Updated Apr 03, 2018

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Ethanol for Cook Stoves

We offer ethanol for cook stoves to provide access to clean energy for the urban poor, save the forests and build sustainability through cassava farm business for poor women farmers.


Martin Kailie

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Stage 2: Research & Development

We have completed the market validation. We are currently working on the pilot study.

Registered as a For-Profit.

Focus Areas:

Entrepreneurship, Clean Cooking and Climate Change and Resilience

Entrepreneurship, Clean Cooking and Climate Change and ResilienceSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Sierra Leone

Sierra LeoneSEE LESS

Country Implemented In
Funds Raised to Date


Firewood is a huge problem. 95% use firewood, causing pulmonary disease for women and girls who cook, and risks of injury, snake bites and rape for rural women who collect firewood. The deforestation contributes to droughts and flooding, which in turn further lowers the resilience of the subsistence farmers who depend on rain-fed agriculture. The Climate Vulnerability Index ranks Sierra Leone as "extremely at risk". In August 2017, flooding and mudslides killed over 1000 people.



We offer cassava-based ethanol for cook stoves to create access to clean energy for the urban poor, save the forests and build sustainability through climate-smart farm business for poor women farmers. Cassava feedstock is appropriate for ethanol production because it is drought and flood resistant, has high starch content and cheap to produce. It could therefore be used to support poor women farmers to adapt to climate change. Also it can reduce pulmonary disease because it burns clean.

Target Beneficiaries

The beneficiaries include the 100,000 urban households and the 10,000 poor women farmers within the first three years. The urban poor will have access to clean energy that burns clean and reduces pollution in the kitchens, and will therefore move from firewood to ethanol stoves. The poor women farmers will have a sustainable cassava farm business opportunity, and will therefore move from firewood production to cassava farm business.

Mission and Vision

We support the poor to build community resilience to climate change through clean energy.

Innovation Description

The solution is innovative in several ways. First it uses of cassava for ethanol production. Traditionally, ethanol producers use corn (USA)or sugar cane (Brazil). Cassava is a better source of ethanol due to high starch content, low production costs and climate smart advantages. Second, we will work with women farmers as feedstock producers, to move them from firewood production to a more sustainable farm business development. Desert Water is a cooperative social enterprise model, meaning that feedstock producers will own some amount of the social enterprise. The cook stoves will be provided or fabricated by partners who will also be in business. The project thinks big because it is designed to disrupt the market for energy for cooking in Sierra Leone and other West African countries at scale. After startup the project will target 10% of the market in Sierra Leone (100,000 users), but will be expected to speedily scale to 1,000,000 users in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea within 5 years.

Competitive Advantage

Our product will have sustainable and defensible competitive advantages. Ethanol has several competitive advantages over firewood. It is clean, sustainable and improves the standard of life for users. The cassava feedstock also offers a sustainable alternative livelihood activity to firewood production for the rural women. Our key competitors will be firewood producers, poor rural women who etch a living from collecting firewood. Our business model delivers an alternative that is more sustainable and viable economically for firewood producers, and also delivers access to clean energy technology that solves the risk of pollution related diseases for user. To disrupt the market, the expected price of ethanol will be US$2 per gallon, cheaper than charcoal and firewood.

Planned Goals and Milestones

Once the pilot study is completed, the project will start to raise capital and build partnerships for the start-up. First it will start a central estate cassava farm of 100 hectares, and then organize and support the farmers to start the 10,000 hectares of cassava plantations across Bo District. At the same time the project will partner with Sunbird Bio-energy to start a small ethanol plant in Bo.
Funding Goal18,000
New Implemented CountriesSierra Leone
Recruit3 graduate students from UC Davis for the pilot study in Sierra Leone.


Date Unknown
New Country Implemented In
Sierra Leone