International research and development



BIO MOTO ROLLUP BANNER final2view_crop copy


International Research and Development Africa, Ltd. is implementing a hybrid sweet stalk sorghum-based biofuel system to displace the usage of biomass and fossil fuels, save families money, and reduce the incidence of illnesses that are caused by indoor air pollution. Through the usage of biofuels, IRD Africa also helps to mitigate climate change, reduce deforestation, create local jobs, increase food production, and alleviate poverty. They are just about to operationalize their activities.


Headquarters Nairobi, Kenya
Established 2001
Impact Areas Kenya
Type For-Profit
Energy Sectors
Staff Size (upon scale-up) 40 (cooker factory); 138 (biodiesel refinery)
Annual Budget $3,070,000
Major Funders Initiator Funds, Kenya Climate Innovation Center
Awards None yet.


  • 2001: Establishment. Initiated Concept and Pathway R & D.
  • 2007: Finalized feedstock selection. Initiated Statutory Quarantined Seed Varieties Field Trials.
  • 2011: Finalized biofuel processing pathway optimization.
  • 2013: Finalized cooker design, optimization, consumer testing, prototype optimization and IP protection application filing.
  • 2013-2022: Hybrid seed statutory certification process completed.
  • 2022: Completed GSBI Online Program.
  • 2023: Deployment pending securing scale capital.

Growth Plan

  • After demonstrating sustainable proof of concept and product launch in the market, IRD Africa plans to obtain seed financing and financing through venture capitalists and loans.
  • This capital will be used to build new production facilities and expand operations.
  • They will also work with molasses producers and local distributors to help increase fuel production and improve distribution methods.
  • They are currently working on establishing a production plant that will be capable of producing 20,000 liters of biofuel a day.
  • Eventually, they hope to produce 3 million liters of biofuel a day.


Technology description

The Bio Moto Cooker is a proprietary cooker manufactured locally by IRD Africa specifically for the use of ethanol biofuel. It’s manufactured from durable, polished stainless steel alloy and consists of a lower burner portion and a metal pot for cooking. It’s attractive, high quality, at the same price point as low-quality charcoal-lined cookstoves, and comes with a 15 year warranty.

 BIO MOTO IRD 2x1mview



A woman demonstrating usage of the Bio Moto cooker.


Energy Products/Services

  • IRD Africa’s product is an ethanol biofuel product that comes from sweet stalk sorghum, a drought resistant grain crop that is grown in tropical and subtropical regions.
  • Sorghum is a very hardy, drought-tolerant crop that has the potential to adapt really well to anthropogenic climate change.
  • The fuel itself is processed from the stalk of the plant, in Bio refineries to be built in the sorghum growing zones.
  • IRD Africa will also be manufacturing and distributing the Bio Moto Cooker, a proprietary cooker designed specifically for the biofuel.
  • The Bio Moto Cooker is designed in such a way that it eliminates the possibility of accidental burn accidents.
  • Since the burner operates at atmospheric pressure, there is no risk from explosions.
  • Farmers who partner with IRD Africa use part of the money they make from selling sorghum stalk to purchase the Bio Moto burner and fuel for their own use.


Target Market

  • IRD Africa mainly targets households above the poverty line who have adequate purchasing power to be able to benefit from their product (about $3-7 a day USD).
  • This market consists of 3 million peri-urban and rural households and 1.5 million urban households.
  • For their supply chain, they are targeting 1 million growing families to grow sweet-stalk sorghum as feedstock for the fuel.


Value Proposition

  • IRD Africa wants to demonstrate a new way of creating base of pyramid wealth through proven agriculture in semi-arid and arid economically marginalized societies that are normally food aid recipients. They want to grow food, clean fuel and animal fodder simultaneously for income generation to help improve their livelihoods.
  • The Bio Moto cooker meets IWA/ISO Performance Tier 4, and is amongst the cleanest, safest and most thermally efficient biomass fueled cookers in the world.


Problem Addressed

  • Over 18,000 premature deaths are caused by respiratory ailments related to household air pollution in Kenya alone.
  • Denatured Ethanol biofuel is cheaper, cleaner, safer fuel for cooking and heating than kerosene and biomass. It is a lot less polluting and therefore does not lead to respiratory ailments that are caused by inhaling the carbon monoxide laden fumes and smoke from burning other fuel sources.
  • Ethanol, as a biofuel, is also carbon neutral. Unlike biomass and petroleum products, burning it does not contribute to anthropogenic climate change.
  • The displacement of biomass by ethanol also results in a reduction in deforestation and freeing up of time that would normally be used for collecting firewood.
  • Sorghum is also an extremely versatile crop; the grains can be harvested and used for food and animal feed, substituting maize.  The foliage can be used as organic fertilizer or animal fodder as well. It is also drought tolerant and has been cultivated in Africa for two thousand years.


Impact to Date

  • Their product is on the verge of deployment. Subject to access to capital.
  • The Bio Moto cooker and fuel are interdependent and neither is available in the market independently. They will be sold together. Focused on entering the market within 6 months.