Icelandic group investigates using geothermal energy to dry tea in Kenya

Collecting tea in Kenya (Source: flickr/ Shared Interest, creative commons)

Icelandic companies Intellecon and BBA // Fjeldco have partnered with Kenya’s Geothermal Development Company (GDC) to secure a grant to explore the use of geothermal energy to dry tea in Kenya.

With support from the Icelandic Foreign Ministry’s Sustainable Development Goals Partnership Fund, consultancy Intellecon and law firm BBA//Fjeldco will explore the possibility of using geothermal energy to dry tea in Kenya. The project is being carried out in partnership with Kenyan partners Geothermal Development Company and Rosekey Foods. On March 12, 2022, an agreement was signed for funding from the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Sustainable Development Goals Partnership Fund.

Tea production is a very important, albeit polluting, industry in Kenya. The use of geothermal energy can have a very positive impact on food security and the environmental impact of industry. The project supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular goal eight on decent work and economic growth, goal twelve on responsible consumption and production and goal thirteen on climate protection. The project has the potential to significantly reduce Kenya’s CO2 emissions. In 2002, an estimated 155,000 tonnes of wood was burned in Kenya to dry tea and other foods. About 1.8 tons of CO2 are released for each ton of wood burned. In 2002, an estimated 300,000 tons of CO2 were released into the atmosphere in Kenya to dry food. It is clear that significant amounts of CO2 emissions can be avoided by replacing wood burning with geothermal energy.

The project is a partnership between the consulting firm Intellecon and the law firm BBA//Fjeldco. Both companies have extensive and growing experience in geothermal and other sustainable energy projects in developing countries. If the project is successful, it is hoped that further opportunities for job creation and economic development in Kenya could follow, along the lines of developing cooperation in energy and food production.

The Sustainable Development Goals Partnership Fund supports Icelandic private companies that want to work towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by establishing partnerships in developing countries. By participating, private sector companies can support increased economic activity in developing countries and improve their own competitiveness in emerging markets. The next application deadline for the fund is May 3rd. For more information, visit www.mfa.is/sdgfund.

Source: Government of Iceland

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