Focus Energy 2006 and Improved Charcoal Production Technology developed in Africa/India- "goes Europe"!

Focus Energy 2006 Prize and Improved Charcoal Production Technology developed in Africa/India- "goes Europe"!
Chris Adam, Nairobi, Kenya, November 21, 2006

Focus Energy 2006Focus Energy 2006

The German Design Prize "FOCUS ENERGY 2006" has been awarded to the
"adam-retort" a low-cost carbonization system for a more environmentally friendly charcoal production
from bio mass in South Countries.


This Design Prize is normally given to industrially produced items like, efficient washing machines, innovative efficient electric bulbs, etc.
Its impressing that the jury also selected as an "outsider"- a product which is manually constructed (more or less like a mud stove)
and needs craftsmanship to build it and is mainly designed for rural areas and semi-industrial application.

For the sixth time, the Design Center Stuttgart called for entries for the Baden-Württemberg International Design Award, which again focused on a special topic. For designers and businesspersons alike, the competition's unique character is a special challenge, and for this year's topic - energy - the standard for assessing products was particularly high.

Focus Energy International Design Award Baden-Württemberg 2006

It shows a change of greater awareness for environmental issues, even in this level of industrial production and high-tech management.
Improved Charcoal Production Technology developed in Africa/India- "goes Europe"!

"A system for a more environmentally friendly charcoal production- newly developed and designed in India and Africa - goes Europe...."

Last October I installed for the first time in Europe a unit of the "adam-retort" a more environmentally friendly low-cost charcoal production system for bio mass.
The "adam-retort" was developed in East Africa and India and normally this adapted technology is not dropping "North".


A German farmer who is doing casually traditional charcoal production is fond of the low-cost retort system.

His main argument is that he can now handle the unit alone, without the help of other colleagues.
Before when occasionally traditional charcoal burning was done, a team of 4 workers had to be organized to load and unload the earth mount kiln and to organize a 24 hour surveillance shift over 5 days!
Stress and personal resentments developed within the group.

Now, whenever the farmer has some time left, he can start carbonization alone, whenever he needs to make a break, he can safely stall the process and take it up the next day.

He gets about 220kg of good charcoal from beech wood, plus some additional charcoal fines per batch.
the wood chamber volume takes about 3m³ of wood or biomass.
He can make 3 batches per week.

Apart from this, another unit was build by a farmer in Turkey. The farmer was already doing traditional charcoal making.
He build the retort unit accordingly to a manual with photos, text and construction drawings and most important with technical backstopping done by myself per sms from Kenya.
Its delicate to introduce by distance such relatively complex unit.
The main problem is that as long, as i did not see what he was building, his construction might differ from the one which should be supposed to be and we might not speak about the same technical arrangements.

But anyhow its a step further to produce charcoal from wood or other biomass with half of the wood needed and up 75% less harmful emissions- compared with traditional carbonization.
Other retort units are planed to be build for Zambia, Kenya, Lebanon and Mexico.
Chris Adam

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adam + partner
Appropriate Technologist + Industrial Designer

B.P. 15929

mobile: +254-72 5858 612
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