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Knowledge support for sustainable renewable energy policies: The prospects of pro-poor biomass energy value chains in rural-urban contexts in East Africa

Applicant Ehrensperger Albrecht
Number 146875
Funding scheme r4d (Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development)
Research institution Zentrum für Entwicklung und Umwelt Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Social geography and ecology
Start/End 01.12.2013 - 31.05.2017
Approved amount 493'450.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Social geography and ecology
Information Technology
Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences

Keywords (6)

innovation uptake; biomass energy; decision support; geo-information science; life cycle assessment; cross-scale approach

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Ein Grossteil der städtischen Bevölkerung in Kenia und Tansania deckt ihren Energiebedarf mit Holzkohle. Die voranschreitende Urbanisierung und der steigende Energiebedarf verstärken den Druck auf die natürlichen Ressourcen im ländlichen Raum. Das Projekt untersucht das Potential und die Realisierbarkeit von nachhaltigen Wertschöpfungsketten verschiedener Biomasse-Energien, die zur Armutslinderung beitragen können. Die Resultate unterstützen die Entwicklung von nachhaltigen Energiepolitiken.
Lay summary

Die Zahl der Menschen in Städten Ostafrikas, deren Energieversorgung zum Grossteil von Holzkohle abhängt, wird in den nächsten 20-30 Jahre weiter ansteigen und damit der Druck auf die natürlichen Ressourcen in ländlichen Gebieten weiter anwachsen. Es ist deshalb zentral nachhaltige Wertschöpfungsketten von Biomasse-Energie zu entwickeln. Neben Holz und Holzkohle stehen Biogas, flüssige Biotreibstoffe, oder Farmrückstände als mögliche Energieträger zur Diskussion.

Das Hauptziel des Projektes ist es, das Potential und die Erfolgsaussichten nachhaltiger Biomasse-Energie-Wertschöpfungsketten in zwei städtischen Einzugsgebieten in Kenia und Tansania zu untersuchen und damit die Entwicklung von wissensbasierten Energiepolitiken zu unterstützen.

Ausgehend von regionalen Energieszenarien, die zusammen mit lokalen Behörden und Interessensgruppen entwickelt werden, untersucht das Projekt räumlich differenziert:

  • die soziale Akzeptanz, Wirtschaftlichkeit, und die Umweltauswirkungen von Biomasse-Energie-Wertschöpfungsketten, aber auch deren technische Machbarkeit;
  • das naturräumliche Potential der zwei Einzugsgebiete hinsichtlich der Produktion von Biomasse-Brennstoffen und berücksichtigt dabei die verschiedenen Nachfrage nach Ökosystemleistungen und möglichen Konflikten mit Nahrungsmittelproduktion, Biodiversitätserhaltung usw.

Ein computergestütztes Programm erlaubt schliesslich, die lokalen Wertschöpfungsketten von Biomasse-Energie mit dem naturräumlichen Potential zu verbinden und unterschiedliche Energiemodelle räumlich differenziert darzustellen. Die Modelle werden mit Entscheidungsträgern und lokalen Akteuren analysiert und gemeinsam werden nachhaltige Energielösungen für Kleinbauern und arme städtische Bevölkerungsgruppen diskutiert.

