Ener-G-Africa’s new stove and cookware factory in Paarl has big expansion plans

Ener-G-Africa’s Fab stove being used with its EcoPot

Ener-G-Africa’s Fab stove being used with its EcoPot

Published May 10, 2024


Ener-G-Africa, a Malawi-based company that operates in 14 countries, yesterday opened a factory in Paarl that produces advanced clean-burning, fuel-efficient stoves and cookware for local and other African markets, and there are plans to set up the biggest solar panel manufacturing plant in the country.

Energ-G-Africa CEO André Moolman said at the launch yesterday that they started the company in Malawi in 2007 to find ways to solve the problem many Africans have of spending, for example, more time and money on the fuel for their stoves, than on the food they were cooking.

The company came up with innovative designs that resulted in significant energy savings, not only in cooking time, but also in the cost of cooking and the environmental benefits of not using petrochemicals as fuels.

“Every day, millions of women across the continent have no option but to cook in unsafe conditions, using inefficient equipment. They spend hours collecting firewood for fuel, and cooking on primitive, unhealthy and often dangerous wood-burning stoves. We are looking to change that by providing accessible, cost-effective and innovative cookware that saves women time, money and fuel,” said Moolman.

The factory in Paarl, which employs 150 people, manufactures four ranges of stoves and other cookware, and all are made from stainless steel manufactured in South Africa, as opposed to the most common cookware available to lower income groups in South Africa, which are produced from aluminium.

The 3 200 square metre manufacturing plant currently manufactures an average of 450 units of cookware and 90 units of biomass cookstoves per day.

An example of the innovative design are its Fab stoves that use gasification technology to cook like gas, but with biomass as fuel, while its Mafecs stove is capable of being fuelled with whatever the fuel, including small pieces of wood, and the design was being further enhanced to also allow it to burn gas.

Drakenstein executive major Stephen Korabie said at the opening of the plant that the municipality was doing all it could to cut red tape on various applications and approvals processes so that they could promote economic development in the region – a good example of which was this new factory.

He said Drakenstein was recognised as a successful municipality, and the best in the Western Cape, having received totally clean, unqualified audits for 16 consecutive years.

On their plans for solar panels, Moolman said they planned to make larger solar panels for the residential market. He said the company already assembles small solar panels, up to 20 watts, at a facility in Pinelands, Cape Town, which was the second biggest solar panel plant in the country.

He said these panels, and the stoves and cookware, were mainly being sold through Ener-G-Africa’s own store network in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Angola and Tanzania, and also in South Africa. These smaller solar panels were mainly used for lights and cellphone chargers, he said.

He said while the global market for solar panels was oversupplied at present, and the South African market was awash with imported panels from China, very little of these were getting through to other African markets, which was why they planned to manufacture larger panels.

He said Ener-G-Africa’s planned new facility to make large solar panels for the residential market would be situated on a site adjacent to the new Paarl factory opened yesterday, and would likely be established this year.