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Standards Alliance Organizes Uganda Workshop on Ethanol Standards

The American National Standards Institute(ANSI), through its public-private partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) called the Standards Alliance, organized an ethanol standards workshop in Kampala, Uganda on November 15. The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) co-hosted for the one-day workshop, while ASTM International and POET served as co-sponsors and co-organizers. The event enabled a technical exchange on the ASTM International standard for ethanol as a home cooking and appliance fuel.

The training session, entitled "Ethanol as a Home Cooking and Appliance Fuel Technical Standard" featured presentations from the U.S. and Ugandan public and private sectors. The workshop started with a presentation from UNBS discussing the need for standards and the role of UNBS, as well as the standards development process. Speakers from POET discussed the content of ASTM E3050 Standard Specification for Denatured Ethanol for Use as Cooking and Appliance Fuel, as well as the structure of POET's ethanol production business, its work in Haiti, and the potential for ethanol production and use in Africa.

A representative from CLASP also spoke about how standards and labelling can support the use of efficient appliances, especially cookstoves. Kakira Sugar representatives provided details about their new ethanol plant based in Uganda, as well as market opportunities and challenges for deploying their product. Finally, a speaker from the Ministry of Energy explained the legal framework for supporting ethanol as a fuel for vehicles, cook stoves, and appliances in Uganda.

In East Africa, the household cooking sector is the main consumer of solid biomass, representing the largest share of final energy consumption in the region. In Uganda, biomass fuels account for more than 91 percent of all energy use, and 97 percent of the population uses solid fuels for cooking.

While traditional biomass fuels such as wood and crop residue are renewable in principle, the current level of usage is not sustainable and contributes to massive deforestation and negative health impacts. In 2012, an estimated 35 million Ugandans were affected by household air pollution from indoor smoke and airborne particles as a result of cooking with solid fuels. This exposure led to more than 13,000 premature deaths in Uganda.

Ethanol, however, is uniquely suited for household use. When used in a proper stove, ethanol burns cleanly and efficiently and cooks meals faster than traditional biomass. Cleaner, more efficient cooking fuels are an essential component of regional efforts to reduce environmental impacts of deforestation and risks to human health, but also create an opportunity for small holder farmers to diversify their incomes through access to a second market.

The large scale benefits of ethanol cannot be achieved without a sound technical and policy framework to support the production, sale and distribution of ethanol. In addition to technical standards and conformity assessment that address the performance and safety requirements for ethanol, taxes and tariffs on ethanol also need to be addressed before an enabling business environment can be realized.

The agenda and presentations from the workshop are available online. For more information on the Standards Alliance and standards activities in East Africa visit


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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