Scaling-Up: National Ethanol Feasibility Study for Ethiopia

Project Coordinator, Feven Solomon, creates the mash for a small-scale distillation demonstration.

Gaia Association is conducting a study to test the feasibility of a national scale-up of ethanol cookstoves and microdistilleries in Ethiopia. The study, which is financed by the British government’s Strategic Climate Institutions Programme (SCIP), will address the absence of a comprehensive examination of the economics of cooking with ethanol and the economic and technical viability of small-scale ethanol production. Gaia is collaborating with a host of local and international consultants to ensure the quality and utility of the forthcoming assessment.

Feven Solomon, Desalegn Getaneh, John Loke, and Dr. Getinet Alemaw prepare different feedstocks for fermentation

The feasibility study will be the first of its kind and will contribute to the development of the bioethanol subsector in Ethiopia. It will address the economics of large and small-scale ethanol production, assess alternative feedstocks including sweet sorghum, sweet potatoes, mango waste, bele fruit, and cassava and will also determine the potential for constructing microdistilleries across Ethiopia. Members of the Gaia team traveled around and out of Addis Ababa to fields and factories, evaluating crops and technical capabilities.

Both Gaia Association and PGI hope that the study will provide a road map for interested parties looking to invest in Ethiopia’s ethanol sector. “It will be shared with the government, private sector, and anyone else who is interested in engaging in ethanol distribution, EMDs, or feedstock production,” said Gaia Association director Desalegn Getaneh. The final report will be completed in mid-August and in the following months, a workshop will be held to present its conclusions.


By Alex Milano