Energy Efficient Production and Utilisation of Charcoal through Innovative Technologies

A minority urban fuel during the 1980s and 1990s, charcoal has gradually displaced firewood and is now the fuelwood of choice for the majority of urban residents. Notwithstanding its popularity, the charcoal and cookstoves sub-sector remains informal, unregulated and fragmented, plagued by inefficient production system relying on non-renewable sources supported by incoherent and often conflicting policy statements.

The strong and growing demand for charcoal fuel is an important cause of deforestation. Although the Ministry of Energy developed the National Energy Plan and National Energy Strategy (2009), the capacity to translate these plans and strategies into pragmatic and business solutions remains weak.

The Global Environment Facility-financed, UNDP-supported Project on Energy Efficient Production and Utilization of Charcoal through Innovative Technologies and Private Sector Involvement in Sierra Leone aims to bring economic, social and environmental benefits through the production of charcoal from sustainably sourced feedstock and promotion of improved cookstoves to reduce fuel wood demand, improve health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

Accomplishments so far

COMPONENT 1. Policy and regulatory frameworks on the use of more efficiently produced charcoal and improved cookstoves  

OUTCOME 1: Strengthened institutional capacity on biomass resource utilization at the national, regional and community level. Operational effective policy, legal, and regulatory frameworks and review mechanisms on biomass energy technology applications

Output 1.a. Adequately trained and capable decision-makers and relevant stakeholders are leading efforts, communicating and managing more efficiently produced charcoal and improved cookstove utilization in an integrated manner

Output 1.b. Formulated, approved and enforced policies, laws and regulations on more efficient charcoal and improved cookstove production. 

Output 1.c. Developed standards and certification protocols for efficient charcoal and improved cookstoves.

COMPONENT 2. Development of public-private initiatives for the improved and more efficient production of charcoal and the scaling up of improved cookstove production

OUTCOME 2: Increased number of investments on improved, more efficient charcoal and improved cookstove production in Sierra Leone

Output 2.a. Established partnerships between the public and private stakeholders involved in the value chain of charcoal production and utilization.

Output 2.b. Developed incentives through carbon finance, microfinance, rebate and loan guarantee schemes to scale up sustainable charcoal and improved cookstove businesses.

Output 2.c. Implemented and operational i) 300 locally produced industrial stoves for income generating local enterprises such as fish smoking, bakery, palm oil processing and ii) 700 institutional stoves for school, prisons and hospitals.

Output 2.d.  Implemented and operational 1,000 locally produced efficient kilns for the sustainable production of charcoal.

Output 2.e. Locally produced 14,000 energy-efficient stoves in rural households for cooking needs implemented and promoted for replication.

Output 2.f. Established and operational framework for the phase-out of traditional charcoal kilns and cookstoves.

COMPONENT 3. Improved, more efficient production and efficient utilization of charcoal and cookstoves

OUTCOME 3: The production and utilization of certified charcoal and improved cookstoves are common practices in Sierra Leone.

Output 3.a. Developed gender sensitive capacity development and modules for the sustainable production and utilization of charcoal and improved cookstoves.

Output 3.b. Developed and implemented promotional schemes on the social, economic and environmental co-benefits of sustainably sourced charcoal and improved cookstoves to create demand, generate good buy-in and willingness to pay.

Output 3.c. Sensitized key value chain actors through public awareness campaign and capacity development.



May 2014


December 2020




Sierra Leone


United Nations Development Programme


Global Environment Fund Trustee











Full Project information