Technology and Science
Kenya-based businesses receive global recognition for cleantech success
Cleantech companies BURN Manufacturing and SteamaCo, both operating in Kenya, have been announced today (11 June) as winners of this year’s Ashden International Awards, the world’s leading green energy awards. The Awards were presented at a ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society in London.
SteamaCo wins the Ashden International Gold Award as well as the Ashden Award for Business Innovation, supported by Citi.
SteamaCo has developed software and hardware that enables micro grids powered by renewable energy to be controlled remotely. For the first time, some of Kenya’s remotest villages are benefitting from enough electricity to power lights, charge mobile phones and allow small businesses to start up. And SteamaCo’s innovative system means that people can pay with their mobile phones, with any problems quickly identified so people aren’t left without energy.
Said Harrison Leaf, SteamaCo CEO: “With SteamaCo’s technology, 1,000 homes and businesses in remotest Africa and Asia now access utility services more advanced than you can find in most OECD cities. As vital as the off-grid industry is to the world’s 1.6bn unconnected people, it exists off the beaten track – geographically and economically – the Ashden Awards are a fantastic opportunity to shine a considered light on energy access.
“We are particularly proud to have won the Award for Innovation as we believe financing for distributed power infrastructure is key to the world’s movement towards a more intelligent and more equitable energy system.”
The Ashden judging panel commented on SteamaCo: “SteamaCo is changing the game in enabling clean power to reach off-grid communities through its innovative hardware and cloud-based software. This allows micro-grids to be monitored remotely and payments to be tracked, unlocking one of the key barriers to making them investable.”
Now in their 15th year, the Ashden Awards celebrate pioneering businesses and organisations that are helping tackle climate change and transforming people’s lives.
BURN Manufacturing won the Ashden Award for Clean Energy for Women and Girls, supported by UK aid. It has created a technically advanced stove that halves fuel use compared to commonly used Jiko stoves, improving air quality in the home and reducing deforestation. It has created an aspirational product and an affordable payment system that people trust. BURN is also creating more jobs for women, who make up around half of the company’s workforce. All manufacturing takes place in its new state-of-the-art factory in Ruiru, close to Nairobi. Burn wins funding of £20,000.
Said Boston Nyer, Chief Product Officer at BURN Manufacturing: “BURN is honoured to be recognised by Ashden for our work in revolutionising the clean cookstoves sector in Kenya. This award will support local R&D for new products and allow us to work towards our goal of making 3 million cookstoves over the next 10 years.”
Said the Ashden judging panel about BURN: “BURN must be commended not for just producing a great charcoal stove that saves women time and money, but also employing women in significant numbers, enabling them to increase their economic independence and improve their position in society.”
SteamaCo wins £40,000 and BURN wins £20,000. Both will also receive tailored support to help them expand their businesses.
A total of 11 Ashden Awards were presented this evening. The keynote speech was made by Kandeh Yumkella, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All.