Poet helps bring ethanol-fueled stoves to Haiti

Source: By Argus Leader • Posted: Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Most Haitians relay on charcoal and firewood for daily cooking. As a consequence, the nation has experienced extreme deforestation and less than 2 percent of the country’s forest cover remains. The United Nations estimates that the average lifespan in Haiti is shortened by 6.6 years because of illnesses caused by household air pollution, which results from burning wood and charcoal indoors.

Poet is teaming up with the nonprofit Project Gaia to supply the ethanol needed to power clean-burning stoves. The first 6,200 gallons of ethanol cleared Haitian customs at the end of 2014. Poet founder and executive chairman Jeff Broin donated 12,000 gallons of ethanol to jump-start the project.

Appliance brand Dometic is supplying the stoves, which eventually will be made in Haiti, and local partner Novogaz is organizing distribution.

“The vision for this project is clear: to bring clean-burning ethanol fuel to the homes in third-world countries in order to improve the standard of living and drive positive socioeconomic change,” Broin said. “For decades, we’ve known ethanol to be a clean, renewable fuel for our automobiles, and I look forward to bringing this same clean, renewable fuel to homes across the globe. With the help of our partners at Project Gaia, Dometic and Novogaz, I know we will be successful in our journey to bring clean cook stoves and clean energy to the world.”

Poet Biorefining in Jewell, Iowa, is producing the ethanol to fuel the cook stoves.

“Poet is leading the way in catalyzing a new market in Haiti for household energy. Ethanol offers perhaps the greatest opportunity to revitalize the agriculture sector and offer families a clean and affordable alternative to charcoal,” said Brady Luceno, assistant director of Project Gaia. “By working with a strong local partner like Novogaz, the first shipment of donated ethanol will lay the foundation for a viable and socially responsible Haitian business to grow.”

Project Gaia estimates that if every home in Africa, developing Asia, Latin America and the Middle East that is using traditional solid fuels such as charcoal, wood and other biomass substrates switched to ethanol fuel for cooking, it would save between 250 million and 550 million forest acres per year. This is equivalent to over half the size of the Brazilian rain forest, or the size of Alaska, California and Texas combined.