The World Bioenergy team interviewed PGI Executive Director Harry Stokes in January 2014 to follow up on his 2012 win of the Award for his decades of global household energy work. The dedicated work of Harry Stokes and PGI serve today as a model for future World Bioenergy Award nominees.
Read about Project Gaia’s recent projects and mission for increasing global access to clean cooking energy below!
World Bioenergy 31 January, 2014
The World Bioenergy Award – the greatest acknowledgement for great work in the field of bioenergy
Every World Bioenergy has a certain important winner – the winner of the World Bioenergy Award. The acknowledgment is given to someone who has made a difference in the world of bioenergy and the last day for submission of nominations is 7 March. The winner of the World Bioenergy Award 2012 was Mr. Harry Stokes, USA, for his revolutionary global work in developing and promoting clean ethanol stoves and fuels for people who are still constrained to cook with dirty, smoky fuel.
The award meant a lot for Harry Stokes and for his team.
“The award has provided us with a boost, or moral support, for what we do. It is nice to be recognized for what we do. But the work continues unabated and only hard work can change the way in which the world uses energy”, says Harry Stokes.
Harry Stokes has been working on bioenergy solutions for many years and, with others, developed, funded and managed Project Gaia to improve the health, economic status and quality of life of a significant number of families in the developing world. It’s a global initiative that promotes alcohol fuel and appropriate technologies for production and end use, for cooking and other household appliances, with the vision of clean, efficient, affordable and safe cooking for homes in Africa and around the world. It gives the opportunity to move away from dependence on perennially scarce firewood, charcoal, dung, twigs, grass and similar fuels.
Project Gaia has developed further since the award. During the 2012-2013 years the project has strengthened the ties with experts in micro distillation and the equipment for micro distilleries and continued to explore the potential for global trade in ethanol not only for fuel blending in gasoline for motor fuel, but also for cooking fuel.
“Since the prevailing cost of ethanol for fuel blending is similar to or less than the cost of cooking fuels in most developing world markets, particularly urban markets, we think the time is here when Brazilian or U.S. or Indian ethanol can actually be sold for cooking fuel cheaper than the cost of purchased fuel wood, charcoal or kerosene, which are all very dirty fuels. Imagine what this could mean for the global trade of biofuels; this trade could literally double in size. The demand for cooking fuels in developing markets is larger than the demand for gasoline”, says Harry Stokes.
Program in refugee camp
Project Gaia has also been working to start commercial stove businesses with both local and international partners in various countries – Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Senegal, the ECOWAS countries, Haiti, etc.
“We continue to operate our award-winning ethanol cookstove program in refugee camps in Ethiopia, which enables refugees to cook their meals without having to leave the safety of the camp to go and gather wood. In Addis Ababa, we are building an advanced micro distillery with the help of the Nordic Climate Fund, Stockholm Environment and the World Bank, and we are fostering the construction of six micro distilleries in Nigeria to make ethanol from cassava”, says Harry Stokes.
In Nigeria Project Gaia works to promote the manufacture of methanol from natural gas and in Haiti they work with a local partner to build a micro distillery to produce stove fuel. The 5 000 liter per day plant will displace the use of 15 000 to 20 000 kilograms of charcoal per day and save 40 000 tons of CO2-equivalent per year.
“We have also been working with our Swedish stove partner, Dometic AB, in their effort to build even better, cheaper models of the CleanCook stove. And we continue our outreach to teach about the opportunities that clean-burning alcohol fuels offer the world. For example, we conducted a seminar in Madagascar with the country’s leading environmental NGO, Tany Meva, in December 2012 to help teach local farmers and business people about the opportunities created by alcohol fuels”, says Harry Stokes.
Perfect technology for other liquid fuels
And even more new fuel projects are ahead for Project Gaia.
“We have been exploring stove technologies that can burn other liquid fuels very cleanly, for example biooils and biodiesel, as well as used cooking oils and used motor oils. We have found the perfect technology to burn these fuels, and to burn them very cleanly”, says Harry Stokes.
Harry Stokes thinks the world soon will be aware of the need for more bioenergy solutions.
“One day the world is all of a sudden going to wake up to the harsh reality of climate change, and then the work of the World Bioenergy Association and the work we do as advocates for particular bioenergy solutions is going to become important and compelling. Nations will seize upon the solutions we have been arduously and assiduously preparing for them. The trouble is, they will want the solutions to be ready all at once. It would be very nice to get more commitment from governments and investors now, so that we have a bit more time to bring the bioenergy solutions to scale. The world is going to be desperately looking for low carbon energy solutions — and we have them. We must have faith that the world will finally move in our direction”, says Harry Stokes.
Individual award for good future
Many good deeds are being done in the field of bioenergy around the world and many of them deserve to be appreciated and showcased as good examples, like Harry Stokes and his Gaia Project. The World Bioenergy Award is intended to serve as an inspiration to professionals in that field. Now we are looking forward to see a lot of nominees, individuals like Harry Stokes who can work in winning ways for bioenergy and a good future for the world.
Individuals in the field of science, business or politic, regardless of where in the world they are active, are welcome as nominees, and anyone can nominate a candidate. The final winner will be announced on 1 June 2014 at the opening session of the World Bioenergy conference and exhibition at Elmia in Jönköping, Sweden. Last day for submission of nomination for The World Bioenergy Award is 7 March.
The World Bioenergy Award 2014 is a collaboration between Elmia (www.worldbioenergy.com) and World Bioenergy Assosiation (www.worldbioenergy.org)
Read more about The World Bioenergy Award and the submission of nominations here: