The Need

We work to replace kerosene because it is:


4 billion people lack reliable access to electricity, with 1.8 billion people with no access to electricity entirely. Rural customers around the world are estimated to spend between $8 and $12 per month for replacement lighting services, including candles, kerosene, dry cells, or battery charging. These sources of energy are dirty and inefficient, and on a per-kilowatt basis they cost anywhere from five to 100 times more than modern fuels and electricity. As a result, lighting represents between 10 percent and 40 percent of a family’s income. Given that grid extension can cost up to $10,000 per kilometer, renewable energy lighting systems are needed to reduce the cost burden on rural households. Without affordable lighting, children cannot study at night, businesses cannot operate after sundown, mothers have difficulty cooking, and life overall is dramatically more difficult.


Kerosene and other fossil fuels produce noxious fumes that can lead to a variety of ailments. According to the World Bank, 780 million women and children breathing particulate laden kerosene fumes inhale the equivalent smoke from two packs of cigarettes per day. The result is that two thirds of the adult female lung cancer victims are non-smokers. Furthermore, carbon monoxide replaces the oxygen indoors, which can result in death. Nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides also cause lung and eye infections, respiratory problems and cancer, while volatile organic compounds also cause eye, nose, and throat infections, kidney and liver afflictions, and cancer. Poor ventilation compounds the problem, increasing the risk of serious health hazards that are serious and debilitating. Indoor air pollution often results in illness and death. In developing nations, acute respiratory infection, influenza and pneumonia caused by kerosene exposure kill over 1 million people annually, over 60% of whom are under age 14.

Environmentally Unfriendly:

Kerosene is a fossil fuel. In Nuru’s countries of operations (Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya, India), kerosene-based lighting systems result in over 25 million tons of carbon dioxide every year. Worldwide, kerosene is responsible for 100 million tons of carbon emissions annually. Kerosene also emits nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides, which contribute to acid rain and ozone depletion.


Kerosene lamps cause countless deaths by burns, fires, and suffocation. In Rwanda, 25% of households reported a kerosene related fire within the last year.

Unfit for Purpose:

The light provided by a kerosene lamp is dim and inefficient. The amount of light from the lamp is only about 1% of what the people in industrialized countries have for the same price and is only 0.2% as strong as a 60 watt light bulb. The light is so poor that children can only see their books if they are almost directly over the flame. As a result, they inhale even more of the toxic smoke. Besides being unhealthy, trying to do school work with a kerosene lamp creates a barrier to education and learning.

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