Zeist, the Netherlands – The Dutch Fund for Climate and Development (DFCD) signed a €349,000 grant funding contract with Mandulis Energy to help create a closed loop of agricultural waste to clean energy to power the company’s agricultural processing facilities in Uganda.
These facilities are currently powered by diesel-generated energy which is highly pollutive. With the support of the DFCD, Mandulis Energy is targeting the Greater Virunga Landscape to establish up to six bioenergy sites for the anaerobic digestion of agricultural waste to generate electricity, biogas and bio-fertilizer.
The clean energy will also supply local mini-grids as well as power the company’s fleet of electric transportation vehicle tuk- tuks which collect the agricultural waste and transport farmers crops.
Winner DFCD Scalable Climate Solutions Challenge in Uganda
Mandulis Energy was put forward by the World Wide Fund for Nature Netherlands, which manages together with SNV Netherlands Development Organisation the DFCD’s Origination Facility to develop new projects for the DFCD, following its participation in the DFCD Scalable Climate Solutions Challenge.
“The company was chosen as the winner for Uganda because they ensured their solution is based on global best practices, but was adapted to benefit smallholders in Uganda,” says Keiron Brand, Regional Lead WWF DFCD Africa.
“Peter Nyeko is a very experienced entrepreneur who knows how to work with the different stakeholders and who has forged strong partnerships with organisations such as Solidaridad, ACTED, USAID Power Africa, Innovate UK, UNHCR and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO).”
Addressing energy poverty
Uganda has one of the lowest electricity consumption rates per inhabitant in Africa, with access to energy even worse for those living in rural communities. Whereas Uganda’s electricity access has reached nearly two thirds of the population in urban areas, in rural areas it is still limited to around one fifth of households only.
Due to this inconsistent supply of energy and electricity, households rely on alternative sources of energy, such as kerosene, firewood, charcoal, kerosene, and diesel. Agribusinesses rely on diesel-fueled generators. The majority of Uganda’s population are rural smallholder farmers, who suffer post-harvest losses and sell crops unprocessed at minimum prices. They cannot afford to process their crops which would allow them to sell at higher prices, because off-grid electricity is expensive and carbon intensive. This perpetuates the vicious cycle of poverty.
Clean cooking fuel to combat household air pollution
Clean cooking fuel and biofertilizer are important by-products that the company will sell to around 60,000 rural smallholder farmer households, who spend significant portions of their budget on charcoal. Women and children can spend up to three hours a day walking to collect firewood for cooking. In Uganda, over 90% of household energy is derived from trees (firewood and charcoal); it’s one of the leading causes of deforestation.
According to the World Health Organization, close to four million people die annually as a result of exposure to soot and smoke from wood burning cook stoves that are still used by more than 2.5 billion people around the globe. The WHO says that these stoves carry a risk of not only lung diseases but also pneumonia, stroke, low birth weight and lung cancers. The most vulnerable populations exposed to this smoke remain the women and children.
Innovative human-wildlife insurance
Another interesting aspect of Mandulis’s business, Brand says, is the innovative human-wildlife conflict insurance it is planning to introduce. This insurance will protect farmers against financial difficulties if their crops are being destroyed by wildlife. This will eliminate the cause for farmers to kill or harm wildlife. If successful, this scheme will be a first of its kind and will pave the way for similar insurance opportunities across the continent.
Mandulis pays the insurance premium for farmers who deliver their destroyed crop residues to be used as biomass feedstock for Mandulis’ bioenergy power plants. The use of destroyed crop residues to generate sustainable energy extracts value from waste that may have otherwise been burnt. This saves carbon emissions, while improving the incomes and livelihoods of farmers who may have lost their harvests.
The Greater Virunga Landscape is a DFCD priority landscape
Mandulis Energy is rolling out its waste-to-energy project in the Greater Virunga Landscape. It is one of the most biodiverse places on earth and features a mosaic of ancient tropical forests, ice-capped mountains, active volcanoes, savannah, swamps, and wetlands. These various physical landscapes provide habitats for essential wildlife populations such as the mountain gorillas and also have immense socio-economic value.
The forested and mountainous nature makes it a transboundary water tower for the entire region, providing millions of people with fresh water for drinking and farming as well as being the highest and most permanent source of the River Nile.
Meanwhile, the large and growing human population depends on the landscape’s rich natural capital. Forest products are a key income source, supplemented by income from both large and small-scale agriculture and fisheries, and increasingly tourism.
The Greater Virunga Landscape was selected as one of the DFCD’s priority landscapes given its natural importance and the pressures on the region. WWF Uganda has been working in the region to understand and address the various risks and pressures on the landscape.
The DFCD grant
The DFCD grant supports Mandulis in the early development phase of the project to help fund legal costs, technical reports including a technical assessment of the project’s carbon saving potential, a supply chain analysis, site selection and the project implementation, including developing a long-term business and investment case.
The waste-to-energy project’s impact is fourfold:
- Access to energy for 150,000 people
- 1 million trees saved annually from being chopped for charcoal
- 60,000 tons of CO2 saved annually
- Considerable reduction in infections from indoor air pollution
- Wildlife saved from being killed thanks to human-wildlife conflict insurance
Keiron Brand, Regional Lead WWF DFCD Africa: “We have been impressed with the technical detail and the impact focus of Mandulis. We are looking forward to supporting them in the next phase.”
Peter Nyeko, Chief Executive Officer Mandulis Energy: “Mandulis delivers affordable, reliable and sustainable energy alongside value-added services such as agro-processing. Our holistic approach to energy access goes beyond electrons to tackle poverty and hunger, while delivering climate resilience. Increasing incomes of smallholder farming communities through access to affordable energy for value addition, enhances their quality of life, and helps rural economies develop and blossom.”
For more information, Keiron Brand, Regional Lead DFCD Africa at firstname.lastname@example.org
In case you have any grievances in relation to this project of the DFCD’s Origination Facility, please contact us through our service desk at email@example.com within thirty days from the date of this announcement.
About the DFCD
The DFCD enables private sector investment in projects aimed at climate adaptation and mitigation in developing countries. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has made available € 160 million to increase the resilience of communities and ecosystems most vulnerable to climate change. The DFCD is managed by a pioneering consortium of Climate Fund Managers (CFM), Worldwide Fund for Nature Netherlands (WWF-NL) and SNV, led by the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank, FMO.
About Mandulis Energy
Mandulis Energy develops off-grid and on-grid renewable energy infrastructure to bring affordable, low carbon electricity to farming communities across Africa. Wider impacts on the community, include improving health and education, and local economic growth. Headquartered in the UK, Mandulis is developing multiple projects across Uganda and Africa, and has completed several pilot projects similar to the Ugandan waste-to-energy project which is named BePEARL. The company was founded by Ugandan innovator siblings Elizabeth and Peter Nyeko