Fuel Cookies - Renewable Cooking and Heating Fuel

Fuel Cookies - Renewable Cooking and Heating Fuel: Dazin – Taking care for all

BhutanTsirang, Bhutan
Year Founded:
2013
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Dazin provides cooking and heating fuel - for free to rural households and at below market prices to urban and commercial customers in Bhutan. Dazin addresses the lack of clean, reliable and renewable residential fuel in South Asia while reducing Green House Gases and generating jobs.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

open fire cooking can be seen only in Museums?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Smoke from open fire cooking accounts for 1.3 million deaths every year in South Asia, impacting mostly women and children. Open cooking fires causes deforestation and emits 65% of total black carbon in Indian sub-continent contributing to climate change. Bhutan has highest firewood consumption per person globally. Bhutan also has dependency on India for limited import (700 tons/month) of fossil fuel based Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) for cooking.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Most obvious solution is to sell clean stoves as practiced by many other organisations. But the problem is How to sell clean stoves to people earning less than $2/day? Dazin manufactures and distributes fuel cookies, highly dense material made from forestry waste. Dazin practices inclusive business model by collecting free sustainably sourced forestry waste through people participation from extensive rural Collection Points ran by local woman. In exchange for the forestry waste collected and delivered, the households receive free fuel cookies and a free smokeless stove (designed by Philips) on lease. Surplus fuel cookies saved from rural areas (~65%) are sold to others in cities at lower price than LPG generating profit to scale operations.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

A woman living in rural area provides 55% less forestry waste to us compared to burning openly in a fire. She gets back enough fuel cookies to meet her cooking requirements by trading it with the forestry waste at nearest Collection Point manged by local woman. She also gets smokeless gasifying stove on lease for free in which fuel cookies are used. The remaining surplus fuel cookies made from her contribution are sold to nearby urban market at 30% lower price than LPG so that her urban counterpart can get cost-effective and reliable cooking and heating fuel along with leased stoves. The fuel cookies revenues from cities offset the free fuel and stove given in rural areas and generate profit for us to scale our operations in new areas.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We have proven our inclusive business model of people participation by impacting more than 250 people in two villages. Rural households queued up to provide forestry waste with 100% retention rate and were eager to get free fuel cookies and efficient smokeless stove. Rural households improved there health by getting cleaner air, saved money on LPG, electricity and soaps (because our product is clean). Our fuel+stove system consumes 84% less wood waste compared to open fire and we have already saved 60 tons of carbon emissions. Our urban customers saved 30% on the fuel bills compared to LPG and the demand for our fuel is increasing. We have also registered waiting list of 200+ people as our future customers. We are also getting enquiries from schools and for home heating in cities. We are working to demonstrate strong market share and scalability of the model in other villages and cities.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We aim to empower communities by building a sustainable cooking and heating energy infrastructure contributing towards Gross National Happiness in Bhutan, and inspiring other organizations by sharing knowledge. Dazin will target 150000 rural/urban households in Bhutan that use fuelwood or LPG along with restaurants using LPG who are suffering from high cost and unreliable supply of fuel. Our concept will scale throughout the country while creating 1100+ jobs and reducing the per capita wood consumption by half in Bhutan. Dazin will open source the learning for its replication in global south.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Dazin generates most of its revenue by selling fuel cookies, not by stoves. The fuel production cost is $0.08/kg and fuel selling cost is $0.42/kg (2017 expected revenue: $2.7 million), providing the profit margin of 75-80% which pays off cost of stove within 6 months and infrastructure investment within 4 years. Afterwards, Dazin will be able to self-finance the gasifying stoves and fuel cookies factory equipments due to fuel sales in cities.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

A public-private company (NRDCL) in Bhutan produces and sells briquettes as a heating fuel made from saw-millers waste sawdust. NRDCL provides only fuel which is used in inefficient Bhukari heaters whereas Dazin provides a combination of fuel and world’s most efficient biomass stove. NRDCL has very low profit margin due to inefficient use of briquettes in local stoves and high production cost after buying the raw material. Therefore NRDCL is unable to expand its operations and is limited to a single factory. Bhutan also has 100% dependency of subsidized LPG imports from India for cooking.
Team

Founding Story

In 2008, I was working as a Software Engineer in India. My job was to find bugs in high end mobile phones but I was more attached to rural society and problems faced by the masses due to my travels. I realized that it’s more fun to fix the bugs on humanity instead of fixing just another mobile phone. Open fire cooking was the biggest bug i have noticed for society and environment while travelling. I started working in cookstove projects after leaving my job. Most of my time was dedicated to understand root cause of the problem. I understood that reliable fuel supply is as important as efficient stove. After learning from experts, I wrote down various fuel production business models. Afterwards, this idea was successfully piloted in Bhutan.

