Kenyan Farm Foments Fossil Free Fertilizer

Yes, fertilizers exist that don’t make use of fossil fuels; however, the use of petoreluaem based fertilizers have become a mainstay of modern industrial agriculture. This use of fossil fuels for fertilizer has led to the agriculture sector’s carbon footprint being as large as it is. The transportation of the fuel then as a fertilizer leads to large bills and emissions. Now, a farm in Kenya has started producing fertilizer using solar power. The process uses water to create hydrogen which then gets some nitrogen to form liquid ammonia, a key fertilizer.

Green ammonia, made from water using clean power, promises to curb the climate impact of fertilizer. If produced on site, it could have the added benefit of insulating growers from supply shocks.

“The average bag of fertilizer in sub-Saharan Africa travels 10,000 kilometers,” Talus founder Hiro Iwanaga told Bloomberg. With a small green ammonia plant, like the one coming online in Kenya, “you can locally produce a critical raw material, carbon free

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A Kenyan Factory Turns Plastic Waste into Bricks

Nzambi Matee got tired of waiting for a solution to all the plastic waste she saw, so she created a company to deal with it. The material engineer opened a factory in Kenya where they turn plastics which can’t be recycled (with traditional methods) into bricks. She designed a concoction of hard plastics and sand to create a solid brick which has a comparable price to stone bricks. This is a neat solution to a global problem, her one factory has processed 20 tones of plastics since 2017!

“Our product is almost five to seven times stronger than concrete,” said Matee, the founder of Nairobi-based Gjenge Makers, which transforms plastic waste into durable building materials.

“There is that waste they cannot process anymore; they cannot recycle. That is what we get,” Matee said, strolling past sacks of plastic waste.

Matee gets the waste from packaging factories for free, although she pays for the plastic she gets from other recyclers.

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No Strings Attached: Giving Cash to Poor People

GiveDirectly is a charity that just gives money to poor people in Kenya. There isn’t anything complicated about the idea: it’s just straight up handing out cash with no deliverables. The NPR recently investigated the operation.

Planet Money reporters David Kestenbaum and Jacob Goldstein went to Kenya to see the work of a charity called GiveDirectly in action. Instead of funding schools or wells or livestock, GiveDirectly has decided to just give money directly to the poor people who need it, and let them decide how to spend it. David and Jacob explain whether this method of charity works, and why some people think it’s a terrible idea. (28 minutes)

Listen to it here.

A New Stove Project Looks to Crowdsource Healthier Heating

Regular readers of this site may know that we are fans of efficient stoves. The Kenya Stove is a new project to get efficient stoves in the hands of Kenyans. Erin, from Kenya Stove writes:

First some bad news: More than 3 billion people rely on traditional cookstoves for cooking in the developing world. Exposure to smoke from inefficient cookstoves and open-fire cooking practices contributes to the burden of pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, and other diseases and results in an estimated two million deaths worldwide per year.

Now the good news: We plan to pilot a novel gasifying wood stove and fuel project in Kenya in the coming months. The stove emits little smoke, is durable and can be made at low cost with materials locally available in Kenya by Kenyan artisans thus creating jobs. Additionally we have selected mesquite, an invasive species in Kenya, to be used as the fuel source and therefore not impact indigenous forests through deforestation for wood fuel or charcoal-making. We anticipate our project will improve the health of families by reducing exposure to smoke, provide a lower cost fuel for cooking, and reduce the environmental impact caused by charcoal-making and the emissions from inefficient stoves.

Help fund their initiative here.

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