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 is operated by the 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. farip continues to provide logistical and conceptual support to the effort and is exloring the business options that evolve, eg. toll-processing for briketing, marketing outlets, etc.
A major problem was that the technology which was originally provided turned out to be not viable under the local conditions. Recently EFCO contracted Hüsler GmbH, a mechanical company from the Emmental, to come up with a solution. Hüsler made a prototype from a converted hydraulic wood-splitting machine and introduced it in Magunguli. So far it is working wonderfully.

B. 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. So we are now sure we fully grasp the technical issues and therefore the proof of technical and operational concept is achieved from charring biomass up to extruding brikets from chardust.

C. Marketing is just now starting with first attempts to market a fundamentally new product that replaces traditional charcoal made of wood for cooking, ie. made of waste biomass and packed in returnable boxes.

Testing with customers (restaurants) shows it has a good chance to compete with traditional charcoal made from trees

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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