Fund for African Rural Innovation Promotion

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Charcoal Dust Brikets

Download 5-page PDF document with details

Download Photo-story of first training in Magunguli

Film about making charcoal dust in a pit

See Website of EFCO who are running this effort

A. This venture continues now with Emmental Forest Cooperation EFCO as the lead agency, partly financed by the REPIC program of the Swiss government. As its contribution FARIP has successfully initiated the first steps for then the REPIC funding to start and the further explorations to be taken over by EFCO.
The bottleneck now turns out to be that the technology we had acquired works, but this is home-technology not suited for the scale of production and impact we are envisaging. Further experimenting is therefore under way to mechanize the briketing in an affordable way and work out the operational procedures, before then starting regular sales through BOP outlets in Makambako and hopefully later in the large Tanzanian urban centers.
We are also discovering complex issues with the seasonal labour economy, the rains, and fire-prevention regulations. As always, the best way to work it out is by actually going out there and doing it and then see what happens and react in the best way. Action Research! .

B. On the positive side we found a very simple way to produce charcoal dust: The “Kon-Tiki” method with a simple pit and adding more and more biomass onto the fire in the pit, even if it is green or wet. See the below small film that shows the process. This has proven to be so effective that the teams have stopped using the drums. They are now busy producing chardust and earning regular income. We are stocking the dust for processing into brikets during the dry season when it is too dangerous to make open fires even in a pit. More recent experiences suggest this may turn out to be difficult in the long run. A lot of water is needed to be sure the fire is extinguished.

C. It has become clear that we must look for a safe, reliable and affordable machine to do the briketting. We must mechanize it in order to manage the volumes and in order to be competitive with the end-price of the brikets. For this purpose we are launching a separate FARIP venture for building and testing a prototype machine. See separate FARIP venture

Short description of venture
Charcoal use is rapidly increasing in urban centers. By far the most people use it for their cooking. It is a heavy burden on the forests. The idea is to process biomass waste into charcoal dust and to then compress that dust into brikets that replace the charcoal being used from cutting down trees. So now Bahat Tweve in southern highlands of Tanzania is exploring this venture:
Teams of 3-4 people will own or rent movable equipment with which they can convert any waste biomass (crop residues branches and twigs from forestry operations, cutoffs and sawdust, savannah grass, rubbish from cleaning fields, etc) into charcoal dust in the field. They then sell this dust to a briket manufacturing operation that produces brikets from this dust. Brikets are then sold in urban areas as they can be used exactly like the normal known charcoal.
A first training with ARTI ( resulted in charcoal dust production initiated in Mgololo area. Today teams are producing charcoal dust from biomass residues and waste (ie. NO trees) using a very cheap and simple pit method (“Kon-tiki”) that has proven to be most efficient.
Another challenge is to develop affordable machines that can do the briketting. The marketing of the brikets will then be taken care of through the Transaction Security Services of the company Biashara Mapema.
    Funding so far has been committed by FARIP initial funds and by the REPIC program


Status of financing


USD committed

USD not yet raised

A first training by ARTI in Magunguli was the first step, resulting in a demonstration to proof of technical and operational concept in the southern highlands and three chardust production teams operating regularly


Set up further chardust teams and get them started as independent producers


Set up the company and operations for briketting


 A 6-month production period will follow that will explore all the technical and operational issues and attempt to solve them


Develop and build/test  affordable extruders.
SEE separate FARIP venture


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