Ndirande Nkhuni Biomass Briquette Programme, Malawi
Malla Mabona, UNDP, 2001 (Discussed 10/2006)
The Ndirande Nkhuni Biomass Briquette Programme was initiated by the Nkhomano Development Centre, a non-governmental organization (NGO) active in natural resource management and conservation. The project was conceived following a 1996 study conducted in Blantyre City which revealed critical deforestation
of the Ndirande mountain forest reserve due to fuel wood gathering and timber pole harvesting. With the financial support of the Canadian Government, a project was initiated in April 1998 to produce briquettes from wood and paper wastes, agricultural residues and other biomass materials. The project was designed to address deforestation by providing alternative sources of energy, thereby reducing people’s
dependence on charcoal for fuel and allowing for regeneration of the Ndirande mountain reserve. It was also expected to allow the women involved to earn incomes, and to promote waste management through recycling of paper, sawdust and other waste materials.
The programme was intended to equip the women of Ndirande Township with the ability to produce,use and market biomass briquettes. The project engaged a wide selection of individuals and community development institutions in providing technical assistance for biomass briquette production activities. Learning from a prior UNDP-funded biomass briquette project, this programme emphasised the participation of women in project and
equipment design, and in the development of a comprehensive marketing plan.
See discussion by Richard Stanley (Legacy Foundation), Crispin Pemberton-Pigott (New Dawn Engineering) and Olof Nyström about Biobriquette testing:
See Stoves Archives 20 September 2001
Quoting Richard Stanley to rispin Pemberton-Pigott on Briquette Production
"ref the shape of the briquettes and the need or not for holes and 2) the 9
per time production machine for briquettes.
Sure one can make star, triangular or multi holed briquettes. The hole is
agreed the problem for mass production. Maintaing a center hole in a ram feed
or batch fed process, with a wet fibrous slurry matrix is a challange enough.
Multi hole configurations, at least for us were verymuch more difficult indeed.
The slurry has to be down to about 15% solids in order to flow-at least under
gravity pressure alone. It has to be distributed evenly about the piston /ram
in a very short time and has to allow for very rapid expulsion of water through
the matrix in production situations. Still, after having tested a few different
shapes star and multi holed, I have returned to the single hole. The advantage
of a hole as opposed to external recesses etc, is that the heat is being
reflected inward and onto other heated surfaces under an upward draft condition
in that hole. The creation of various external shapes in lieu of a hole at
least form out experience, had less effect than the hole in terms of that
thermal reflective effect.
Your nine per time machine: We had used a tobacco press screw press in
Malawi (the PAMET paper making cooperative in Blantyre still does) to bang out
several (up to about 12 briquettes at a time. It was found to be slower than
the two per time rate we used in the hand batch fed press. For us, training
entprepreneurs under basic rural / urban poverty situations, it boils down to
a simple question of person-hours per briquette. A 6 person team about one
press typically knocks out 500 of the 4" dia x 3 in tall briquettes per 6 hr
day . Our earlier 6" dia x 4" tall briquettes would come out at about the same
rate only they were not as practical in our local jikos / mbaulas in Kenya and
Malawi. (This rate includes the time for gathering resources, blending loading
and take off of the final product for drying.
Cost , with microenterprise based local production, (using a simple wood press
made locally with 10 yr lifespan) , mostly free local resources, and
distribution out of the doorstep is essentially the cost of the labor of the
worker/owner x 6 / 500 briquettes.
At an average daily wage for unskilled trainee = USD 2.00 to 3.00 per day,
gives a cost of between 2.4 and 3.6 (US) cents per briquette. Average
consumption was 2 Briquettes per person per day in those more tropical
latitudes. With a family size of 6 persons you are looking at a daily fuel cost
of 29 cents and 43 cents (US) per family per day for cooking and basic
sanitation. We found them to fall within the wood charcoal market ---for
household fuel---in most areas at this pricing --where they were buying wood/
charcoal, or walking more than 4 hrs per week to gather the former."