Cleaner air through climate-neutral bioethanol fuels

    Many fast-growing cities in developing countries suffer from a high concentration of CO2 and particulate matter in the air. In many cases, harmful kerosene or charcoal are also used for cooking. This leads to a higher instance of respiratory illnesses, cardiovascular diseases and cancer among the local population.

    With a network of vending machines selling bioethanol fuel, Kenyan company KOKO Networks aims to establish a clean, affordable and convenient alternative to dirty cooking fuels. The company was co-financed through start-up financing from DEG’s Up-Scaling programme.

    KOKO Networks produces inexpensive cooking stoves run on bioethanol. The fuel for this, which is sourced from local sugar producers, is distributed by the company through a network of KOKO Points – e-commerce kiosks located near where their customers live. Here, the fuel is filled in reusable canisters. The test rollout – involving ten KOKO Points and 700 customers – was financed in part by EUR 750,000 from DEG’s Up-Scaling programme.

    The company now has over 900,000 households in its customer base. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions achieved in this way currently amounts to around 4.5 million tons of CO2 equivalents per year. By replacing charcoal, KOKO is also instrumental in protecting local woods and improving health. This is because, compared with kerosene or charcoal, cooking with bioethanol only creates very low levels of particulate matter and does not have any harmful emissions. To date, KOKO has created over 1,800 jobs in Kenya and India and is currently planning to expand its business to Rwanda.

    Kenyan company KOKO Networks produces inexpensive cooking stoves run on liquid bioethanol, offering a safe and efficient alternative to dirty cooking fuels. With the help of start-up financing from DEG’s Up-Scaling programme, the company set up a network of e-commerce kiosks for selling the fuel. KOKO Networks is now firmly established in Kenya, creating jobs and helping to reduce the strain on the environment.


    This programme is specifically aimed at German and local SMEs in developing countries. Companies willing to invest in FinTech or GreenTech sectors of these countries can receive up to EUR 749,000 of co-financing, repayable on success.

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