Leocadia Zhou has completed her PhD in 2009 at the University of Fort Hare, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Zhou research expertise is in the area of biodiversity conservation, with extended interest in climate change impacts on food security. Currently she is the Programme Director of the Risk and Vulnerability Science Centre (RVSC) at the University of Fort Hare. The RVSC’s mandate is to generate and disseminate knowledge on risk and vulnerability on global change challenges to local municipalities and other potential users, in so doing provide knowledge brokering support for effective use of the South African Risk Vulnerability Atlas initiated by the Department of Science and Technology. Zhou’s activities revolve around governance, networking, research, and student training. She supervises Masters and PhD students recruited under the RVSC. Zhou has produced 2 book chapters in press and has also published papers on food security and biodiversity conservation in international refereed journals. Zhou serves as a project steering committee member of the Eastern Cape Anti-Poverty- Food Security.


Energy is the backbone of economic development of any community or society. However, the extraction and use of energy resources has major environmental implications depending on the type of energy utilized and the conversion methods or technologies employed. The majority of people in South Africa live in rural areas that are located outside the national utility grid or they cannot afford the present energy services. In most cases these areas are endowed with biomass resources in the form of waste produced from the operation of saw mills. These wastes are usually burnt in furnaces as a means for waste management and the practice results in a number of environmental and health challenges. This research was focused on turning the saw mill waste into energy (electricity) that is used to power a community bakery for community economic empowerment. This paper will present the project development stages, the socio-economic impact as well as the carbon footprint of the project.

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