13 years ago Joel Chaney moved up to Nottingham to study Physics and French. A few months later he met Gareth Selby, an Architecture & Engineering student in the same city, whilst on a minibus traveling to Wales for a weekend of rock climbing. Over the years our friendship strengthened and in time we recognised an opportunity to combine our skills and experiences and work in partnership.
Joel recalls that it was during his year abroad in Switzerland, and conversations with friends there, that he realised that there were opportunities to use his engineering skills and creativity to make a positive difference in people’s lives. In particular he noticed that Christians were often involved in medical projects or water and sanitation programmes yet rarely talked about the negative impacts of wood smoke. In particular more than 2.6 billion people in the world continue to rely on solid biomass fuel such as wood, agricultural residues, straw or dung, for cooking, lighting and/or heating (International Energy Agency, 2013). Worldwide, nearly two million deaths occur annually from pneumonia, chronic lung disease, and lung cancer attributed to cooking with biomass solid fuels; 99% of these occurring in developing countries (UNDP, 2009).
At a similar time Gareth constructed a biogas plant at Mat to Fore, a charity that he is involved with in Ghana. He also underwent biogas training with one of the pioneers of biogas,