Project Everest

Work Update

Prototyping, part 2: Agricultural waste briquettes

Krystal Kennedy
Krystal Kennedy | Jul 13, 2017 | in Knowledge Base

The Fuel team in July is currently engaged in the prototype stage of Design Thinking after Empathising with Fijian villages, Defining the problem and Ideating solutions. One prototype we are developing is the agricultural waste briquette following the work of the previous team.

The charcoal briquette is made from agricultural waste such as corn husk, sugar cane by-product and other plant based leftovers around the farm. This is particularly advantageous for the inland fijian villages given the primary source of income for theses villages is agriculture, particularly subsistence agriculture. The leftover waste produced from these farms can be burned into charcoal, crushed into a powder, mixed with a starchy porridge  such as cassava, formed into a brick and left to dry.

The benefits of converting the biomass into the briquettes is the fuel is sustainably sourced, reduces the waste left around the farm and the charcoal burns hotter and more efficiently than firewood (the most popular fuel currently in use). In addition, these briquettes also produce little to no smoke, which will reduce the amount and severity of illnesses due to smoke inhalation.

This decision is very exciting for our team and prototyping is expected to commence later today and testing early next week.

 It appears we have another clown car, kava excursion ahead of us!

edited on 24th July 2017, 04:07 by Krystal Kennedy

Vince Kostiono Jul 22, 2017

I did extensive research on this for the February project, but unfortunately, the weather at the time can be unforgiving. We could not carbonise the agricultural waste properly, which resulted in low quality charcoal. How successful are your attempts? If it is successful, is it a sustainable alternative? The villagers in Wema is open to the idea of a new fuel (I forgot to check with the others), are they still open to the idea now or do they prefer to stick with firewood?

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Krystal Kennedy Jul 24, 2017

Hi Vince,

We also had experienced some difficulty in carbonising the agricultural waste as the product created was difficult to light and sustain a flame. We suspect that the waste was left to burn for too long in our attempt, resulting in more ashes than the intended charcoal. We intend to keep pursuing this avenue as we see its potential in the future as an alternate fuel, particularly as a complement to our Rocket Stove.

In regards being a sustainable alternative, we have been looking into alternate types of agricultural waste such as coconut husks and coffee pulp, sourced from commercial plantations.

For following groups, further research and experimentation will need to be conducted with the various types of agricultural waste as well as to test in village and gauge the reaction of the alternate fuel.

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Vince Kostiono Jul 27, 2017

I suspect that you guys have seen the reports I put up during my trekker trip. If I remember correctly, my mistake during our attempt was that I sealed the container too early. Other than that, it should allow you to smoothly carbonize the waste. One thing I did not think of trying is to just lit the content from the bottom.

Lit from the bottom and once you see the fire burning on the top layer, then seal the container. This is actually a cross between the oil drum and mud-mound stove.

I guess your trekker trip has ended, and would not be able to try this. Hopefully, the next team (with or without me) will be able to give it a go. Thanks for the hard work, team July!

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Andrew Vild Sep 14, 2017

Status changed to Previous Work
Activity has died off on this thread and so we are working on slimming down ideas for the upcoming activity.

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