GAS FOR TOMORROW

GAS FOR TOMORROW: HABONA

Nyamagabe, RwandaKigali, Rwanda
Year Founded:
2013
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Gas For Tomorrow is a project that provides affordable, and environmentally friendly fuels in form of portable biogas to rural households in Rwanda.

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

What if greenhouse gases emitted by our waste are captured to fuel our homes?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The major part of energy consumed in Rwanda today still comes from wood (80.4%). Yet studies carried out already showed a gap of 3,000,000 m³ of wood for energy needs only. As a result, there is massive deforestation across the country with consequent effects on the environment. Rural households prefer to set up biogas plants but the technology is still expensive. Again, tons of greenhouse gases are emitted each year.

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

Gas For Tomorrow project was pioneered to bring lasting solutions to the energy and fertilizer problems that Nyamagabe inhabitants are facing. Different types of biodegradable waste materials are collected and fed into a centralized biogas digester to produce portable biogas. This system allows those who can’t build their own biogas plant to access biogas in a compressed form, which is actually cheaper. Bacteria, in an oxygen deprived environment, decompose those wastes to generate biogas as well as a fresh organic fertilizer for farming. The company manages a waste management plant which exposes the company to different waste opportunities available in district to manufacture even many environmental friendly products such as briquettes.
Impact: How does it Work

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

It is a challenge for someone who earns $600 in a year to afford a biogas plant which requires $1200. His earnings need to be segregated into different things such as paying school fees for children, food and accommodation, etc. This seems actually impractical because the earnings are too low to cover everything. This result in many children dropping school to help their parents in daily activities, but since we introduced our project, people are preferring portable biogas as they spend as little as $20 for a canister of gas with a capacity of lasting for more than 4 months according to the household's use of energy. The same benefits are enjoyed by restaurants who have no space for biogas digester.

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

The project to date has employed over 20 people. This is a great contribution towards the reduction of unemployment as these people would be redundant if the project was not brought. Apart from generating employment, the project will save over 10,000 tons of tree cut every year to make charcoal. Over 50 restaurants have already subscribed for our biogas, and current statistics show that these restaurants have been using a combined total of 2 tons of charcoal per day. The use of biogas will therefore save a number of trees cut thus saving the environment in general. The bio-fertilizer which comes out from the biogas digester is healthy for farming as it contains micro- nutrients essential for boosting crop yield. Currently, farmers and farming cooperatives have ordered over 50 tons of bio fertilizer, which is believed to increase the yield by 35%.

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

So far, we have started to approach key policy makers in Rwanda, to help us spread the role of biogas throughout the country. We have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Nyamagabe district, for managing Nyabivumu integrated waste management plant. The plant allows us to take advantage of all waste available in the district, and by having enough waste, we are able to produce enough biogas as well as other environmentally friendly products like briquette. We have also run a TV show campaign for 4 months, thus raising awareness countrywide.
Sustainability

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

To keep all activities running smoothly, $40,000 is needed as an initial cash outlay. So far, we have commitments from NGOs and capital lease investors of up to $20,000. We have been trying to do as much as we can with little money we have as we expect the project's own revenue to sustain it. We are in touch with different organizations to raise more money and the impact of the project is attracting many donors.

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

In Rwanda, people only get support from the government, because there is no private company dealing with the provision of biogas. Actually, this government support is limited as an applicant needs to wait for months in order to get biogas plant at his home. The solution that we are offering is quick and affordable compared to over $1000 that people need to pay for just one single digestor. We are the pioneers of biogas bottling in Rwanda, and this new system really demonstrate an efficient way of scaling biogas to reach so many people.
Team

Founding Story

I was born and raised in a place where there is no access to electricity. Before going to school, I had to wake up early to collect firewood for my grandparents, and that used to take me roughly 2 hours. I was always late at school and the struggle continued till i joined a boarding high school in a place quite close to a town. Attending such school, i got to know the benefit of having access to electricity and that was my first time to live in a place where simply a button is pressed to get light. We used candles and we had to walk several miles to the market to buy them. It is against this background that i thought of this solution to free my parents and neighbors from chronic darkness and energy crisis.

Team

The team is a composite of people with different skills and backgrounds. We make sure it is a right mix in order to put ideas together toward forming a strong solution. We have people who have graduated at Kigali college of science and technology and these people have participated actively in the campaign for setting biogas plant in prisons in Rwanda. We have also 3 people with experience in marketing, finance and procurement who works full time.
About You
About You
First Name

Jean Bosco

Last Name

Nzeyimana

About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

Project
Organization Country

, KV, Kigali

Country where this project is creating social impact

, GK, Nyamagabe

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Friends and family, NGOs, Regional government, Customers.

Supplemental
Sector

Health and Hygiene, Greenhouse Gases, Waste and Packaging, 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?

Gas For Tomorrow (G4T) project targets households, small manufacturing businesses, schools, restaurants, hospitals and other potential gas users. All those customer segments need biogas but they have no means to set up their own biogas plant. For rural households in Rwanda, a home-based biogas plant cost roughly $1200 and the household needs at least two cows to nurture the plant. The project intends to resolve the burden by providing affordable portable biogas, from a centralized biogas bottling plant.

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

Now we can only reach 500 customers because of limited resources. Winning this award can help to reach out approximately 5000 people; that means we can scale up to 10 times compared to the status quo.
Among the potential help that we are seeking from this prize is to higher more experts and to buy more cylinders for our customers. Again, our biogas compression is still under-capitalized. The earnings that we retain from monthly profits are not enough to motion this strong project, but this prize guarantees the continuation of the environmentally friendly project "G4T".

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

I co-founded BIOCOOP RWANDA- a Biodiversity and Environmental conservation Cooperative to encourage people in my home village to protect the ecosystem. it was offered a bid to remove exotic plants in Nyungwe national park amid 2013. I have also been recognized by different organizations for my colossal entrepreneurship undertakings. I have won the 2013 African innovation prize, and i was flown to Seattle, USA as a finalist in a global competition

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?