Wood for use as fuelwood or for conversion into charcoal is one of sub-Saharan Africa's most significant drivers of deforestation. Firewood and charcoal remain the continent's primary source of energy, and more than 80% of the current consumption of 600 million cubic meters is currently used for cooking.
Over the past decade, originally driven by booming carbon markets, there has been a strong focus on the deployment of efficient stoves, which aim to reduce the volume of wood and charcoal required to achieve the same end goal. However, there has been far less focus on the development of sustainable, renewable alternatives.
While fuelwood is generally utilized in rural settings, charcoal has complex supply chains with many actors involved. Added to that the current raw material often comes from illegal, or unregulated sources - naturally occurring forests or woodlands where the raw material comes at no monetary cost (although it remains very high in terms of the opportunity cost in time required to cut and gather raw materials).
Over the past few years EcoPlanet Bamboo and EcoPlanet Core Carbon have worked to develop a model that can disrupt charcoal supply chains by achieving one single goal:
Supply the market with a sustainable charcoal that costs less.
Our solution is of course a tree free, deforestation free bamboo charcoal.
Our framework combines three unique attributes. Each aspect has unique and challenging barriers to entry, but EcoPlanet Bamboo's various subsidiaries provides the unique ability to overcome each barrier:
(1) Utilize smallholders in some of the poorest parts of Africa to utilize highly degraded, marginal or climatically poor land to grow carefully selected species of bamboo. NOTE: bamboo does not reach maturity or harvestability in 3 years. These are long term projects.
(2) Utilize efficient kilns to produce high yielding bamboo charcoal that closely mirrors the hardwood charcoal found on the market today.
(3) Utilize technology to map, track and regulate the flow of bamboo charcoal into existing supply chains.
EcoPlanet Bamboo and EcoPlanet Core Carbon are excited to be rolling this model out with various partners. Please contact us using the contact forms below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to get involved.