TechInAfrica — After a successful pilot project in Kenya, in which KOKO Networks secured more than 1000 customers in Nairobi and its environs, the company officially launched its KOKO Fuel, a clean, safe and affordable liquid ethanol cooking fuel solution, that is dispensed from “KOKOpoint” Smart Fuel ATMs located in 700 shops across Nairobi.
“KOKO Fuel is a fantastic alternative solution to charcoal and paraffin, which are unsafe and used extensively by Kenyans. Traditional wood, charcoal, and kerosene fuels are the leading cause of Indoor Air Pollution in Kenya, claiming more than 21,000 lives every year. This translates to more than 400 every week, many of whom are children under the age of 5 and places a big strain on our health system. At the same time, deforestation from unsustainable charcoal practices drive changes in our rainfall patterns, negatively impacting our agricultural yields. By responsibly managing the transition from charcoal, we can improve our food security,” said Dr. Eng. Joseph Njoroge, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Energy.
“Solutions like KOKO Fuel will play a large role in addressing health and environmental issues; the Ministry of Energy remains very committed to working with the private sector to enable 100% access to Clean Cooking Fuel, and we are seeking to create a supportive policy environment that will enable solutions like KOKO Fuel to be delivered to customers as cheaply as possible,” he added.
KOKO has taken a proven decades-old model for the urban distribution of expensive liquids and combined it with modern IoT and machine learning technologies that dramatically increase the efficiency, visibility and control of the urban liquid flows. It’s the “V2.0 Smart ATM Network” approach to ethanol cooking fuel.
KOKO’s fleet of “Smart MicroTankers” performs the last-mile “milk run” between bulk fuel stored in dedicated tanks at petrol stations and distributes it to the nearby Network of KOKOpoint “Fuel ATMs” located inside small shops owned by KOKO Agent retail partners.
“Customers use smart canisters that dock with KOKOpoints, which then dispense fuel they have pre-purchased by topping up their KOKO accounts with M-PESA. They then take their smart canister home to dock into their KOKO Cooker, a modern, high-power 2-burner ethanol stove that delivers affordable cooking energy, safely and conveniently,” Peter Mwako, Deployment Manager Koko Networks, said.
Mwako explains that the KOKO Points are fitted with several sensors that notify them of their machines’ health levels, in order to ease the management and the maintenance of the KOKO points.
KOKO Fuel is delivered in collaboration with Vivo Energy Kenya, the company which owns and operates Shell-branded fuels distribution infrastructure in Kenya, ensuring the reliable supply of high-quality fuel, align with international safety standards.
“Our partnership with Vivo Energy Kenya allows Koko Networks agents selling liquid ethanol in the neighborhoods to restock the fuel from Shell-branded petrol stations,” Mwako said.