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Urban Light- Promoting access to affordable clean energy for rural women

Promoting women economic empowerment and reduce women health risk due to use of bio mass ( traditional fuel for cook)

Photo of Khondoker Shabiha Sultana
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Set up the bio gas plant to combat the climate change and reduce the women health risk in rural bangladesh by establishing the mini bio gas plant. Lack of access to modern energy services is a critical factor in the low economic development and continuing poverty of the rural Bangladeshi population. Sources vary, but it is estimated that only 60% of the population has access to electricity, and only 6% have access to mains-connected gas, primarily in urban areas. Almost 75% of the population of Bangladesh, (120 million people), live in rural areas, where the electrification rate is 42%, and almost 90% of people use traditional biomass for cooking. National reliance on dwindling reserves of natural gas has led to the government halting all new household connections to the gas grid since 2012, prioritising use by the industrial and commercial sectors. The vast majority of the rural population in Bangladesh therefore, rely on traditional materials (firewood or dried waste material) for their household fuel needs, and only 10% have access to modern fuels such as CNG / LNG canisters. In addition to the economic and health impacts of traditional biomass use vs modern fuels, it has been calculated that population growth has already surpassed the regeneration limit of traditional biomass fuels, leading to increasing environmental impacts. The abundance of waste material obtained from the rural agrarian economy in Bangladesh provides a vast opportunity to develop biogas as a low-cost and more efficient alternative than traditional fuels for the Bangladeshi rural population, and provide off-grid fuel efficiency. On the other hand More than 90% Households in rural bangladesh use firewood and dry cow dung cooking that causes for Respiratory Disease Skin Disease. In almost all rural families who has the cattle farming, women handle animal waste and dump in nearby canals, these are also causes for negative climate impact.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Rural community and particularly marginalised farmers & women

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Our idea is unique because Recently Bangladesh government put some efforts for promoting the use of Biogas as a sustainable fuel source through micro-financing and subsidies for biogas plants, and has installed c.71k across the country since 2014. However, NGO and governmental focus has been on the installation of small-scale biogas plants (20-30 KW), with enough output to provide fuel for one household. Many small-scale farmers in Bangladesh do not have the required space, or enough cattle / poultry to provide the raw feedstock to develop a household biogas facility. Therefore by setti Urban Lights are looking to invest in the development of a large-scale (4.8 MW) biogas facility in Mymensingh to provide compressed bio-gas (CBG) canisters to the surrounding rural population to use as a fuel source instead of traditional biomass fuels. Our CBG projec will source the required waste material from the surrounding farms to process and sell to wholesale retailers at a market-leading price

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Prototype: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Expertise in sector

  • 3-5 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered social enterprise.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

As a women and born in rural areas, i have faced & realised the challange of a women for their day to day unpaid care work as well as challange in women economic empowerment. From the above backdrop i was inspired to find out the solution through my project Urban lights.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Our project is planned to be established in Mymensingh, a thriving division with balanced economic activities. It has an area of 10,485 km² and a population of 11,370,000 as of the 2011 census. More than three million households live in this division. Mymensingh is agriculturally diverse and has immense potential to flourish economically. There is a huge demand of gas and other forms of energy in this division. However due to supply shortage Mymensingh is yet to perform economically according to its merit. Mymensingh division is the home of more than 3 million families which ideally demands nearly 820 million cubic meter gas annually. However, not more than ten percent of these families consumes natural or any other form of gases for household purposes. Many small businesses in city and rural areas are also gas-deprived. The 20 ton plant’s annual supply is only 331,055 cubic meter against 820 million. The demand side is so big that we are very optimistic.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

The following personnel will be my key team player: (1) Shafiqur Rahman Khan- Chief- Business Advisor- Strategy Impact investment, Venture Capital and MSMEs development professional Vast experience & skilled in MSMEs Development. (2) Mr. Iqbal Hossain- Community organiser & erepreneur with having more than 10 years of entrepreneural experience. Education-BSC in environt Science & management.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Cattle farming is one of the vital means of developing sustainable rural livlihood, so by using this waste through effective management, we will be able to produce low cost bio fuel which will helps to contribute in reducing the supply gap of national deficiet energy also. Most importantly it will contributes to combat climate negative change and reduce women health risk.

Geographic Focus

Our project is planned to be established in Mymensingh, a thriving division in Bangladesh

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

Project Tasks Estimated Time Civil Work 2 Months Machine Import 1 Month Engineering Setups 3 Months Local Essential Procurements 1 Month Project-Pilot Test 1 Month Production and Selling Starts On 9th Month

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


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