The future of cooking looks promising after a student at the famous Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology invented charcoal made of 31% cannabis.
Made from general biomass and the leaves of Cannabis Sativa, the new fuel is set to inject new enthusiasm into the energy sector, and the product has received widespread adoption wherever it has been tested.
SDG 5 and 7
The product dubbed ‘cancoal’ has the advantage of being 70% cheaper than conventional charcoal and takes a shorter time to produce. “The advantage of this charcoal is that it is majorly made of leaves. Leaves have a very short turnaround; you plant today and in three months you have enough resources to power every household in Kenya.”
Besides providing affordable and clean energy, Juma hopes that his invention will also help with Sustainable Development Goal 5 of Gender Equality by bringing more men into the kitchen. “Men are more enthusiastic about this product than women, something that could translate to men spending more time in the kitchen cooking. This will help relieve women from the burden of unpaid domestic work.”
Cancoal will also help deal with some environmental concerns of destroying marijuana. “We see police confiscating and burning consignments of marijuana all over the country. This wastes a lot of energy, and cancoal will tap this to make our country energy secure. This will also help combat deforestation.”
The student said that he was inspired by the high cost of energy, where he couldn’t afford cooking gas and the cost of traditional charcoal was also prohibitive. “I had the 6kg gas cylinder which I could refill at KShs 600 bob in first year. By the time I was in 3rd year, the cost was KShs 1800. I had to start thinking outside the box, and that is how the idea of charcoal made from leaves was born.”
Juma now hopes that his invention will be adopted in Europe, a continent that is almost freezing to death due to high energy costs. “Once I am done with patenting, I will launch the product in Europe where the current energy crisis has condemned some people to an early death. This is a promising market with unlimited potential.”
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