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Clean cookstoves in Mozambique lure big investors

CleanStar Mozambique is a combined effort among a mix of institutions centered around replacing traditional charcoal cooking stoves with stoves fueled by sustainably produced bio-ethanol.

By Erin ButlerGlobal Envision / December 3, 2012

A woman sells clams in the main market of Maputo, Mozambique, in 2011. A consortium of groups is working to provide women with cleaner-burning cook stoves.

Matthew Tostevin/Reuters/File

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When it comes to investing in a clean cookstoves project, Triple Pundit reports that maybe there's no such thing as too many cooks in the kitchen.

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Cooked up in 2010, CleanStar Mozambique is a combined effort among a mix of investors, financial and research institutions, and NGOs, including CleanStar Ventures, Novozymes, ICM, Zoe Enterprises, Dometic, Impact Carbon, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The project:

"Simultaneously addresses the issues of deforestation, land degradation, hunger, poverty, indoor pollution and carbon emissions, on a small scale, all through a for-profit business structure. The program ... is centered around the replacement of traditional charcoal cooking stoves with alcohol-fired stoves that can be fueled by sustainably produced bio-ethanol."

 IN PICTURES: Food security in Africa

Triple Pundit reports that the Soros Economic Development Fund and Industrialization Fund for Developing Countries funding "will allow CleanStar and its partners to now focus fully on implementation, rather than the time-consuming process of fundraising.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that Soros’ $6 million investment:

"Will give it a 19% stake in the $20 million project... The project has also received a $3 million investment from the Denmark-backed Industrialization Fund for Developing Countries, while Danish industrial enzymes company Novozymes has provided $1 million and a number of loans. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is also assisting with the selling of carbon credits."

CleanStar seems to be making a huge impact on Mozambique in a number of challenging arenas, but implications for other cities in Africa are exciting if the project is implemented successfully:

"They expect that their retail fuel distribution infrastructure will reach 80,000 customers in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, by 2014. This looks to be the next chapter in a great story. With a $10 billion market for charcoal-based cooking across the rapidly-urbanizing continent, CleanStar’s business model is likely to be feasible in over 40 major African cities."

This article originally appeared at Global Envision, a blog published by Mercy Corps.

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