Faces of the Kenya...

Faces of the Kenya CIC: Eco Fuels Kenya (EFK)

As we approach the first anniversary of our Kenya Climate Innovation Center (CIC) later this month, we are reflecting on this year’s successes with profiles of entrepreneurs it has supported. This week in the spotlight, Eco Fuels Kenya, which is using the croton nut to locally produce clean energy and organic fertilizers. 

Eco Fuels Kenya (EFK) is a for-profit social enterprise producing organic fertilizers, biofuel and plant-based health products from the nuts and seeds of the Croton megalocarpus, a naturally abundant plant in East Africa, which to date has had no other productive or commercial use. Their business is also focused on creating jobs, and helping reduce deforestation, carbon emissions and the use of chemical fertilizers in East Africa.

EFK only recently began harvesting Croton megalocarpus, and is currently the only commercial enterprise doing so. There is very little data available on what the exact fruiting (i.e. seed dropping)  patterns are and where the densest population of trees exist.

Performing a scientific study on where and how the Croton megalocarpus tree drops nuts would be valuable information to allow EFK to target the development of their Seed Collectors Network and bring more predictability into the collection process.  As EFK looks to expand into a second factory location by the end of 2013, having Croton megalocarpus maps of potential future sights would be a valuable asset to justify the placement location and investment necessary to open these additional factories.

The Kenya CIC will offer technical and business support to EFK, and is currently working with them to help develop their business.  According to Myles Lutheran of EFK, they were awarded a Proof of Concept grant equaling USD 18,396 to assist them in replicating their product throughout Kenya.  In addition, Myles added that CIC funding will be used to execute the implementation of a SMS-based communication system that will allow EFK to increase the accountability, predictability, and reach of their current Seed Collectors Network from an estimate of 300-400 community members to 2,000. 

Photo courtesy of Eco Fuels Kenya.

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