One cause that Jan Bonde Nielsen is most passionate about is that of providing families throughout Africa with clean, affordable gas. The current lack of access to clean gas is hurting people across the continent. For example, in Kenya, respiratory infections are one of the leading causes of premature deaths. The daily use of unclean household fuels often contributes to these respiratory infections. Wood and charcoal fires produce more deadly matter than diesel fuel. Burning these dangerous types of fuels creates a variety of pollution-based complications. Wood and charcoal put people’s health at risk, but they are also often the only affordable option. Cooking with liquid propane is too expensive for most people. Even if a family could afford to buy a little propane, they would have to pay an installation fee, as well as a routine charge for replacing tanks.
One group Jan Bonde Nielsen helped work with was Circle Gas, a company that created a new way to provide even the poorest Kenyan households with access to clean cooking gas. They don’t require an upfront charge, but instead customers can opt for a pay-as-you-go system. The family only receives as much gas as they want or can afford at that point in time. Jan worked with the founder of Safaricom, Michael Joseph, to develop smart chips for all Circle Gas meters. The smart meters determine when it’s time to refill the tank, then automatically alert Circle Gas if gas is running low.
Safaricom, the group Jan Bonde Nielsen worked with to develop the smart chips, is creating smart meters to contribute towards the global Sustainable Goals for economic growth, development, and socio-economic transformation. Their work wouldn’t be possible with their Narrow Band Internet of Things (NB IoT) network and M-PESA, a mobile phone-based money transfer service. Through NB’s IoT, they offer a low-power connectivity for devices around the country. This allows for remote monitoring and management of equipment such as the smart gas meters that they created.
Not only does this project make smoke-free cooking more affordable to many Kenyan families, but it also will help reduce the amount of health challenges created by using traditional dirty fuels that emit dangerous matter. Working to provide people with clean fuel will contribute towards making the global Sustainable Goals a reality, improving the lives for impoverished people across the country.