Our New Project SteamBioAfrica Kicks-Off: Turning Bush Encroachment Into Clean Energy

For the past decades, countries in Southern Africa, such as Namibia, Botswana and South Africa have suffered from unwanted bush encroachment. The invasive bush species compete with livestock for water, contribute to soil erosion, and threaten natural habitat and local savannah ecosystems. However, combating and controlling bush encroachment is costly, involving intensive manual labor. For most farmers it is an investment not worth making.

In September 2021, the CSCP as part of a wider consortium of an EU-Africa industry-research partnership, launched the project SteamBioAfrica. The project aims to tackle bush encroachment but also problems related to climate change and energy insecurity as well as water shortages and unemployment by transforming bush biomass into solid biofuel and water. To do so, the project will use an innovative technology of superheated steam processing systems. In addition, the project looks to promote best harvesting and land managements practices and stimulate effective land restoration.

The CSCP will focus on the development of sustainable value chains that enable the integration of women and youth-led enterprises and offer access to clean, affordable and secure energy in the rural and urban areas, tackling energy poverty. To ensure a long-term viability of biofuel, the CSCP will identify technical and related gaps and needs in local skills and workforce as well as design and deliver training and capacity building programmes. The technical training includes bush harvesting and land management modules for farmers as well as modules on superheated steam processes (SHS). The business-related programmes will target youth and women-led micro, small and medium sized Enterprises (MSMEs) and offer capacity building modules for the commercialisation of the new solid biofuel and the development of sustainable and inclusive business models.

It is expected that within ten years after the end of the project, Southern Africa will achieve a superheated steam processing and operating capacity of 350 tonnes/hour. This would result in over 6300 km2 of restored land (7.6 million tonnes CO2eq saving), over 40 million tonnes of solid biofuel (9.2 million tonnes CO2eq saving), 1900 m3 of recovered water and 6800 new direct jobs.

The project is supported by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Programme.

For further questions, please contact Kartika Anggraeni.