Updated Apr 03, 2018

Tinder Eco Fuels

Challenging the illegal deforestation trade by working with local communities to harvest an invasive, damaging tree species to produce high quality, well packaged, affordable charcoal using ourmodern, efficient carbonisation technology

www.tinder.co.ke
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Snapshot

Stage 4: Transition to Scale

We have one fully operational production site in Marigat, Kenya, producing c. 25 tonnes of charcoal per month, which is sold and distributed via our network of wholesalers in Nairobi. We want to build more production sites and reach more customers.

Focus Areas:

Biomass/BioFuel, Clean Cooking and Climate Change and Resilience

Biomass/BioFuel, Clean Cooking and Climate Change and ResilienceSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Kenya

KenyaSEE LESS

2
Key Partners
1
Country Implemented In
1,500
Customers
12
Employee
$500,000
Funds Raised to Date

Problem

The majority of low-income urban consumers cook on charcoal, as alternatives like gas and electricity are too expensive. Most of the charcoal is sourced illegally from natural forests in dry-land areas. The informal charcoal trade is one of the primary causes of deforestation. Inrecent decades, another driver of environmental degradation is the rapid spread of an invasive species; Prosopis juliflora, which harms livestockand takes over traditional grazing and agricultural lands.

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Solution

We have establisheda forest-friendly business inKenya’s dryland areas, byproducing sustainable, legal charcoal from the invasive Prosopis tree and selling this to major towns in Kenya. Thisdelivers positive environmental impact by reducing the spread ofProsopis, increasing earning opportunities for marginalised local communities by engaging them in harvesting the pest and addressing illegal deforestation.

Target Beneficiaries

Low income communities and those in urban areas benefit from superior quality charcoal at lower or comparable prices to other charcoal suppliers. ThoseinProsopisinvaded areas receive an income to harvest the wood, which they view as a pest. We help solve a nationwide problem for the Kenyan government, as over 3mhectaresof land has been invaded by Prosopis. Finally, the business substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions compared to the status quo.

Mission and Vision

Vision: Thereturn of Africa’s vibrant rainforeststhanks to the local production of sustainable cooking fuels

Mission:Knowing for millions of people that charcoal is the only affordable option our mission is to:

Disrupt Africa’s illegal deforestation, by employing local communities to produce high-quality, sustainably-sourced cooking fuels

Innovation Description

The novelty of our approach lies in adding value to an agricultural and ecological pest through the creation and reform of value chains based on its exploitation. This is delivered by organisational innovation (notably through vertical integration and value chain efficiencies) and technical improvements.

By using modern technologies, we avoid the waste associated with traditional carbonisation practises. Vertical integration allows us to achieve substantial savings by reducing the inefficiencies that presently characterise the charcoal sector. We employ local communities to harvest Prosopis and pay fair prices, so that they earn more by selling us wood than if they carbonised it themselves. Our modern and efficient technologies enable the production of 3 times more charcoal from the same amount of wood compared to traditional practises. We also have the flexibility to construct low cost alternatives (beehive kilns) at satellite locations, which also exhibit high levels of efficiency, and can be built in close proximity to remote Prosopis infested regions. Our carbonisation process burns off greenhouse gases, preventing them from entering the atmosphere. The exclusive use of Prosopisas a feedstock positively impacts the environment by reducing the spread of this invasive tree. Prosopis coppices (grows back after being cut down), making it very difficult to eradicate, but establishes this feedstock as a renewable resource.

Competitive Advantage

The last few years have seen the emergence of several small-scale ‘green’ charcoal initiatives in Kenya. These range from ventures that collect charcoal dust for briquetting, to social-enterprises collecting dead wood from ranches and game reserves. Others are working to convert agricultural waste streams (corn cobs, bagasse, nut shells etc), however, these are operationally small and face challenges scaling up due to feedstock supply constraints. As a result, the status quo – traditionally-produced charcoal from indiscriminately cut non-renewable forest wood – remains the main competing alternative. The vast majority of such charcoal is produced by the poorest members of communities living in marginal arid or semi-arid lands. As they use archaic, ineffective techniques, they typically obtain very poor carbonisation results (8% - 12% compared to well over 30% for modern equipment).

Planned Goals and Milestones

Expanding production by setting up more production sites; using both our modern retorts as well as traditional, yet just as efficient beehive kilns, so that more remote Prosopis infested regions can be accessed. We are also establishing a clear retail outlet chain. We currently work with wholesalers but our objective is to have our own retail operation to sell a well-packaged, branded product through ordinary supermarkets, shops and street kiosks, directly to the consumer.
Funding Goal760,000
New Implemented CountriesEthiopia, Rwanda
New FeatureExpansion to new sites in Kenya. 24 new efficient kilns to be built

Milestones

Apr 2018
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
ORGANIZATIONUnited Nations
Jul 2017
New Product or Service
Charcoal sold in bulk in Nairobi
Feb 2015
Key Partnership
Implementation
ORGANIZATIONEEP
Jul 2014
Key Partnership
Government
ORGANIZATIONKEFRI
Apr 2014
Created
Date Unknown
New Country Implemented In
Kenya

Supporting Materials

Tinder-Eco-Fuels-contact-.pdf