Team

I have 7+ years of diverse experience on similar projects in Asia and Africa and MSc in Environment Management from Denmark. I have won several awards for Dazin and invested my own money for pilot project. Sangay Rinchen, Co-Founder has 10+ years of multi-disciplinary experience. He has worked locally with farmers, community forests and marketing agricultural products. We have strong multi-national & diverse team of 12 people including advisors.
About You
Organization:
Dazin
About You
First Name

Deepak

Last Name

Ashwani

About Your Project
Organization Name

Dazin

How long has your organization been operating?

Project
Organization Country

, Tsirang

Country where this project is creating social impact
What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Friends and family, Other.

Supplemental
Sector

Health and Hygiene, Greenhouse Gases, Sustainable Sourcing, Opportunities for Women, Inclusive Business, Smallholder Farmers.

Audience: Who have you identified as your customer/recipient groups and do these groups value your solution for different reasons? How do you engage different customer/recipient groups to deliver your solution?

Our customers are the women collecting forestry waste in rural areas and LPG users in cities. Dazin also aim to provide fuel cookies for commercial users to boarding schools, restaurants, Army etc. The rural households provide forestry waste and get fuel cookies from the nearest Collection Points operated by local woman. Dazin operates retail stores for selling the fuel cookies in urban areas. All the customers value our product as it is smokeless, reliable and can be used for both cooking & heating.

Scaling the solution: How would the prize money and publicity help you to achieve your objectives over the next two years?

As we reduce upfront cost for a customer, that burden is put on us. We have to purchase the stoves in advance and retain the cost from fuel sales afterwards. Our previous awards has helped us to prove concept, reduce upfront and increase the health & environment benefits in 2 villages. With this award money, we are aiming at scaling upto 15 more villages and in 3 cities providing us a strong foundation for our concept. It will also create powerful word-of-mouth resulting in a ripple effect, as we observed in our pilot success. Unilever global network can also help us by connecting with potential investors and donors by spreading the word.
Publicity: We want to spread our message to the world, Let’s put open fire cooking in museums by 2035.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered

I have worked closely with the founders of Inyenyeri, Rwanda and Emerging Cooking Solutions, Zambia. At the start-up stage, I was involved in trying out various strategies to find out replicable and financially sustainable business model which can be scaled nationally. It was an experience for me to learn from failures as well as to understand an organization building from bottom up. Dazin is also build on my previous entrepreneurial activities.

Are you are eligible to attend the Accelerator event in Cambridge and subsequent events in London, UK in January, 2015?

yes

Will you require a visa to enter the UK?

yes

Are you are a current Unilever employee?

Comments

Korvi Rakshand's picture

Your project seems great. It has the potential to save environment and reduce health hazard resulted from smoke.

Osama Khattab's picture

good work large impact, good luck and keep going

Md Saimum Talukder's picture

The project idea focuses on the root level people, especially marginalized who needs this kind of cost effective initiatives. This should be the motto of every development activities. A very helpful project indeed!

Ari Jadwin's picture

Your project is beautiful!

Clear problem, clear, simple, impactful solution.

I know exactly what you are doing, I know exactly what you plan to do. Awarding you money or investing in your project is extremely attractive because it is so straightforward.

The clarity is amazing.

Your website is well-constructed. Tells the right story, and immediately brings me into your world and doesn't waste my time bringing me up to speed.

I want to speak soon to better understand the challenges you face as you implement this project. Your interest is to help these people in Bhutan; I want to know about the challenges where they resisted your efforts and how you overcame those challenges. What challenges remain?

Sumit Gunjan's picture

good innovative initiative towards renewable resources. After Smokeless chullahs, this can be a breakthrough.. So keep moving.

Deepak Ashwani's picture

Thank you all for posting comments.

@Ari, our biggest challenge on the field is manage extensive follow-ups to teach the people about the whole concept. It usually takes 2-3 weeks for one village and then the model moves smoothly. Off the field, we have really big challenge to raise large sum of money to fund the machines of fuel production and containers of stoves.