West Africa's growing 'clean' energy space


“Cooking fuels have always been part of our lives and there’s a lot of investment that is going into this space as we speak,” Femi Oye, Co-Founder of SMEFunds told CNBC Africa.

SME Funds Green Energy & Biofuels (SME Funds) is a social enterprise based in Lagos that promotes a safer and cleaner biofuel gel with their patented cookstoves as an alternative to dangerous and harmful fuels.

“Ethanol is the primary base of the cellulosic cooking fuel that we are providing. The difference is just the first generation biofuel and the second generation biofuel, because of the world challenge and outcry about foot security” he said.


Earlier this year, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves announced that SME Funds was selected as being a cookstove business with one of the highest growth potentials in the word.

“The whole world and science is now moving away from producing cooking fuels such as ethanol from those foodstuffs that we eat into using bio mass like wood waste, saw dust, agriculture waste and so many other sorts of bio mass wastes to the new space called cellulosic ethanol and that is exactly what SMEFunds is tapping into to increase energy independence in Africa,” he explained.

For the past two years, SME Funds converted wood waste from local sawmills into a high quality ethanol. According to the statement by the Alliance, the business developed a unique approach and established a pioneering method of producing cellulosic ethanol as a renewable ethanol gel and cooking fuel.

“Before now, women were subjected to different types of cooking fuels like the firewood, we have charcoal, we have raw saw dust and we have a lot of people that still sell trees today to make charcoal and the likes,” he added.

According to Oye, reports found that close to 100,000 women die from indoor air pollution in Nigeria alone and momentum started building about four years ago when the global alliance for clean cookstove was launched.