Energy Efficient Technologies for Climate Change Mitigation: Fuel Briquettes in the Ruiru Municipality, Kiambu County, Kenya.
Mugo, Paul Wanjohi
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Energy is essential for development. It is needed for cooking, providing light, refrigerating food and medicine, supplying fresh water, eliminating household wastes, heating and cooling buildings. Annual total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions arising from the global energy supply sector continue to increase. Currently, energy-related GHG emissions, mainly from fossil fuel combustion for heat supply, electricity generation and transport, account for around 70% of total emissions including carbon dioxide, methane and some traces of nitrous oxide responsible for climate change. The broad objective of this study was to assess the efficiency of fuel briquettes as an alternative source of fuel in Ruiru Municipality of Kiambu County, Kenya, towards improved energy efficiency. Specifically, the study first sort to determine the levels of adoption of fuel briquettes as an alternative source of energy, secondly it examined the obstacles to adoption of fuel briquettes as an alternative source of energy and finally sort to identify components of municipal solid wastes that can be used in the manufacture of fuel briquettes. The study was guided by the diffusion of innovations theory which is used to understand uptake of new technologies such as the briquettes. The research was conducted using descriptive survey design to gather information from respondents. Quantitative research was used to quantify data and generalize results from the sample to the whole population while qualitative research was used to gain an understanding of underlying reasons and motivations. The sample size was composed of 70 respondents and 4 key respondents. Respondents were sampled from local households in the municipality. Data was analyzed and was presented in graphs, charts, frequency tables and pie-charts. Observations and conclusions drawn from the findings indicated that 30% of the respondents were aware of fuel briquettes as an alternative source of energy. Only 6% of the respondents always used them for cooking and heating in their households. The main obstacles to their adoption are the low awareness levels and unavailability in the market compared to other energy sources prevalently used in the area especially Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG). Information from the briquette manufacturer indicated the types of municipal solid wastes that can be used in the manufacture of briquettes as charcoal dust, waste paper, sawdust and dried organic waste. The study provided a case for community based energy efficient technologies that can be widely deployed and be of immense benefit in terms of climate change mitigation. The study findings indicated that choice of energy source was determined by levels of income, availability of energy source and cost of energy source. Majority of respondents interviewed did not know about briquettes or their advantages and thus the level of adoption of fuel briquettes in Ruiru was very low. The beneficiaries of the study included the local briquette manufacturer, the government and other policy makers since it provided an understanding of the fuel briquette industry and made recommendations including formulation of policies that encourage uptake and provision of incentives for briquette manufacturers.