Inyenyeri’s signature product is an efficient biomass cook stove fueled by wood-pellets. Stoves are provided free-of-charge in exchange for a contract to purchase locally made wood-pellet fuel. Customers receive free lifetime repairs and upgrades on their stoves. Using Inyenyeri reduces women’s exposure to toxic emissions by 98% and reduces the amount of biomass needed to cook meals by up to 90%. Urban customers who switch from using charcoal save 30% compared. Rural customers who previously collected wood spend 30 less hours a month collecting fuel. Rural customers also get a free solar panel to charge the stove’s fan battery, which can then be used to charge mobile phones and lights at no extra cost. The company was recently featured in a front page story in the New York Times.
Inyenyeri’s Fuel+Stove utilizes an economically viable and scalable model in which individuals receive the stove free of charge in exchange for an agreement to purchase the company’s wood pellet fuel. In doing so families are able to reduce time spent searching for fuel while also lowering their costs compared to charcoal. Since its inception in 2011, the company has expanded its operations to six locations within Rwanda. They were recently highlighted in IFC’s report: Private Sector & Refugees: Pathways to Scale.
Potential refugee impact
In 2016, Inyenyeri opened a shop inside Kigeme refugee camp, providing their stoves for free while allowing customers to purchase the company’s wood-pellets at a cost significantly lower than established prices for charcoal, via an unrestricted cash transfer from UNHCR. The program is so popular, 99% of all customers use their entire cash transfer to buy stove fuel. Inyenyeri’s Fuel+Stove is being rolled out across Kigeme refugee camp, where it will soon completely eliminate the use of fuelwood and charcoal. To date, 30 high paying jobs with benefits have been created for refugees through the Kigeme project, while serving 15,000 customers. For more information on Inyenyeri’s work in the Kigeme refugee camp read UNHCR’s post here. They are currently exploring expansion into additional refugee concentrated areas.
Inyenyeri is a US-based sustainable energy enterprise with operations in Rwanda.