GNEEDER/Cows to Kilowatts

Home  /  Biomass Power  /  Current Page


Turning Slaughterhouse Waste Into A Sustainable Power Source



Headquarters Ibadan, Nigeria
Established 2001
Impact Areas Nigeria
Type Hybrid
Energy Sectors
Business Model Types
Staff Size 9, 6 per plant
Annual Budget $6,000,000
Major Funders UNDP, SEED Awards, World Bank Development Marketplace
Awards 2006: Santa Clara Global Social Benefit Incubator, SEED Award
2007: Ashoka Fellow
2009: World Bank Development Marketplace, Tech Museum of Innovation Award


GNEEDER/Cows to Kilowatts has developed a biogas digester reactor that turns slaughterhouse waste into cooking fuel or electricity for sale to the power grid.



Energy Products/Services

  • Biogas slaughterhouse waste reactor

Target Market

  • Slaughterhouses with insufficient waste disposal capacity
  • Users of cooking fuel
  • Power grid companies



Revenue Streams

  • Sale of cooking fuel or grid power.

Value Proposition


  • GNEEDER’s reactor captures and processes the methane gas from 1,000 cattle per day into 1,800 cubic meters of cooking fuel or .5MW of electricity.
  • GNEEDER’s reactor generates enough profit to pay off its $1m up-front cost in 2.5 years, while providing needed waste disposal and fuel or electricity.

Problem Addressed

  • Slaughterhouses in Nigeria and around the world  (the one in GNEEDER’s home city of Ibadan processes 1,000 heads of cattle per day) create waste that often goes untreated and poses and environmental and health hazard.
  • In government-owned slaughterhouses, the Nigerian government receives US$1 for every cow, and is supposed to use this revenue partly to dispose of waste, but often lacks the capacity.
  • In addition, in Nigeria cooking fuel is expensive and grid power is insufficient and unreliable.
  • The methane gas released from cattle waste also contributes to climate change.

Where They Are Now

Impact to Date

  • Initial plant developed and running in Ibadan
  • In 2010, produced approximately 650,000 cubic meters of methane cooking fuel, worth approximately US$420,000
  • The emission reduction from GNEEDER’s initial plant is 0.05MT of CO2 per year.




  • 2003: GNEEDER founded as a water treatment solution for slaughterhouse waste
  • 2003: Finalists at WB Development Marketplace, inspired to capture methane for fuel
  • 2003: Partnered with King Mongkut University in Thailand to develop a biogas reactor
  • 2005: Finalists for SEED international award, which gave them funding for a business plan and got them UNDP support to build their initial plant
  • 2006: Attended Santa Clara GSBI which introduced them to Ashoka
  • 2007: Founder Joseph Adelegan elected Ashoka fellow, which allowed full-time focus on GNEEDER
  • 2008: Won $200,000 World Bank Development Marketplace Award
  • 2010: First plant running in Ibadan

Growth Plan

  • Kenyan government investing $300-400,000 US in a reactor in Nairobi
  • GNEEDER is seeking loan and equity investment to launch plants in 6 other cities in Nigeria and 4-5 other countries

How They Deliver

Product Sourcing

  • GNEEDER managed to keep initial development costs low by doing construction themselves and partnering with King Mongkut University in Thailand, and therefore was able to build their original plant for $500,000.
  • GNEEDER estimates that conventional engineering costs would have been around $2.5m
  • GNEEDER developed its reactor with its partners at Mongkut by modifying an existing tapioca digester to fit slaughterhouse waste.  The new digester needed 3 reactors, a solid digester for animal pieces a channel digester for waste water, and an anaerobic fixed film barrier digester for fluid from feces



  • GNEEDER attaches its plants to government and private slaughterhouses that need solutions to dispose of their waste.
  • GNEEDER’s initial plant is attached to the government slaughterhouse in Ibadan.
  • GNEEDER has signed a “Build-Operate-Transfer” agreement with the government to operate the plant and receive all revenue for 10 years, at which point it will hand over the plant to the government.
  • The process of running the plant is proprietary, so GNEEDER will continue to run the plant on a contract basis.
  • The government is happy to allow GNEEDER to profit from getting rid of the waste, since this means the government does not have to pay to do so.
  • GNEEDER is now looking for contracts with private slaughterhouses because there are less conditions and less potential political changes.
  • GNEEDER sells fuel to distributors and sells electricity to the grid.


Revenue & Affordability

  • GNEEDER generates revenue from selling cooking fuel and electricity produced by its biogas reactor.  The plant can either produce 1.8l of fuel per cow or .5 MW of electricity.
  • Last year the plant produced US$420,000 worth of cooking fuel, and cost approximately $80,000 to run.  At this rate GNEEDER will be able to profitably cover the costs of the plant cost in 2 years.
  • At the encouragement of UNDP, GNEEDER has now added a turbine to produce electricity to sell to the grid.
  • GNEEDER’s methane cooking fuel costs US$7.50 for 25 cubic meters, while the current market price for equivalent natural gas is US$30.
  • GNEEDER sells electricity for 8 Cents/KWH, which is the same price as current grid power.  As the grid is currently undersupplied, the government is happy to buy power.


  • GNEEDER is completely grant funded thus far.
  • GNEEDER’s initial plant was financed by UNDP, but it faced some bottlenecks.  Because UNDP funding comes through the government, the money was only released in small tranches every 6 months, and there were some challenges dealing with the officials managing the money.
  • GNEEDER will continue working with the government as a non-profit, but has recently formed Cows to Kilowatts Partnership Ltd., a for-profit subsidiary eligible for equity financing, which will sell and operate plants for private slaughterhouses.
  • GNEEDER is seeking both loan and equity funding, but at rates lower than the Nigerian bank rate of 26%.
  • GNEEDER has recently entered into a partnership with Envirofit to sell them carbon credits.
  • Envirofit is covering the transaction costs of setting up the carbon monitoring, and GNEEDER is selling them the credits at $10/ton.

More Resources

Online Resources

Contact Information

Global Network for Environment and Economic Development Research (GNEEDER)/Cows to Kilowatts
No. 7, Adenuga Street
Kongi Layout
New Bodija Estate
Ibadan, Oyo State 20005

( +234-80-6284-3428