Category Archives: Awards

Posts about awards Project Gaia has won should be in both this category AND News.

Gaia named one of Africa’s top projects for 2009

Alternative Energy Africa magazine took reader nominations for the best African renewable energy projects for the past year. The year 2009 saw the continent gaining momentum in the sector and many large-scale projects were announced or moved forward. Here we highlight a few of the lesser known, smaller projects that had a tangible impact.

Project Gaia, Ethiopia

While more than 90% of Ethiopia depends on biomass for household energy supplies, Project Gaia launched a pilot testing of the CleanCook stove in the east African country in 2004. The pilot study introduced 850 CleanCook stoves and ethanol for testing in various sites around Ethiopia, including private households of varying income levels in Addis baba, UNCHR refugee camps, and other institutional settings.

The project is attempting to harness the wasted or underutilized biomass and hydrocarbon resources and direct these into alcohol production for daily household use such as cooking. The CleanCook stove decreases carbon emissions while being fueled by methanol or ethanol without producing soot, outperforming the kerosene wick stove. Those producing in the pilot project have reported a decrease in symptoms from asthma, burning and itching eyes, irritated nose and throat, and coughing previous brought on by pollutants emitted by traditional stoves.

Between December 2008 and November 2009, Gaia moved from the research phase of the project to the implementation phase, rapidly scaling up stove production in Kebribeyah and Awbarre Somali refugee camps. During this year, Gaia reached full family coverage in the Kebribeyah camp and partial family coverage (40%) in Awbarre camp. A total of 2,550 stoves were in use in the refugee camps. In Addis Ababa, a 150-stove pilot study was carried out to determine the acceptability of ethanol as a cooking fuel for families living in low-income condominium housing while also creating an estimated 50 new jobs for the local market.

Gaia Association’s projects are two-pronged including commercializations—working with a local business partner to commercialize the stoves and ethanol fuel in the local market—and humanitarian assistance. Funding of the projects came from a variety of other sources like its sister organization, Project Gaia, Inc., the Lutheran World Federation, and individual donations. The organization also receives grant money awards by Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy (2008), Energy Globe Award (March 2009), and USEPA Commercialization Grant for Addis Ababa projects.

In the future, Project Gaia hopes to expand into utilizing alcohol production for refrigeration, heating, lighting, and generating electricity. Currently, Project Gaia is using a microdistillery concept in Ethiopia and Nigeria. In addition, pilot studies are also being conducted in various refugee camps within Ethiopia (Eritrean, Somali, and Sudanese refugees). Other pilot tests have been conducted in Brazil, South Africa and Malawi, and there is currently and ongoing study in Madagascar.

—Alternative Energy Africa Magazine
March / April, 2010

Project Gaia Wins a 2010 Sustainable Biofuels Award

On March 16, Project Gaia won the 2010 Sustainable Biofuels Award for Adoption at the World Biofuels Markets Conference in Amsterdam.  In the past, this award has been given to government, a municipal vehicle fleet or a new user who has made the switch to biofuels. Project Gaia was given the award in recognition of the significant new market that cooking fuel represents for bioethanol.

Over 3 billion people around the world are dependent on solid fuels, which produce smoke and toxic gases when they burn and contribute to 2 million deaths a year and high rates of respiratory disease, especially among women and children. Over and over again, it has been shown that even the poorest consumers desire to switch to cleaner and more convenient fuel. As a result, cooking represents a major new market for biofuels and one that could potentially dwarf the vehicle fuel market.

The Sustainable Biofuels Awards are sponsored each year by Green Power Conferences (Green Thinking Ltd.). Established in 2003, Green Power was the first to organize events for the biofuels and sustainability industry.  It is the leading convener of such events.

The Sustainable Biofuels Awards recognize the ingenuity and innovation of organizations that use biofuels to promote sustainability. Project Gaia Inc. is pioneering an efficient, powerful and safe ethanol stove made by Dometic AB to replace the use of fuelwood, charcoal, dung, and expensive, usually imported petroleum fuels.  The judging panel for the awards was comprised of ten judges: Raffaello Garofalo, Secretary General of EBB; Rob Vierhout, Secretary General of Ebio, Ausilio Bauen, Director of E4 Tech, Jonathan Kingsman, CEO of Kingsman, Kevin McGeeney, CEO of Starsupply Renewables, Marcos Sawaya Jank, CEO of UNICA, Graeme Wallace, Director General of EFOA, Jim Lane, Editor of Biofuels Digest, Suzanne Hunt, Principal of Hunt Green LLC, and Prof. Dr. Andre P.C. Faaij of the Copernicus Institute.

