EC Programme:
10th European Development Fund – ACP Science and Technology Programme

Project: BIOCHAR PLUS – Energy, health, agricultural and environmental benefits from biochar use: building capacities in ACP Countries

Client: ACP Science and Technology Programme

Duration: From 1st February 2014 until 31st January 2017

Task: Starter’s tasks as a project partner include scientific as well as technical assistance to project coordination and project monitoring and evaluation. For the latter, the adopted approach relies on learning by doing, knowledge and information management and sharing. Moreover, Starter’s international relations network supports project networking and transfer of project results to decision makers (e.g. African governments, the African Union and African regional organisations). To do this, Starter activates suitable policy advocacy activities aiming at favouring the inclusion of project results into strategies and policies for social and economic development as well as for environment, energy, agriculture, and public health.


Description: The increasing demand in wood fuel in Africa, coupled with scarcity of alternative energy resources, contribute to ecological decline, reduced forestland areas, enlarged savannah, biodiversity loss, and soil erosion. These effects represent a major threat for local communities’ living.
To meet this challenge, BIOCHAR PLUS promotes knowledge and development of biochar systems. Biochar is an environmental-friendly technology that offers multiple benefits, including energy access and efficiency, health, and applications in agriculture to improve soil productivity, along with advantages for environment and opportunities for local development.
BIOCHAR PLUS favorisce l’adozione più ampia possibile di tale tecnologia, già disponibile, e lo sviluppo socioeconomico delle famiglie e delle comunità. Il progetto, inoltre, stimola lo sviluppo di politiche e misure di incentivazione per il biochar e costruisce le capacità tecniche, imprenditoriali e scientifiche di tutti i portatori d’interesse.
The project takes advantage from several factors:
1. the large availability of agricultural residues and other biomass waste in some African contexts that can be easily converted into biochar through pyrolysis with the Elsa stove
2. the rather low initial investment, and
3. the increasing demand for stoves that do not release smoke,
to channel biochar production through integrated energy systems, thus offering an economic development opportunity for local communities in Ghana, Togo, Sierra Leon, Cape Vert, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe.
BIOCHAR PLUS favours the widest possible adoption of this technology, which is already available, and the socio-economic development of families and communities. Additionally, the project stimulates the development of policies and measures to give impulse to biochar, besides building all stakeholders’ technical, business and scientific capacity.

The project implements clusters to:
1. Produce and sell biochar pyrolytic stoves;
2. Produce and sell local organic feedstock;
3. Collect and distribute biochar.

Project activities are organized into two main pillars:
1. The promotion of both small plants (the Elsa stove) and larger plants with their respective clusters
2. Local communities’ ownership of the technology through a participative approach.