Waste as fuel for a Smart Village
The innovative KubeKo box is the engine of the Smart Village, giving rural communities access to fertilizer, cooking gas and electricity.
Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)
Poverty in rural areas in Côte d'Ivoire is higher than in urban areas. Communities that are depending on income from agriculture, deal with low agricultural yields due to nutrient deficits. In addition, women often cook (indoors) with charcoal or wood, which causes significant health threats. Finally, the lack of access to electricity prevents families and communities to benefit from a range of advantages, including the use of lights at night, mobile phones and irrigation systems. Our project creates a Smart Village, which is based on an innovative, highly efficient anaerobic digester that converts organic waste into liquid fertilizer and into biogas for cooking. In addition, the installation of a biogas generator allows the system to produce electricity as well. Currently a small scale Smart Village is being implemented, where a biogas grid of 4 stoves is connected and a generator producing 10 kWh per day. With the BridgeBuilder Challenge, we would like to implement the first full scale Smart Village, where 30 households are connected to a mini grid and therefore receive clean cooking gas and electricity.
Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)
Our beneficiaries are households in rural areas in Côte d'Ivoire, that are dependent on income from agriculture or animal farming. Specifically women will benefit from this project since they face the biggest health threats using unsafe cooking methods and this project offers them a clean cooking alternative.
How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)
The KubeKo digester, used as the 'engine' in the Smart Village, has an innovative and unique multistage design. This design makes the digestion process more efficient and therefore more fertilizer and gas is produced in a shorter amount of time. Recently, the KubeKo has been nominated as one of the twelve most innovative solutions of Viva Technology in Paris, France (https://vivatechnology.com/hall-of-tech/). With this design, the Smart Village can eventually be commercially viable, which makes the system independent of aid, charity, governmental support or NGO's.
Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)
Pilot: I have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users.
Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)
LONO is a social enterprise that valorizes organic waste into products of value for communities or customers. We adapt developments in biotechnology to the local context of rural Côte d'Ivoire in order for communities to benefit from global innovation. For this reason, our slogan is 'biotechnology for rural development. https://lonoci.com/fr/
Organization Filing Status
Yes, we are a registered company.
In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.
LONO is a social enterprise with the mission to reduce poverty by valorizing waste. We build the organization based on the believe that some of the mayor problems in Côte d’Ivoire and the West-African region - namely sanitation, relatively low agricultural yields, no access to electricity in rural areas, unclean cooking - can be solved through valorizing a product that is currently left for waste; biomass.
Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).
The planet has been impacted by agricultural practices in Côte d'Ivoire. By removing nutrients through harvest and insufficient replacement by fertilizer or compost application, the soil impoverishes. Besides, the lack of sanitation does not only harm the planet but also wastes an opportunity for a positive contribution to the soil. Finally, cooking practices of women in those areas, not only contribute to air pollution but also to deforestation by using wood as their main resource. Prosperity has been impacted by the lack of access to electricity, the high fertilizer prices and the lack of clean cooking options which forces mainly women to cook in unhealthy manners. Our project aims to contribute on all these aspects by proving a way to convert waste into fertilizer, biogas for cooking, and biogas for electricity production.
Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)
The last 10 months, LONO has developed a digester that is more efficient and compact than other digesters due to its multistage design. We call this digester the KubeKo. The KubeKo has been tested extensively within communities, as well as the fertilizer and biogas produced by it. Currently a small scale Smart Village is being implemented, where a biogas grid of 4 stoves is connected and a generator producing 10 kWh per day. We work closely with the community of the town Affery, the regional council and an NGO that was already active in this region. In addition, the system includes an incentive for people to use clean cooking gas instead of other cheap but unhealthy alternatives by giving giving a significant discount on the biogas for cooking to households and individuals that provide us with their organic waste. For the large scale Smart Village we aim to work in the same manner; engaging communities, local government and other relevant parties to ensure the best results.
Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)
The community has sufficient biomass available and is open to valorize this waste in an innovative way. Some small scale waste projects have already been done by the community itself, which shows the willingness and eager of the community to work on this subject. This community has also requested us to work on the first small scale Smart Village, which allows us to further optimize the system and to cooperate with the community. The full scale Smart Village will therefore be a logical next step.
Rural areas in Côte d'Ivoire, starting in Affery.
How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)
A Smart Village can be implemented within 12 months. The Smart Village can be replicated in other rural areas in Côte d'Ivoire as well.
Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)