The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) estimates that 40 percent of the world (2.6 billion people), relies on fuel wood or charcoal as their primary source of energy for cooking and heating. The New Vision 2008 Uganda’s energy crisis deepens indicates that over 80% of Ugandans use charcoal or firewood for cooking. This has resulted in almost 2/3 of forests being cut down. Fuel wood consumption has increased by 250% since 1960 (while the world’s population has only increased by 90% in that time). The result is wide-spread deforestation and loss of about 3% of the world’s forests each year.
At the same time, Garcia et al. note that exposure to charcoal or wood fuel is one of the causes of chronic, obstructive pulmonary disease. Then there is the problem of piling trash. Kampala city – Uganda’s capital – is like many urban centers in the developing world: it suffers from poor garbage disposal, which leads to disease (Tuberculosis, Cholera), stinking atmosphere, and blockage of sewage channels.
Green Fuel was created to address the growing demand for charcoal, high fuel prices, and the increased environmental impact of these fuels. Our goal is to develop better and more efficient alternatives to forest wood, but with reduced effects on the environment. We bring high social and investment returns for individuals, institutions, the environment, and society at large.
The company manufactures ‘green’ charcoal from disposed garbage and waste as an alternative to traditional wood-based cooking fuel. Our briquettes are affordable, clean, sustainable, easy to handle and produce much less smoke. Usage of these briquettes provides savings on procurement and usage costs vis-à-vis charcoal/firewood. Founded in 2010, Green Fuel is situated at Kawanda, a suburb 18km North West of Kampala city.
The company was founded by Mr. Kasule Ronald and Miss Margaret Kyamulabi. We were inspired by our university study about the effect of accumulating refuse and deforestation on people’s lives. A sustainable alternative to charcoal usage was imagined. This triggered finding ways of minimizing the negative effects of charcoal and finding a better solution.
Green Fuel was initially funded with $10,000, and to-date all earnings have been re-invested in the venture. With increasing demand for briquettes, Green Fuel expects to double sales by 2012 to 50,000 units and expects revenue of US $24,000 and net income of US $15,000. The company expects to break even in 2012 with profit of US $6900. Our product has 56% gross margins, which we feel can be even greater with scale and efficiency. The company also generates significant SROI. For every 150,000 kgs of briquettes produced and sold, we create 30 jobs and support indirectly a further 100 jobs. It would save 573 cubic meters (m3) of forest wood, around 0.08 % of the current demand and offer 15% cost savings to consumers. Producing 50,000 briquettes equates to the removal of 250,000 kilograms (kgs) of organic garbage.
Green Fuel is seeking $40,500 in investment capital. These funds will be used to: expand manufacturing capabilities, hiring and training, and to further develop scalable distribution models and channels.