Wood Energy and Energy Efficiency

More than 90% of people in developing countries depend on wood as an energy source… But deforestation is increasing, fossil fuels are polluting and expensive, and the greenhouse effect is worsening, which is why we support the use of wood as a renewable energy source.

The issues

Unlike fossil fuels, wood is a renewable energy source: in a sustainably managed forest, a mature tree is cut down and replaced by younger ones, which will continue to play their role as a carbon pump and produce wood. The carbon balance is zero in the medium term and the supply of wood is theoretically infinite. This is reflected in the enthusiasm of northern countries for cogeneration or wood heating. Households in the South are by far the main consumers of wood energy, charcoal or firewood… but wood is becoming increasingly scarce: the deforestation “haloes” around large cities are spreading, plunging these urban households into energy insecurity. However, there is room for manoeuvre: produce wood sustainably (through afforestation or sustainable management of existing forests), improve carbonisation yields (by disseminating improved techniques, such as the Casamance kiln), and cooking yields (by disseminating improved stoves to replace the traditional “three-stone” stoves)….


Our services

Our actions target urban and rural populations (which are sometimes also affected by fuel poverty) with low purchasing power in developing countries. By supporting the implementation of energy forestry plantation projects, we intervene directly in the reconstitution of renewable biomass deposits near consumption centres (mainly urban areas, but also rural areas, industrial sites, etc.). Through socio-economic studies in rural and urban areas, we contribute to a better understanding of the wood energy supply chains of large cities. In addition, we are studying the impact of wood energy use on deforestation and forest degradation and the role of more energy-efficient technologies (improved carbonisation and cooking) in avoiding greenhouse gas emissions. Finally, we support the development of official standards for improved cookstoves, conduct tests on improved cookstoves [Water Boiling Test (WBT); Controlled Cooking Test (CCT); Kitchen Performance Test (KPT)] and can also develop prototypes adapted to local conditions, including cooking habits.

References in this area