In May 2005 the foundation Fuels from Agriculture in Communal Technology (FACT) was founded by the late professor Kees Daey Ouwens, a renowned Dutch pioneer in renewable energy.
Prof. Kees Daey Ouwens
(†10th of October 2007)
The general objective of FACT was: “to support income generation of the rural population in developing countries by the sustainable production and use of biomass for energy purposes, with a focus on biofuels”. In the period between 2005 and 2014 the foundation has carried out several projects in developing countries. A typical example is the rural power plant in Garalo, Mali, opened in 27 November 2008, and aptly named after his initiator. The FACT foundation has generated a broad range of factual knowledge and expertise on bio-energy, but unfortunately had to close down in 2014 due to insufficient financial resources.
A group of people in The Netherlands, active in the bio-energy field and/or formerly involved in the activities of FACT, decided to save the intellectual heritage and knowledge generated by the FACT Foundation. The group decided to create a new foundation, formally signed on the 10th of October 2014: Bioenergy Forum FACT (BFF). One of the goals of BFF is to ensure that the knowledge that has been generated by FACT will remain available in the public domain for practitioners and researchers in the field. Therefore this website has been created, which contains a database with most of the original FACT documentation, to which relevant new bioenergy documents are added by the BFF board members. The focus remains on bioenergy applications for developing countries, in particular for rural communities.
The board of the BFF Foundation presently consists of six members. A short introduction of each member is given below.
Erik Lysen, Chairman
He is director of LYSEN Consulting Engineer in The Netherlands, and has a long time energy experience. After his retirement in 2011 he became board member and later chairman of the Dutch trade organisation Holland Solar, and chairman of the Dutch TKI research committees on Urban Energy, and advised the Sri Lankan Government on renewables, all until 2016. From 1998 until 2011 he was managing director of the Utrecht Centre of Energy research, at Utrecht University. There he initiated and managed a broad range of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, such as managing the FACT Foundation (2007-2009). From 1992 to 1998 he was managing the national research programmes for solar PV and solar thermal energy at the Energy & Environment agency NOVEM. He was consultant from 1982 to 1992 and carried out energy missions in Sri Lanka, India, Philippines, China, Indonesia, for the World Bank, ADB and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Janske van Eijck, Secretary
Janske’s main expertise is in the field of bioenergy in which she started to be active in 2002. She has a strong academic background but also extensive hands-on experience. Via her Master thesis, partly supervised by Kees Daey Ouwens, she became familiar with Jatropha and continued to work in the field of jatropha for the next 8 years. First, while managing a jatropha bioenergy facility in Tanzania for three years. After this she pursued her PhD degree at Utrecht University, focusing on socio-economic impacts of various biofuels in developing countries. She also executed numerous researches into the effects of jatropha projects, e.g. in Tanzania, Mozambique, Mali and Benin. She is passionate about stimulating rural development, and enhancing sustainability by taking several aspects such as feedstock, cultural values and the balance between economic and social benefits into account during project implementation.
Henny Romijn, Treasurer
Henny Romijn is an Associate Professor of Technology & Development Studies at Eindhoven University of Technology. Her main research focus is on the role played by renewable energy innovations in poverty alleviation and fostering sustainable development in developing countries, and the trade-offs that are often produced between social, environmental and economic dimensions of sustainability outcomes. Before joining Eindhoven University, she worked at the International Development Centre of the University of Oxford, the Institute of Social Studies (The Hague), Tilburg University, UNCTAD, and ILO. She participated in different small enterprise support programmes in East Africa and South Asia and lived in Kenya and India for several years.
Flemming Nielsen, International coordinator
Flemming Nielsen is an Agricultural Geographer who is focusing on improving the livelihood of smallholders in Africa. In 2004 when he was Technical Adviser on agricultural research to the Government of Mozambique he began exploring the suitability of Jatropha for local energy production in Central Mozambique. In 2005 he met Jan de Jongh and was introduced to the FACT Foundation. From 2006 till 2010 he was managing the research component of the R&D FACT/ADPP Jatropha Project in Northern Mozambique, a project that tested if local energy supply from Jatropha is feasible. Five years after the project terminated farmers continue to grow Jatropha and produce about 12.000 litre oil per year that is consumed by 300 maize mills.
For many years Flemming has been researching agroforestry, carbon sequestration and biochar. He is one of the founders of the Banana hill consulting company and is currently working as System Agronomist for IITA, based in Bukavu, DR Congo.
Ruud van Eck, IT and business contacts
He is an Independent renewables & environment professional /entrepreneur.
"Since founding FACT I remained in the board as treasurer with Kees Daey Ouwens being the executive director in charge. The ‘leitmotif’ to found FACT in the first place also manifests itself in being a social entrepreneur promoting sustainable energy production to combat poverty in Eastern Africa. The experience, drive and motivation also makes me a much sought after speaker at international conferences on energy, sustainability and social issues. Presently I am working on the social and economic impact of ageing of the European population."
Jan de Jongh, Knowledge Database manager
With a background in technology (M.Sc. from Delft University of Technology) Jan de Jongh became a development worker with more than 25 years of experience in over 25 countries worldwide in the fields of renewable energy and water. He is also owner of ARRAKIS (www.arrakis.nl ). In the field of biofuels he was the main editor of the ” FACT Jatropha Handbook ”, 2010 and was co-author of the book ” Jatropha for local development, after the hype”, Nielsen at all, Hivos, 2013. His view is that development can only take place when everyone gets access to all existing and in future generated knowledge. The valuable knowledge generated by FACT in the field of bio-fuels for rural development should therefore stay in the public domain for those who need it. Therefore he wholeheartedly supports the initiative of this new Foundation: Bioenergy Forum FACT.