Value-Addition in Biomass for enhanced Household Energy Security in Navakholo Sub-County, Kenya

Authors

  • Stacey Waudo Kenyatta University, Kenya
  • Fuchaka Waswa Kenyatta University, Kenya

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.62049/jkncu.v4i1.52

Keywords:

Biomass, Value-Addition, Briquetting, Household Energy Security

Abstract

Although firewood is still the dominant source of energy in the majority of rural households in Navakholo, its sustainable availability is threatened by a steady decline in tree cover as much land gets converted to agricultural use. Opportunities for expanding energy security in such places reside in previously untapped potential for value addition on biomass energy sources. The broad objective of this research was to enhance availability and access to biomass energy while at the same time conserving tree cover for posterity. The specific objective was to assess opportunities for energy security through value-addition on available biomass energy sources. Data was collected using a questionnaire survey and focus group discussions in each of the five Wards of the Sub-County. Descriptive statistics and content analysis of responses were used to analyse the data and generate knowledge to inform future decision-making. Although Navakholo sub-county is a maize and sugarcane zone, results showed that value-addition practices on these two biomass energy sources such as through briquetting are non-existent. Much of the maize cobs are directly used as low energy fuel or simply left to rot away. Cow dung, which has a potential for energy provision through conversion into energy balls is usually used as manure in the farm. In addition, investment in biogas production is untapped because of the high initial costs. Only rudimentary approaches such as use of saw dust in cook stoves, and extinguishing firewood and charcoal after the day’s cooking are used to ease the pressure on available firewood. Although charcoal is a value-added product on wood fuel, respondents did not see it from that perspective. It was instead viewed as an energy alternative for those who could afford it. Opportunities for other value-added products like briquettes from charcoal, dust, saw dust and sugarcane cutting singly or in blended form remains unexploited. With appropriate exposure and capacity building on binder material and supply of press equipment, availability of biomass energy can be increased through the conversion of readily available maize cobs into briquettes. Secondary feedstock like cow dung, charcoal dust and saw dust may also be converted or used as binder material.

Author Biographies

Stacey Waudo, Kenyatta University, Kenya

Department Environmental Science and Education

Fuchaka Waswa, Kenyatta University, Kenya

Department of Agricultural Science and Technology

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Published

2024-01-15

How to Cite

Waudo, S., & Waswa, F. (2024). Value-Addition in Biomass for enhanced Household Energy Security in Navakholo Sub-County, Kenya. Journal of the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO, 4(1). https://doi.org/10.62049/jkncu.v4i1.52