Charcoal Briquette Maker
Amy Smith, D-Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Haiti is in dire need of an alternative fuel source. Currently, wood and wood-based charcoal are the primary cooking fuels in Haiti, but the country 98% deforested. Wood for charcoal is extremely scarce and demand creates soaring fuel prices and environmental devastation. With an average income of about one dollar per day, imported fuels are not a viable option.
A partial solution to these problems was developed by a team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Using little more than an oil drum and a starchy food known as manioka, they were able to transform a commonly available agricultural waste product into cooking-grade charcoal. Bagasse, the waste product from sugarcane processing, is used as the carbon source for the charcoal and provides an alternative to chopping down trees. Another motivation driving the project is to provide the technology required for the development of small sugarcane charcoal microenterprises. This project therefore not only creates jobs, but also puts an alternative charcoal in the marketplace that does not contribute to deforestation.