Mr. Boma Anga of Cassava Agro Industries, Nigeria, and Meghan Sapp of PANGEA accepted the award on Project Gaia’s behalf.  Boma Anga leads the National “Bio-Kero” Project, which matches micro distilleries with CleanCook stoves and other appliances to enable SMEs to produce ethanol for sale directly to a market created by placing ethanol-powered appliances in the community around the distillery. This provides a distributed energy system where clean, liquid biofuels are produced and consumed in the community. The project’s ultimate goal is to make household energy affordable, available, and accessible for all Nigerians.

Meghan Sapp is Secretary General of PANGEA (Partners for Euro-African Green Energy), a nonprofit membership organization based in Brussels, Belgium, which promotes sustainable African bioenergy production, investment, and policy development. Project Gaia is a member of PANGEA.

For more information, visit

Gaia Association wins green award for clean ethanol stove

Tonight, the world’s leading green energy prize awarded £20,000 for a pioneering sustainable energy project to the Gaia Association, an organization working with the UNHCR in the Kebribeyah refugee camp near Ethiopia’s border with Somalia. The Ashden Awards prize was presented to Milkyas Debebe, Managing Director of the Gaia Association, by Kenyan Nobel Prize laureate Wangari Maathai.

The Gaia Association in Ethiopia is transforming the lives of refugees by distributing stoves that use ethanol fuel, a by-product of the sugar industry. The area around the Kebribiyah camp, home to 17,000 Somalian refugees, has suffered severe deforestation and women were always in danger of attack when they went out to collect fuel wood. The new stoves are healthier and more efficient, and families can avoid using wood altogether. Now Ethiopian manufacturers are producing the stoves locally. “I gave my stove to my daughter when she got married, so she wouldn’t have to face the dangers of going out to gather firewood,” said one member of the Refugee Women’s Committee.

Sarah Butler-Sloss, founder and chair of the Ashden Awards said, “Our judges were enormously impressed with the enthusiasm for the stoves among refugee women. Not only did the stoves prevent wood collection, with its associated dangers and environmental impacts, they were also much safer, quicker and more pleasant to use, in particular avoiding the risk of respiratory and eye diseases from smoke inhalation.”

Accepting the Ashden Award on behalf of Gaia Association, Debebe remarked, “The Ethiopian people, especially women and children and our growing refugee population, suffer increasingly from poor energy choices and energy poverty. Gaia is pioneering ethanol stoves and fuel, using Ethiopia’s natural resources. With support from the UNHCR and the Ethiopian government, we are helping both Ethiopians and refugees. This Award will help us to reach more people in need.

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, Patron of The Ashden Awards, personally congratulated this year’s award winners at a separate meeting. “The Prince of Wales was deeply encouraged to learn of the solutions demonstrated by the Ashden Awards that can reduce our dependency on a carbon economy. His Royal Highness was particularly impressed by the local sustainable energy initiatives recognised and promoted by the Awards, which not only meet the needs of communities, but tackle climate change and further sustainable development,” said a Clarence House spokesperson.

For further information on the 2008 Ashden Awards international finalists (including case studies) and to schedule interviews, contact Ilana Cravitz, International Press Officer: T +44 (0) 20 8985 3724; M +44 (0) 782 551 0881; E

