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Bothwell Batidzirai

Bothwell joined ERC in 2014 as a Senior Researcher with the Energy, Poverty and Development group



PhD (Bio-energy Systems Analysis), Utrecht University

MSc (Energy and Resources), Utrecht University

Bsc (Electrical Engineering), University of Zimbabwe


Current research interests: Energy for sustainable development, upscaling access to clean energy, improved and modern bioenergy technology assessment, bio-based economy, inclusive green growth


Bothwell’s research interests include investigating strategies for upscaling the deployment of sustainable energy technologies in the developing world as a vehicle for promoting economic development, improving the livelihoods of the marginalized, as well as protecting the environment. He has a special interest in the bio-based economy and in particular exploring mechanisms and strategies for deployment of improved and modern bio-energy technologies.


Currently, Bothwell is involved in the following studies:

  •       Assessment of barriers to the introduction and uptake of efficient cookstoves in Southern Africa funded by the EPSRC. This multi-disciplinary project includes partners from University of Nottingham, Practical Action, HEDON, CEEEZ (Zambia), Lilongwe University (Malawi), Ashden and CPEEL (Ibadan, Nigeria).

  •       Socio-economic impact assessment of training offered to Touws River community during the construction of the Soitec Solar CPV power plant in Cape Town. The project involves Soitec (the Independent Power Producer), Northlink College (a technical training institute), DEG (Germany) co-funding the training and ERC (supporting the design of the training and evaluation of the impacts).

Previous work experience

Before joining the Energy Research Centre in 2014, Bothwell worked as a Researcher with the Energy and Resources Group in the Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. His work focused on designing and optimizing bio-energy value chains. Prior to that, Bothwell also worked for Chinhoyi University of Technology’s Fuels and Energy department coordinating various courses on sustainable energy technologies, energy markets and policy and energy economics. He also worked as an Energy Services Engineer for the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority responsible for promoting the utility’s demand side management programme. In addition, he also worked as a Research Fellow at Southern Centre for Energy and Environment from 1994-1999 promoting sustainable energy, climate change mitigation and environmental sustainability awareness.


Selected recent publications

Peer reviewed journal articles

Batidzirai, B., van der Hilst, F., Meerman, J.C., Junginger, M. and Faaij, A.P.C. 2013. Optimisation of biomass supply chains with torrefaction technology. Biofuels, Bioprod. Bioref. 8:253–282

Batidzirai, B., Mignot, A.P.R., Schakel, W., Junginger, M. and Faaij, A.P.C. 2013. Biomass torrefaction technology - status and future prospects. Energy 62 (2013) 196-214.

Batidzirai, B., Smeets, E.M.W. and Faaij, A.P.C. 2012.Harmonising bioenergy resource potentials—Methodological lessons from review of state of the art bioenergy potential assessments. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 16 (1) 6598–6630.


Chapters in books

Batidzirai, B. and Johnson, F.X. 2012. Energy Security, Agroindustrial Development, and International Trade: The Case of Sugarcane in Southern Africa  pp. 254-277 In Gasparatos, A. and Stromberg, P. (Eds.) Socioeconomic and Environmental Impacts of Biofuels Evidence from Developing Nations. Cambridge University Press.

Batidzirai, B., Smeets, E. and Faaij, A.P.C. 2012. New Conversion Technologies for Liquid Biofuels Production in Africa. In Janssen, R. and Rutz, D. (Eds). Bioenergy for Sustainable Development in Africa. Springer Verlag.

Pacini, H. and Batidzirai, B. 2012. Chapter 14: The Development of Biofuel Capacities - Strengthening the Position of African Countries through Increased Energy Security. pp 331-349. In: Johnson, F.X. and Seebaluck, V. (Eds.) Bioenergy for Sustainable Development and International Competitiveness: The Role of Sugar Cane in Africa. Earthscan-Routledge.



Batidzirai, B. 2012. Chapter 7: Next generation liquid biofuel production. In Franke, B., Reinhardt, G., Malavelle, J., Faaij, A. and Fritsche, U. Global Assessments and Guidelines for Sustainable Liquid Biofuels. A GEF Targeted Research Project. Heidelberg/Paris/Utrecht/Darmstadt, February 2012.

Batidzirai, B., Bhattacharya, S. & Johnson, F.X. 2009. Best Practices in Energy Crops and Agro-forestry: A Review of International experiences and implementation strategies for Africa. Competence Platform on Energy Crop and Agro-forestry Systems for Arid and Semi-arid Ecosystems – Africa (COMPETE) - Deliverable 4.5: Report on recommended best practices for Africa and implementation strategy. 6th Framework Programme FP6-2004-INCO-DEV-3.

Batidzirai, B., Karekezi, S. and Kimani J. January 2009. Energy Technology Policy and the Domestication of Renewable Energy Technologies in Africa. AFREPREN/FWD. Paper prepared for the ‘Energy Technology Policy workshop’ organised by African Union - Scientific & Technical Research  Commission and the ICSU Regional Office for Africa; Pretoria -12 to 14 February 2009.

Zhou, P.P., Batidzirai, B., Simbini, T., Odireng, M., Wright, N. & Tadzimirwa, T. 2009. Biomass Energy Strategy (BEST) for Botswana. Ministry of Energy (Botswana)/GTZ.

Batidzirai, B and Wamukonya N. 2009. Biofuels and their implications for Africa’s development. FEMA Background Paper.