What makes a fuel business sustainable? How can understanding fuel supply and impacts help unlock the potential of an enterprise?

In 2013, the Alliance partnered its fuel-focused grantees with the services of ENEA Consulting, a France-based consulting company specializing in energy transitions and sustainable development. ENEA provided Alliance fuel grantees with a variety of services, the most notable being an evaluation of environmental impacts and availability of fuel supply.

Resource assessments performed by ENEA through a combination of desk support and in person validation gave the grantees the ability to identify their fuel production potential to help them set strategic targets. By using elements of a life cycle analysis, they were able to recognize effects so as to optimize those targets and production methods in a sustainable way. The grantees have used the results to scale up their production, restructure their supply chain for raw materials, and in some cases, step up from a micro enterprise to a small/medium enterprise. The results of the analyses are also being used to effectively communicate with clients and investors, demonstrating positive environmental benefits such as significantly lower impacts on climate change of processed fuel products as compared to traditional charcoal.

Continuing this type of support, ENEA Consulting released a Call for Projects earlier this year to provide between 30-70 days of its consulting services on a pro-bono basis (spending more than half of that time in the field) to foster impact driven energy access projects and provide them with the support they need to be successful. Of the 6 projects selected, 3 are cooking-related projects, one of which is a current Alliance grantee.

  • Ecozoom: production and distribution of agro pellets (Kenya). This Alliance Pilot Innovation Fund Round 3 grantee there is partnering with PATH, a global nonprofit health organization, to pilot several distribution models involving health workers to supply cookstoves and fuel pellets.
  • LivelyHoods: deployment of a network of energy  and convenience shops with cookstoves as a key product (Kenya)
  • Vétérinaires sans frontières Belgium (VSF-B): domestic biodigesters program (Rwanda)

Supporting cookstove and fuel enterprises with this type of analysis provides an important value-add to the grantees, while also contributing to the Alliance’s goals of strengthening supply and fostering an enabling environment. Evaluating the efficiency and sustainability of enterprises and sharing that information with the sector through partnerships with groups such as ENEA is key to the Alliance’s global strategy. To hear some of the results of the work with the 2013 Alliance Spark grantees, here is a link to our October 2014 webinar.