Notes to editors:
1. The Ashden Awards are a UK-based charity working to increase the use of local sustainable energy worldwide. They find, reward and publicise the work of leading sustainable energy programmes working across the developing world and in the UK. Further information, including details on past winners, funders and supporters, can be found at
2. Five other international schemes were awarded £20,000 each on 19 June by the UK-based Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy, to promote replication and expansion of renewable energy projects. Technology Informatics Design Endeavour (India) was awarded the title of Energy Champion, and Bangladeshi solar programme Grameen Shakti won this year’s Outstanding Achievement Award.
3. The UNHCR, Gaia Association and other NGOs including the International Rescue Committee and the Lutheran World Federation jointly fund the stove and ethanol programmes in the refugee camps. Funding has also been provided by the US EPA and Shell Foundation. A key partner is the Ethiopian Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs.
4. The CleanCook stove, developed in Sweden for the leisure market and manufactured by Swedish company Dometic, uses an innovative non-pressurised canister in which ethanol is adsorbed onto mineral fibre and so does not spill. Stoves are now also being manufactured locally.
5. A study showed that a stove could replace all the largely-unsustainable firewood used by families in Kebribeyah refugee camp (average 3.7 tonnes/year per family), equivalent to about 6.2 tonnes/year of CO2 emissions.
6. At the end of May 2008, Gaia Association had also supplied 50 stoves to households in Addis Ababa. It also had 3,300 stoves on order: 800 for Teferi Ber camp (where initial training in using the stoves has started); 2,000 stoves for a government housing development; and 500 for a Catholic social housing programme.
7. The call for entries for the 2009 Ashden Awards opens on 19 June 2008. Expressions of interest for the international Awards should be received by 21 October 2008. Details and application forms are available at
8. New research commissioned by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) looked in detail at some previous Ashden Award-winning programmes. It shows that these programmes can achieve significant scale and deliver significant benefits for people and the environment; the ten surveyed programmes are serving 9 million people across Africa and Asia, and saving 1.9 million tonnes of CO2 this year (equivalent to the total domestic emissions of more than 700,000 UK citizens). Read the report at

Ashden announces 2008 global green awards finalists

Today the world’s leading green energy prize announced that pioneering renewable energy projects from Africa, Asia, and Latin America will each receive prizes of up to £20,000, with an overall Energy Champion winning up to £40,000. Winners will be revealed at a ceremony in London in June.

Worldwide, two billion people still have no access to modern forms of energy. Every year 1.6 million women and children are dying from respiratory diseases because they are cooking over open fires. The finalists’ efforts highlight how simple design innovation, commitment, and relatively small financial outlay can bring huge benefits to large numbers of people in terms of health, education, social welfare, and finance. The projects recognised and rewarded this year—which include small and large scale solar, mini hydro power schemes, and fuel-efficient stoves running off waste products—transform lives and reduce poverty in their communities.

Among the seven international finalists is the Gaia Association of Ethiopia, for providing clean, safe ethanol stoves for refugee homes. The Kebribeyah refugee camp is home to 17,000 people who have fled conflict in bordering Somalia. Refugees in Ethiopia, as in many countries, rely on fuelwood for cooking. Women who spend long hours collecting fuelwood outside refugee camps are frequently attacked, and there is extensive deforestation. The Gaia Association has provided ethanol-fuelled stoves to 1,780 refugee families, enabling clean, comfortable cooking and preventing wood use. The ethanol is produced from locally-available molasses, a sugar by-product which previously caused pollution. The Gaia Association is starting to supply stoves and ethanol for other refugee camps and also for new housing developments in Addis Ababa, and a local factory is producing the stoves. (News from HEDON Household Energy)

Project Gaia wins indoor air pollution (IAP) award

The award was given in recognition of Project Gaia’s dedication, commitment, and investment in demonstrating the impact of household energy interventions and in improving peoples’ health, livelihood, and quality of life by reducing IAP.

At its third Biennial Forum, held March 20–23, 2007, in Bangalore, India, the Partnership for Clean Indoor Air (PCIA) bestowed upon Project Gaia the Indoor Air Pollution Monitoring and Evaluation Award. Given in both recognition and appreciation of Project Gaia’s dedication, commitment and investment in not only demonstrating the impact of household energy interventions, but in improving peoples’ health, livelihood and quality of life by reducing IAP, the award acknowledges more than two years’ work in scientifically capturing the effect of the introduction of ethanol for household use. Milkyas Debebe, Managing Director, received the award on behalf of Project Gaia.

Specifically, Project Gaia has been analyzing emissions both prior to and during the introduction of the CleanCook stove, a clean-burning ethanol-based stove; testing has occurred in households in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa as well as in homes within various United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) refugee camps. Acquiring data on carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter (PM), over 100 samples to date have been collected and analyzed with the assistance of the Center for Entrepreneurship in International Health and Development (CEIHD); the results have been quite impressive.

For example, for households in Addis Ababa, which are primarily dependent on kerosene and charcoal, average PM2.5 levels (a measure of the twenty particles which get into the lungs) over a 48-hour period fell by an average of 72.9%, while the average maximum dropped by 41.56%. Average carbon monoxide concentrations over the 48-hour monitoring period also fell by roughly the same percentage to those of PM2.5—70.40%. Results from the refugee camps, where the primary fuel is fuelwood, have been similarly significant. (News from HEDON Household Energy)