Das Projekt kombiniert Methoden verschiedener Disziplinen (Sozial- und Wirtschaftswissenschaften, die Lebenszyklusanalyse, Geoinformatik und Informationstechnologie). Das interdisziplinäre Team besteht aus Forschenden aus der Schweiz, Kenia und Tansania.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 26.11.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Scaling-Up Sustainable Pro-poor Energy Solutions: Addressing Stumbling Blocks
Ehrensperger Albrecht, Wymann von Dach Susanne (2015), Scaling-Up Sustainable Pro-poor Energy Solutions: Addressing Stumbling Blocks, in Gadgil Ashok , Hostettler Silvia, Hazboun Eileen (ed.), Springer, New York, 81-82.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Institute of Geography, University of Bern Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
University of Zurich, Department of Informatics, Informatics and Sustainability Research Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
University of Nairobi (dpt of Chemistry) Kenya (Africa)
- Research Infrastructure
University of Nairobi (dpt. of Geography and Environmental Studies) Kenya (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
University of Dar es Salaam (dpt. of Sociology) Tanzania (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
PhD in Transitions Conference 2017 Individual talk Applicability of transition frameworks in developing countries 27.04.2017 Lausanne, Switzerland Ehrensperger Albrecht; Wymann von Dach Susanne;
EnviroInfo2016 Talk given at a conference Regionalized LCI Modeling: A Framework for the Integration of Spatial Data in Life Cycle Assessment. 14.09.2016 Berlin, Germany Reinhard Jürgen;
PhD Colloquium International Graduate School North-South Individual talk Potential of sustainable supply of biomass cooking fuels in rural-urban areas of East Africa: Case study assessments of Moshi and Kitui 27.04.2015 Bern, Switzerland Bär Roger;
Schweizerische Tage der Afrika-Forschung 2014 Poster Potentials of Sustainable Biomass Fuel Production in East Africa: Assesment of the Rural-Urban Areas of Kitui and Moshi 17.10.2014 Bern, Switzerland Bär Roger;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Prospects of Biomass Energy in East Africa (ProBE) - Project Results Dissemination and Feedback Workshop in Kitui, Kenya 01.11.2016 Kitui, Kenya
Participatory development of biomass energy scenarios workshop in Moshi, Tanzania 14.07.2014 Moshi, Tanzania
Participatory development of biomass energy scenarios workshop in Kitui, Kenya 09.07.2014 Kitui, Kenya

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: radio, television Banning of Charcoal in Tanzania ITV Tanzania International 2017
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) More out of less: future scenarios of clean cooking solutions in East-Africa. International 2017
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) What future for cooking with solid biomass? The benefits of improved stoves and micro-gasifiers. International 2017
Media relations: radio, television Alternative energy: Embracing technology in energy KTN (Kenya Television Network) International 2016
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Prospect of Biomass Energy in East Africa (ProBE) International 2014

Awards

Title Year
Best Paper Award (2nd price), EnviroInfo2016, Berlin, http://www.ifi.uzh.ch/en/isr/news/news/Awards-at-EnviroInfo-2016.html 2016

Abstract

In East Africa the number of people depending on biomass energy (including charcoal) will continue to grow in the next 2 to 3 decades, leading to increased pressure on natural resources. Due to the fast pace of urbanisation, low-income urban dwellers have become the main consumers of charcoal from rural areas. Therefore, sustainable biomass energy value chains in urban catchment areas are urgently needed.The overall goal is to assess the prospects of sustainable biomass energy value chains in rural-urban contexts in East Africa, with a view to contributing to the formulation and implementation of knowledge-based energy policies that improve urban populations’ access to energy for cooking and safeguard smallholders’ income opportunities. The research focuses on biomass fuels for cooking, as this is the most important energy need of rural and low-income urban households .This overall goal will be achieved by: (a) investigating the social acceptance, economic viability, technical feasibility, and environmental impacts of alternative value chains of biomass energy for cooking in two rural-urban contexts, based on participatory development of regional energy scenarios; (b) analysing the potentials of two urban catchment areas for the sustainable production of biomass fuels, considering demands for, as well as trade-offs between, different ecosystem goods and services in these areas; (c) developing an analytical framework for integrating local biomass energy value chains into spatially explicit models of sustainable biomass fuel production, with a view to achieving an accurate approximation of the potential for scaling out these value chains.Research results will be transferred to decision-makers and local actors through capacity development and raising their awareness on promising biomass energy solutions for smallholders and poor urban dwellers.The project integrates methods of the social and economic science, life cycle assessment and inventory, as well as geo-information science and information technology development. The project partners form an inter-disciplinary team of researchers and development practitioners.
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