Benin entrepreneur harnesses biowaste to power homes, farms

STORY: This food waste is going to be transformed into fuel that can once again be used to cook... or even heat this home.

Locator: Abomey-Calavi, Benin

It's thanks to a local firm in Benin that's transforming everyday biowaste... into a powerful energy source.

Enock Gnaga is the founder of Benin Biogas.

His team is revolutionizing how hundreds of homes and more than a dozen farms manage waste and energy.

"On this farm, all the waste from livestock and processing will be recovered as gas products in the logic of being able to power the ovens, the whisks for the ovens, the cooking, the toasting, but also produce electricity."

Benin Biogas has built networks of concrete tanks beneath neighborhoods and industrial zones.

They act as reactors, transforming organic waste into biogas - a methane-rich energy source that now provides fuel for over 560 households.

Gnaga says he was inspired as a student... he watched one day as a candle inadvertently fell into his food waste bin.

"When it caught fire, I thought, what is this? I became interested in this by discussing with my environmental chemistry professor. That's where he told me that it was okay. It's biogas."

The company is even able to provide 24-hour off-grid electricity in some areas.

And convert the compost waste into high-quality fertilizer, supporting local agriculture and reducing farmers' reliance on imported, expensive, and potentially damaging alternatives.

Gnaga says he knows it's not the total end to fossil fuels.

But in a world grappling with climate change and the search for sustainable energy solutions...

he hopes his complete waste-to-energy cycle will usher in a renewed dedication to environmental stewardship in Benin.