In 2013, a 17 year old boy from Kenya decided to use waste material to create clean energy.
Now aged 19, Tom Osborn has created wealth and is the founder of GreenChar, a clean energy start up that makes charcoal briquettes.
Growing up in a home that would often use wood and charcoal fuelled stoves, Osborn was motivated when he joined secondary school to find a solution to the household problem.
He was concerned about the safety of his mother in the rural part of the country who was diagnosed with a respiratory tract infection.
According to US government funded National Center for Biotechnology Information, exposure to indoor air pollution may be responsible for nearly 2 million deaths annually in developing countries and Kenya is among these nations.
It is during this period that Osborn and two of his classmates devised a plan on how they can create clean affordable energy.
GreenChar, now a globally known enterprise produces coal from recycled agricultural products like sugarcane waste.
The coals are said to be smokeless and therefore reduce the risk of getting respiratory tract infections.
Initially, Osborn together with his two partners started producing small quantities of charcoal briquettes on a daily basis in the backyard of his parents’ home. Soon after, Osborn won an innovation challenge and this paved way to expand the business.
Now with a manufacturing plant, GreenChar is able to produce 2,000 kilograms of briquettes a day, with the capacity to increase it to 3,000 Kilograms.
Even as the start up continues to grow in leaps and bounds, Osborn is focused on researching and developing other clean energy solutions.
The young innovator was recently named in the social entrepreneur category for Forbes 30 under 30.