High-Level EPA Official and ‘ Father of Green Chemistry ‘ Dr. Paul Anastas Visits Gaia Association
On November 16, 2010, Dr. Paul Anastas of the EPA met with the Gaia Association for a day of discussions and field site visits to assess future strategies for clean cooking. The trip is part of the EPA’ s increasing efforts to develop solutions that ensure clean, household energy for the millions in the world who lack access to energy.
Dr. Anastas’s visit with Gaia Association on November 16 was part of a three-day trip to Ethiopia to gain insight on the current situation of household energy in developing countries like Ethiopia and to accelerate efforts to develop cleaner, better solutions. Dr. Anastas, Assistant Administrator for the EPA Office of Research and Development (ORD), is a pioneer of green chemistry and environmental engineering and his work has been recognized by numerous awards.
The Gaia Association is an Ethiopian clean fuel and cookstove initiative working in both Addis Ababa and several refugee camps in Eastern Ethiopia. During the visit with Gaia, Dr. Anastas was able to observe both smoky kitchens using polluting traditional cookstoves as well as the clean kitchens of women using clean fuels and stoves, such as the ethanol CleanCook stove. The Good Shepherd Sisters Community in Kirkos Subcity and a semi-urban housing condominium in Addis Ababa served as two Gaia Association field sites where ethanol cookstoves are currently in use.
Also participating in the meeting were the UNHCR and GTZ, the German sustainable development organization. The latter of these hosted field visits where their various improved biomass stove models are in use.
While visiting a Good Shepherd Sisters community, Dr. Anastas commented that as one of the founding partners of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, the EPA’s objective “is to help develop, implement and support appropriate technologies that not only improve human health and the environment, but also catalyze economic growth.”
The visit included a presentation by Gaia Association regarding ethanol supply and demand, future plans, and investments in the installation of microdistilleries in Ethiopia.
In addition to the Gaia Association staff, Dr. Anastas was accompanied by a government representative of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Ephrem Hassan – head of Biofuels Policy, as well as Mekonnen Kassa, energy and ethanol economist and Hilawe Lakew, an expert on clean cookstoves. The meeting of these individuals represents the convergence of interests of governments, NGOs and the private sector to meet the needs of millions across the world without access to clean, household energy.