Innovation: FAABulous biomass portable stove
Description: The micro-gasifier stove burns biomass efficiently with the help of an electrically-driven fan. It costs less to run than other cooking methods and reduces smoke and carbon monoxide fumes normally linked with burning biomass by over 90%.
The problem: More than 600 million people in Africa still cook on fire every day because they do not have and/or cannot afford electricity. Smoke from these fires causes many deaths, ailments and problems for children.
The story so far:
- FAABulous stove burns compressed wood pellets and has a load capacity of 650 grams
- At full power it uses 500g of fuel per hour, providing 2 kW of heating
- At a cost of R4 per kg, pellets provide heating at less than R1 per kilowatt. This is less than paraffin, LP Gas or Eskom Power!
- First deployment of FAABulous stoves in two projects in Western Cape in 2016 – Egoli and Enkanini informal settlements
- All devices are portable and can be used indoors or outdoors
- Components of all appliances are modular and recyclable
Pellets are not freely available in South Africa. Ekasi has adapted its business focus to include the manufacturing of fuel, to solve this issue. The business plan includes empowering local communities to identify waste resources and to convert bio-waste into an affordable cooking/heating fuel.
This challenge of not having a locally produced affordable bio-fuel has turned into an opportunity!
Pellets retail for over 20X the value of bio-waste (such as Saw Dust) and the conversion of waste to fuel offers a sustainable local value chain that meets triple bottom line objectives:
- Provides households with affordable clean cooking alternatives
- Converts bio-waste into usable fuel and reduces smoke pollution and GHG emissions.
- Creates a fuel value chain that creates jobs in the local economy
Ekasi Energy dual product offering is to offer both mini pellet manufacturing plants as well as gasifier stoves creates a sustainable business model. The fuel revenue exceeds stove revenue by over eight times, crating a much larger market.
We are planning our 1st pilot pellet plant in Wellington outside Cape Town and will be working with the local community to use alien tree vegetation which threatens water security as the raw bio-waste input.
GCIP and Cleantech
Over the last 2 years, I had to pivot and change the business model 3 times. While this has cost time, it has saved many thousands of rands on potentially flawed business models.
The process of defining and validating a business model before drawing up a business plan is essential for a start-up business with limited financial resources. The business toolkit provide during GCIP has provided me the basis to quickly determine what the target market pains, needs and ultimate opportunities can provide and how to avoid costly mistakes by pivoting timeously.