BCP and BetterWorld Energy (BWE), a start-up bioenergy company in Zambia, have partnered to launch a community-based bioenergy project on areas of degraded community forest within the Project Zone for the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project. The project will involve rural communities in the planting of drought-resistant, high-yielding Millettia Pinnata plants (VayuSapTM) provided by EEP project partners Vayugrid on areas of degraded community forest, with the aim to producing bioenergy sources.
The project is designed to benefit rural producers firstly through the creation of jobs and also by providing them access to affordable energy supplies and organic fertilizers to boost local agricultural productivity on existing farmland. These are key interventions that are anticipated to address the major drivers of deforestation in the area, which include poverty and lack of access to energy. By planting Nitrogen-fixing trees on degraded and deforested land, the project is also intended to protect and rehabilitate soils.
Long-term objectives of the project include: increased production of renewable energy, creation of rural jobs and increased incomes from agriculture, empowerment of women, development of alternatives to charcoal, rehabilitation of degraded and deforested community land, and development of climate resilient income sources.
Thanks to a recent grant from the Energy and Environment Program (EEP)— which is financed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, the Austrian Development Cooperation and the UK Department for International Development (DFID)—the project is now set to begin a 12-month feasibility study, which will assess the location and availability of appropriate areas of degraded community forest, as well as to assess which types of possible technology supplies best match production supplies and energy services for participating communities within the Project Zone. The project is capable of generating energy feedstock capable of providing liquid fuels, solid fuels and producer gas, as well as organic fertilizers, and in the future other high-value derivatives.
The purpose of this feasibility study is to explore the potential that this project has to benefit rural producers and to generate viable alternative energy sources in Zambia. Similar projects have been successfully launched in India through Vayugrid Marketplace Services Pvt. Ltd, a social enterprise committed to building community-based bioenergy and biofuel supply chains within rural communities, government and industry. Vayugrid have committed to bring their knowledge and experiences to this partnership in Zambia.
For more information about Better World Energy, please visit: http://betterworldenergy.org/, or find them on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Betterworld-Energy/461212197265413