Climate-friendly Cooking with Biomass in Nepal

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    Women being introduced to the process of carbonising the biomass. Foto: ©Himalayan Naturals/myclimate

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    View of the pellet and briquette production facility. Briquettes in the foreground. Foto: ©Himalayan Naturals/myclimate

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    The biomass briquettes are produced by hand. This activity creates jobs especially for women in the remote Langtang region in Nepal. Foto: ©Himalayan Naturals/myclimate

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    The pellets are left to dry in the sun. Pellets are used for cooking, the round briquettes for heating. Foto: ©Himalayan Naturals/myclimate

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    Typical teahouse along the hiking route where the biomass pellets and efficient cookers will be used. Foto: ©Himalayan Naturals/myclimate

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    The efficient pellet-fuelled cooker ensures optimum utilisation of the pellets. Foto: ©Himalayan Naturals/myclimate

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    The forest users – so-called community forest groups – are told about the opportunity for sustainable biochar production. Foto: ©Himalayan Naturals/myclimate

The aim of this climate protection project in the Nepalese hiking region of Langtang is to convert the energy supply used for cooking and heating to sustainably produced biomass briquettes and pellets. This will replace the use of climate-damaging liquid petrol gas, thereby reducing CO₂ emissions, and by using the forests in a sustainable way it will also counteract illegal logging and unregulated forest fires. The new forest management offers permanent jobs in the region, particularly for women and the casteless.

The Nepalese use climate-damaging liquid petrol gas (LPG) to cook and to heat their homes. The gas has to be imported from India and is therefore usually expensive. The ongoing political disputes with their neighbouring country mean that there are often supply shortages. To free Nepal from this dependency, myclimate’s project partner Himalayan Naturals has founded a social enterprise, which will introduce a sustainable supply chain for biomass briquettes and pellets within the Langtang region, thereby offering a clean and low-cost alternative to using the fossil fuel LPG. 

Surplus biomass – leaves, needles and kindling –, sourced from local forests, is carbonised and taken to local collection points. The biomass coal is then taken to a production facility, where it is processed into pellets and briquettes. These are CO2-neutral as a result of the process of burning the plant remains, which only produces the same amount of CO2 as the plants took in while they grew. In order to optimise the use of the pellets and briquettes, Himalayan Naturals is working with partners to develop an efficient pellet-fuelled cooker. 

The project is organised locally and has close ties to local administrative structures. Target customers who are expected to buy the pellets and briquettes, as well as the cooker, include teahouses and hostels, restaurants, shops and private houses along the hiking route in the Langtang region.

The project was specially developed for Deutscher Alpenverein (DAV) and DAV Summit Club and is supported exclusively by these two partners. As part of the company’s social responsibility, DAV and DAV Summit Club want to help improve the living conditions of the people living in the Langtang region, and at the same time facilitate economic development opportunities in the long term. 

Goals for the next three years and benefits for the public:

  • Creation of approx. 160 jobs (five full-time positions and 80 positions for women)
  • Development of 50 biomass coal production groups
  • Construction of a pellet and briquette production facility as well as five collection points
  • Production of 400 tonnes of briquettes/pellets annually
  • Containment of rural depopulation thanks to local jobs
  • Replacement of 11,737 gas bottles or 166.7 tonnes of LPG annually
  • 20% saving of fuel costs (approx. €65,000 annually)
  • Independence from imported LPG
  • Reduced risk of forest fires by collecting the biomass
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