Energy supply and use in a rural West African village

Nathan G. Johnson, Kenneth M. Bryden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Over three billion people live in the rural areas of low- and middle-income countries. Often rural households have many unmet energy needs, including cooking, lighting, heating, transportation, and telecommunication. Designing solutions to meet these needs requires an understanding of the human, natural, and engineered systems that drive village energy dynamics. This paper presents the results of a novel study of energy supply and use over a one year period in an isolated rural village of 770 people in Mali. Quantitative data and narrative descriptions from this study portray village energy supply and use. Annual village energy use is 6000 MJ cap-1 yr-1. Domestic energy needs account for 93% of village energy use. Wood is the primary energy source and provides 94% of the village energy supply. Approximately 98% of the wood is used for domestic consumption. The uses of wood in the home are cooking (52.2%), heating water (22.2%), space heating (19.1%), and other activities (6.5%). This paper also reports variations in energy usage over the period of a year for a broad range of domestic, artisan, transport, and public energy uses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-292
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Developing country
  • Rural Africa
  • Sahel
  • Sustainability
  • Village energy
  • Wood consumption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Pollution
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Energy(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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