Kaffakocher – Cooking Energy from Coffee Waste

14. November 2014

Soon, people in Ethiopia will be able to cook with coffee production waste instead of wood from the rainforest. That's the idea behind the Kaffakocher project, which myclimate supports with expert advice.

Coffee husks are produced as a side product during the production of coffee.

More than merely waste: The Kaffakocher uses the otherwise wasted coffee husks as fuel.

The Ethiopian rainforest is at risk. Whereas at the end of the 1960s 40 percent of the land was still covered by forest, this proportion has since shrunken to 2.7 percent, according to geo.de. One of the last intact forests of Ethiopia is the Kaffa mountain rainforest in the southwest of the country. Although UNESCO declared the region a biosphere reserve in 2010, the pressure on the forests remains high – also due to the local demand for firewood. Indeed, many families prepare their food over open fires. That is extremely inefficient and also hazardous to health because of the heavy smoke that develops.

The Kaffakocher project initiated by Nadine Guthapfel of bonnepomme GmbH and Stephan Gutzwiller of Kaskad-E GmbH together with Maria Müller of Original Food looks into the problem of the Kaffa region's need for fuel: Ethiopia has the largest coffee harvest in Africa. That is why in future, the coffee husks generated as waste products during coffee production will be used for cooking. The challenge is that the husks burn very poorly. For this reason, low-tech pyrolysis cookers are being built as part of the Kaffakocher project.

They save 65 percent to 70 percent of energy. Gasification technology allows the coffee husks to be used as fuel. myclimate is one of the partners in the Kaffakocher project. Our experience in developing cooker projects allowed us to offer expert support. But myclimate also helps by calculating the CO2 emissions saved and by monitoring the project. The total cost of the pilot project is about 174,000 francs.

The Swiss federal government supports the project through the REPIC platform and assumes 50 percent of costs. The Geo organisation protects the rainforest, and other partners supply another portion of the funding. The final 30,000 francs are to be collected through crowdfunding on the project website.

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