Rwanda: Inyenyeri

Country: Rwanda
Type: Cooking fuel utility company 
Technology: Biomass fuel pellets for clean cooking
Business model: dual: barter and commercial 

Inyenyeri is an innovative Rwandan cooking fuel utility company. The company uses an unconventional approach to one of the greatest unsolved riddles of development: coming up with a sc alable, truly clean and environmentally-sustainable cookstove business. To make the challenge even greater, Inyenyeri seeks to leave no one behind, even the cashless rural poor. 

Inyenyeri sells, on a commercial basis, biomass fuel pellets (BFPs) at a price competitive with or below the cost of charcoal to households in Rwanda. Alongside this, the company aims to lease or distribute for free about 345,000 clean cookstoves (of clean Tier 4 quality) to approximately 188,000 Rwandan families to generate demand for its BFPs. It will collect sustainably-sourced raw biomass from rural households to manufacture the BFPs, which it will sell to urban and peri-urban households that currently purchase charcoal.

On June 8, 2017, Ci-Dev signed an emissions reduction purchase agreement (ERPA) with Inyenyeri for the purchase of up to 1 million certified emission reductions (CERs) to be generated through end 2023. This commiment has significantly reduced investment risks for potential private sector financiers. This security catalyzed an initial €8 million in the form of loan facility from private investor Althelia Ecosphere, which provided Inyenyeri the means to scale up. Later, the IKEA Foundation provided a €3M grant to fund a portion of core operations over three years. Inyenyeri’s customer base more than doubled in number of households served since the Ci-Dev contract was signed, and a new pellet factory will let them reach 25,000 households by the end of 2019.

In December 2018, the Clean Development Mechanisms Program of Activities (CDM POA) for this initiative was formally approved, making Inyenyeri the first entity to certify pellet fuel sales as a validated proxy for avoided CO2e emissions.

Inyenyeri in the news: 

Jan 2019 World Bank feature story: Beyond Charcoal: How One Company Helps Rwandan Families Save their Health and the Environment, One Cookstove at a Time

Dec 2018 The New York Times: Toxic Smoke Is Africa’s Quiet Killer. An Entrepreneur Says His Fix Can Make a Fortune

Oct 2017 Inyenyeri: A Bold Plan for Clean Cookstoves