Sagar KAFLE, Lecturer in Agricultural Engineering (Nepal)

Kathmandu is one of the world’s most polluted cities and the health of the city’s population is suffering. Sagar Kafle is seeking to end coal fuel dependency by producing cleaner fuel pellets. In addition to this, he is encouraging societal change by educating young people and influencing policy makers.


Research focus: fuel pellets, energy policy, energy politics, renewable energy

Sagar is seeking to reduce dependency on coal. Sagar’s current workplace, Dharan, is greener and is about 400 km far from Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal. Kathmandu, along with other major cities has undergone significant population growth in recent years. This has coincided with an expansion in brick manufacturing; an industry that is 91% fuelled by coal. This has led to Nepal’s capital becoming one of the world’s most polluted cities. Consequently, the health of the population is suffering severely.
Sagar underlines that an infrastructure appropriate to deal with this problem effectively is lacking in Nepal. He also points out the lack of policy planning, which would be required to get sustainability efforts off the ground. Sagar therefore sees it as his responsibility to act on three fronts in order to curb polluting behaviours. Firstly, he hopes to educate and enthuse young people with sustainability science. Secondly, he is growing a political network in order to influence policy makers. Thirdly, he is developing a cheap and readily available alternative to coal.

For the past two years, Sagar has been giving lectures on research methodology and research related tools. He is also in the process of establishing a campus research laboratory. In both of these activities he is striving to provide students with the skills necessary to succeed in a career in sustainability science. In addition to this, Sagar is collaborating with the think tank group of his country’s former minister of science, technology and environment. He is also associated with the Asian Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs (AIDIA), a foreign policy think-tank based in the highly significant geo-strategic Himalayan region, Kathmandu, as a fellow. He is also persistently presenting green solutions to Nepal’s implementing bodies. Finally, Sagar’s scientific research has focused on producing fuel pellets. These can be made using waste materials from forest based biomass and agricultural crop residues. He is currently engaged in experiments on this cleaner form of fuel in brick kilns and cement factories.

The jury was impressed by Sagar’s dedication to reducing his nation’s dependency on coal. By tackling the issue on three fronts, carrying out scientific research, engaging with young people and influencing policy makers, Sagar is setting an example for how to forward the cause of sustainability.