Biomass & Transport

COP28 aspirations for Transport

Bio-fuels – Bioethanol – ten’s of thousands of jobs created

There is a need to decarbonize the Transport sector and use of Oil and ensure Rail and road transportation networks in the Lapsset Corridor minimise the CO2 emissions. Green hydrogen and Bio-Fuels such as Bioethanol plants can assist in this transition.

At a time of record oil carbon dioxide emissions in Kenya and prices bio-fuels present an opportunity to reduce dependence on volatile global oil markets, create local economic opportunities in agriculture and industry and to improve the environment.

Ethanol and bio-diesel are the two main sources of bio-fuels. Ethanol is a liquid fuel that can be produced from a variety of sugar and starch containing crops, such as sugar cane and grains. Kenya has produced ethanol from sugarcane since the early 1980s and for a time even blended it with petrol as part of a gasohol program. Ethanol can be blended with petrol in any ratio, or used straight, but requires the use of specially designed vehicles in blends above 10%, referred to as E10. Ethanol gel also has good potential as a cooking fuel as shown by Tanzania’s experience with ‘Moto Poa’.

Life Cycle analysis

PSECC Ltd working with OBAX on a Bioethanol plant project possibly for Kenya

There is currently no specific legislation on bio-fuels in Kenya, although, the Energy Act 2007 empowers the Minister to promote the development and use of renewable energy technologies including bio-diesel and bio-ethanol.

A bio-diesel task force, the National Bio-fuels Committee, was set up in January 2006 to develop a strategy for bio-fuels. The national strategy aims to harness and coordinate the efforts and resources of a number of ongoing bio-diesel activities currently being implemented by NGOs, government and entrepreneurs. The strategy attempts to address issues and challenges that would arise during the setting up of a bio-fuels industry.


Hydrogen Fuel Station

As of December 2022, these targets have been adopted by 27 countries through the Global Memorandum of Understanding on Zero-Emission Medium-and Heavy-Duty Vehicles.

Percentage of New ZE-MHDV Sales by vehicle segment, 2020-2050


Railways help reduce GHG emissions from transport, while supporting economic development and increased mobility. Rail is among the most energy-efficient modes of transport, with typical GHG savings of 70-80 percent over road or air transport. Rail transport is also an innovative sector with hydrogen-based technologies being actively explored by manufacturers.

Decarbonization of transport can go even further – rail is already the most electrified mode of transport and offers high-volume transport for people and goods, at the lowest level of emissions. With the support of appropriate policy and finance, we can maximize the benefits that rail can offer. #MoreTrains calls for policymakers, businesses, innovators, financial institution, civil society, among others to :

  • Include rail in long-term policy commitment and planning, such as Nationally Determined Contributions
  • Adopt fair market competition practices that prioritize the low-carbon modes of transport, through appropriate push and pull mechanisms
  • Incentivize investment and promote finance to flow into rail expansion and improvement, with view to the wider socioeconomic and environmental benefits that rail can offer

Modal shift is key – yet, it is not at the heart of the transport policy and priorities. According to SLOCAT, the ASI approach follows an implicit hierarchy, with appropriate and context-sensitive Avoid measures intended to be implemented first, followed by Shift measures and finally by Improve measures. This prioritisation can help reduce environmental impact, improve access to socio-economic opportunities, increase logistics efficiency, reduce congestion, improve air quality and increase road safety. Growing evidence shows that Avoid and Shift strategies can account for 40-60% of transport emission reductions, at lower costs than Improve strategies.

Background videos

Intelligent Rail Transit