About 700 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa still rely on dirty cooking fuels such as charcoal and wood produced through deforestation for their cooking. These dirty fuels also lead to respiratory problems leading to millions of deaths through indoor air pollution.
This has led to continued calls for the use of cleaner fuels to decrease local air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. One startup is going a step further by trying to make clean fuel available and affordable to households.
Koko Networks is the market-leading technology platform enabling the use of bioethanol cooking fuel to spread rapidly in Kenya thus undercutting use of dirty fuels.
An international technology company, the company is based in India and was launched in Kenya this year. With a drive to mainstream bioethanol cooking fuel in Kenya, the company provides KOKO Fuel, a clean and affordable liquid ethanol cooking fuel solution.
Users can buy as little as KSH35 (N125) worth of KOKO Fuel. The spread of the cleaner fuel means Kenyans now have a cheaper alternative to kerosene and charcoals whose prices are ever-increasing.
KOKO Fuel is delivered in partnership with Vivo Energy Kenya. This fuel is dispensed into a smart canister and docked into a high-powered 2-burner ethanol stove called KOKO cooker.
The KOKO Cooker is sold for KSH 7000 (N25,000). KOKO also allows customers to pay in installments (KSH 500, 1000, 1500).
Interestingly, the KOKO Fuel smart canisters can be refilled through its KOKOpoint Smart Fuel ATMs. This helps the company save costs as it removes the need for a centralized bottling facility and disposable plastic bottles.
Users would only need to take the canisters to the KOKOpoint closest to them and the fuel they have pre-purchased via M-PESA would be dispensed to them.
Currently, the company has a network of 700 KOKOpoints across the city of Nairobi.
The KOKOpoints are also IoT-enabled and cloud-connected. They send real-time “heartbeat” to a high-tech Network Operations Centre, where the technical and operational health of the points are monitored. They also serve as pick up points for the KOKO Cookers.
With over 500 staff in Kenya and India, KOKO Fuel is looking at expanding its networks and reach more urban consumers in sub-Saharan Africa.
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