The carbon market framework, which Rwanda has developed, will “unlock financial incentives for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions associated with traditional cooking methods”, Juliet Kabera, the Director General of Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), said.
On Monday, September 11, the cabinet was briefed on the country’s carbon emission trading framework which is in accordance with Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.
The carbon market is a mechanism allowing climate polluters to finance emissions-reduction projects in other nations. They can then count these reductions towards their own climate targets while continuing to emit greenhouse gases.
One of the clean cooking technologies anticipated on the carbon market in Rwanda, to replace traditional cooking methods, is “bioethanol cooking fuel.” This fuel is derived from agricultural waste, such as the by-products of sugar production.
Kabera said the clean cooking technology is timely given that charcoal and wood are the dominant cooking fuels in Rwanda, and are directly responsible for indoor air pollution that claims thousands of lives each year.
Over 7,000 deaths are recorded per year from household air pollution from dirty cooking fuel. Over 50 per cent of deaths occur in children under the age of five.
The charcoal industry is the largest driver of Rwanda’s deforestation.
Additionally, women and children spend seven hours collecting wood per week.
“Studies showed that we need to invest more in reducing air pollution in transport and cooking. Charcoal and firewood are polluting the air,” Kabera said.
Rwanda is targeting universal access to clean cooking by 2030.
$25 million invested in bioethanol cooking fuel
During an exhibition last week on Clean Air Day, the Ministry of Environment showcased KOKO Company’s plan to launch a nationwide “clean fuel utility” as part of Rwanda’s efforts to achieve its target of universal access to clean cooking.
Rwanda signed an agreement with the firm to establish a $25 million (Rwf30 billion) bioethanol cooking fuel utility.
Sonali Chauhan, Programme Associate for New Markets at KOKO Networks, said it is expected that a network of bioethanol cooking fuel dispensers will enable convenient access to ultra-clean cooking fuel for all Rwandan homes, replacing deforestation-based charcoal.
The fuel will be distributed using dispensers that allow customers to buy any amount of fuel using mobile money services.
With the bioethanol cooking fuel, households use a modern two-burner bioethanol cooker with a smart canister that enables access to a dense network of high-tech “Point” Fuel ATMs, which in turn are refilled by a fleet of Smart Micro Tankers.
The cloud software manages the flow of payments, fuel, appliances, data, and carbon.
Under the agreement, the Government of Rwanda will provide the enabling policy environment, including removal of VAT and import duties on equipment and ethanol fuel, with the full benefit of these cost reductions passed to households via lower consumer prices, according to the Rwanda Development Board (RDB).
The investment could also create 500 direct jobs. Rwanda is also relying on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for cooking.
In 2022, Rwanda launched the construction of a multi-million plant to produce compressed natural gas for cooking, vehicles, and industries from Lake Kivu methane gas.
Other investors have also launched improved cooking stoves and solar-assisted stoves. Biolite HomeStove is one of the solar-powered cooking stove projects.
Utilising a thermoelectric generator chip, the stove transforms heat into electricity reducing fuel consumption by up to 50 per cent and emissions by up to 90 per cent.
The energy enhances the combustion process resulting in a smokeless fire that generates electricity. This electricity is then harnessed to cool the fire and charge electronic devices, and then functions as a mobile phone and LED light charger. No batteries are needed to operate the stove, just available wood and branches.
There are also Cana Stoves that cut down harmful carbon emissions by as much as 90 per cent. It is an innovative solar-assisted volcanic rock stove that delivers energy efficiency and durability.
“The stove has the ability to cook with up to 75 per cent less fuel and three times faster than traditional cooking methods,” said Allan Nziza, the head of Green Pack Company which produces the two types of eco-friendly stoves.