portable cook stoves promoted on basis of wider adoption of energy saving options for both the direct project participants and the wider public through the business model.
Heat retention baskets
Heat retention baskets use the “retained heat cooking method” aimed at minimizing the use of limited biomass fuel resources. This method is proven to save between 20% and 80% of the energy usually needed to cook different kinds food. The method is also beneficial in terms of saving time needed to oversee the entire cooking time of a meal, allowing the user to attend to others chores or rest.
Gender mainstreaming in energy
Gender mainstreaming in the energy sector is one of the policy objectives of the Uganda’s Renewable Energy Policy (2007). The policy seeks to mainstream gender and poverty issues in renewable energy development strategies to improve the socio-economic wellbeing of women and the poor in general. As such, our energy interventions have a strong gender component because in our local context, women and girls disproportionately bear the burden of cooking in the household. Therefore, improving access to efficient and cleaner energy technologies provides a pathway through which some practical gender needs of women and girls are met.