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German-South African green initiative targets climate change and energy access with revolutionary clean cooking fuel.

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In a bid to combat climate change and improve household energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, GreenQUEST is exploring the technical, economic, social and environmental impacts that a clean household cooking fuel could have.

Sub-Saharan Africa, home to nearly one billion individuals lacking access to clean household energy, faces a dire environmental and health crisis. The widespread use of biomass as an energy source contributes to deforestation, soil erosion, and carbon dioxide emissions; not to mention nearly 4 million premature deaths annually.

GreenQUEST aims to address this urgent issue head-on by introducing a clean, sustainable alternative to liquified petroleum gas (LPG), currently the primary clean fuel option available in the region.

Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), GreenQUEST is led by the University of Cape Town’s Catalysis Institute (UCT) and the Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin.

During a recent visit to UCT, BMBF State Secretary Prof. Dr. Sabine Döring was introduced to the initiative, which stands at the forefront of developing a groundbreaking green cooking fuel. This innovation aims at improving lives and environments across the continent considerably.

With an innovative approach leveraging carbon dioxide captured from the atmosphere and green hydrogen derived from renewable sources, GreenQUEST is developing a green liquified fuel gas (LFG or gLFG) that mirrors the efficiency and clean-burning qualities of LPG but without its fossil carbon burden.

This carbon-neutral fuel aligns with global net-zero targets and represents a monumental leap towards sustainable energy solutions for low-income households across Africa.

The project’s unique strength lies in its interdisciplinary and international collaborative framework, which involves more than 50 scientists from South Africa and Germany. This collaboration not only enhances the technical development of green LFG but also examines the economic, environmental, and social impacts of introducing such innovative energy solutions to the market.

This partnership contributes to strengthening the strategic alliance between South Africa and Germany by fostering sustainable development and establishing lasting relationships in the realm of clean energy research and innovation.

“The cooperative approach driving the GreenQUEST project has the potential to effect positive change not only in African communities but globally,” stated State Secretary Prof. Dr.  Döring. “This exemplifies the commitment of Germany and South Africa to support sustainable initiatives, underscoring the importance of working together for the betterment of all.”

As GreenQUEST moves forward, it seeks the support of investors, stakeholders, and collaborators who share the vision of a world where every household has access to clean, sustainable energy. GreenQUEST is hosting its upcoming public event on 11 April 2024 in Cape Town, with panel discussions around the social impacts and industrialisation opportunities of green LFG.

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