BY TOM ZIEMER

What if there were a way to reduce deforestation, promote sustainable energy, and improve waste management—all through one service?

That’s the idea behind Kaloli Energy, a proposal conceived by a team of University of Minnesota students that includes Carlson School undergraduate Claire Irwin, ’18 BSB. The startup, focused on the East African country of Uganda, was the winner of the international division at March’s Acara Challenge, an Institute on the Environment competition that asks students to dream up ideas to address global social and environmental issues. The Carlson School and the College of Science and Engineering are also partners in the contest.

As Irwin explains, about 90 percent of Ugandans use charcoal as their primary fuel source, which drives deforestation. At the same time, access to trash collection is a problem in Kampala, Uganda’s bustling capital.

The Kaloli Energy solution: Partner with GoodFire, a briquette supplier, and combine delivery of the briquettes with trash collection to offer an affordable solution to both problems.

“By bundling subscription-based briquette delivery with trash collection, which has high social value and demand, we achieved a low enough price point that it is cheaper for our customers to subscribe to Kaloli Energy than to stick with charcoal,” says Irwin, who’s majoring in international business and finance with a minor in entrepreneurial management.

“We want to make clean energy so convenient that it becomes the obvious choice.”

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