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Firewood & Charcoal

Firewood & Charcoal

Every year millions of tons of firewood and charcoal are consumed across Kenya. Firewood and charcoal currently account for over 60% of Kenya's energy. Most comes illegally from government forest or woodland. the country's forest cover has dwindled from 15% a century ago to less than 3% today.

Arundinaria alpina could be used to produce large quantities of firewood & charcoal in a sustainable manner across Kenya. A number of industries in Kenya need large quantities of wood fuel to power their factories.

The retail value of firewood in Nairobi equates to between Ksh 6,500 - Ksh 7,500 per ton.

The retail value of charcoal in Nairobi equates to between Ksh 45,000 - Ksh 55,000 per ton.

Most of Kenya's charcoal is produced in earthen kilns where as much as 30% is lost in the production process. It takes 7 Kgs of wood at 25% moisture to produce 1 Kg of charcoal.

Firewood at 25% moisture  =  3,293 Kcal      (  3,293 Kcal x 7 Kg = 23,051 Kcal )

Charcoal at 0% moisture  =  7,500 Kcal  

If the government tackles the problems associated with producing firewood and charcoal from privately managed forests a number of organizations will grow indigenous bamboo as a source of "wood fuel".

by Dr. Radut.