Entrepreneur Turns Invasive Plant Into Cooking Fuel


| LAST UPDATE 10/17/2021

By Eliza Gray
Plant turned into energy
Gerald Herbert/AP/Shutterstock

Dominic Wankihia Kahumbu, founder and CEO of Biogas International Limited, has found a way to create clean energy out of invasive plant species. Much of his work is done on Lake Victoria in Kisumu, Kenya. Using a machine that he created himself, Kahumbu has found a way to turn biomass into biogas.

Clean Energy Options, Alternatives
Ben Curtis/AP/Shutterstock via Shutterstock

The renewable energy practitioner and his team work tirelessly to collect a certain species of water hyacinth that has harmed local communities and aquatic life in the area for decades. Thankfully, the operations Dominic has created benefit both the community and the environment at large. Kahumbu explained that the weed, "What everyone considers to be a real menace and a pest, an invasive species...with many many negative connotations to it," is actually "A blessing in disguise."

green Eco-friendly fuel
Dan Kei/AP/Shutterstock via Shutterstock

And luckily, the team at Biogas International Limited has nearly perfected their processes of turning the invasive species into fuel. So, how is it that they are able to turn plants into energy? Never mind energy that burns cleaner than both wood and charcoal. The bio-thinkers utilize a large sum of the weed (which benefits all surrounding sects of the community) to turn the green plant matter into usable, clean fuel.

Plant Energy Biogas International
Sakchai Lalit/AP/Shutterstock via Shutterstock

Through their work, they've found that 5.5 pounds of the plant can fuel a power cooker for up to 4 hours! According to the World Health Organization, stoves with an open flame that use charcoal and wood are especially dangerous to those of older generations. So, they thought of a way to change the pattern...

Biogas International Limited Kenya
Md Rakibul Hasan/Pacific Press/Shutterstock via Shutterstock

The Biogas International Limited group has created a tool known as a "Digester," 50 of which have already been distributed throughout Kisumu and Kenya for free and highly subsidized costs in hopes of "Capital investment facilitating the scaling-up of digester production and distribution."

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Biogas Fuel water hyacinth
Sanket Wankhade/Hindustan Times/Shutterstock via Shutterstock

"There's thousands of organizations out there that are looking for [where to] buy carbon credits, [and] where to sponsor green movements," explained Kahumbu. The initial investment from larger companies enables him and his team to bring more of these digester tools to fruition. Anyone else ready to make the green-gas change?