5 Star Stoves

Creates local bio-energy value chain out of biomass waste
2013 SEED South Africa Award Winner Clean Energy Cape Town, South Africa

5 Star Stoves creates a local bio-energy value chain out of waste biomass, producing biomass pellets which are used in an updraft gasification stove to cook and heat. The stoves are assembled in the community and distributed locally via a franchising model. The enterprise thus generates income for the local community, encourages the more efficient use of natural resources and also improves energy security by using local bio assets.

The enterprise purchases biomass from pre-vetted and trained harvesters at a fixed price. The biomass is then pulverised, dried and densified into pellets and sold to stove users at a markup. Stoves are assembled locally and distributed in the community via a franchise model. Payment for the pellets is facilitated by a local service provider. This makes it possible to track and manage the business per stove user and so record carbon savings and business revenue per unit.

Eco-Inclusive Impacts

5 Star Stoves empowers the community to reduce energy consumption through more resource efficient solutions while cutting energy costs and offering employment opportunities which generate a reliable income.
  • Empowering the community by cutting monthly energy costs from ZAR 360 to ZAR 180 per household.
  • Providing affordable energy solutions to 10,000 low-income users and encouraging efficient use of natural resources.


  • Providing eco-friendly energy solutions, saving up to three tons of carbon emissions per stove each year on average.
  • Improving household air quality by reducing short-lived climate pollutants.
  • Improving energy security by using local biomass that would otherwise contribute to methane emissions.
  • Generating income for the local community by creating employment, including 80 jobs selling biomass and subsidising household energy use and 40 jobs marketing the biomass pellets.
  • Stimulating the economy by supplying energy-saving products and setting up five sustainable eco-enterprises.



This enterprise is supported through its partnerships with various stakeholders, ranging from national and international organisations, investors, research institutes, suppliers, governmental bodies, NGOs, other social and environmental enterprises and more.

Usizo Thuso is the first beneficiary of the 5 Star Stove demonstration facility. It supports the enterprise through bio-energy farming. 5 Star Stove is the farm’s first agro-processing venture.

Energy & Environment Partnership Southern & East Africa promotes renewable energy and clean technology investments and co-funded 5 Star Stove's first demonstration facility and the following roll-out.

The Small Enterprise Development Agency provides business training and mentoring and helps streamline the enterprise on the basis of the government support directive.

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Willem Malherbe - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
22 Plataan Crescent, 7560
Cape Town, South Africa
Tel: +27219815629

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