Proposed Experiment

[Proposed Experiment]: Fuel Cambodia - Iterate on the prototype to implement current customer feedback and ensure possibility for scale in relation to manufacturing - July 2018

Lean Phase: Solution.

This experiment will focus on the ideation of briquette prototypes to incorporate the feedback from offer testing conducted in July.


  • The assumptions to test are as follows:
  • Hollowing the briquettes with a hole through the middle will decrease drying time and improve airflow through the stove
  • Briquettes can be made in various sizes to accommodate the needs of the customer and can still achieve the same burning efficiency
  • The current manufacturing process (briquette press) is inefficient and should be improved
  • We need to find a way to manufacture at scale

Time Box:

This experiment should be completed within the first 3 weeks of the December Project in Cambodia.

Success Metric:

  • To determine success we will measure the following:
  • Time required boiling point of water compared to charcoal (burning efficiency)
  • Length of time briquettes burn for and at what temperatures compared to charcoal
  • Percentage of people who prefer the briquettes over charcoal
  • Time reduced in the manufacturing process for briquettes compared to July methods

Green Light: If the briquette prototype test shows results equal to that of charcoal, and the manufacturing process is optimised by 50% compared to July methods, proceed to community testing with a focus on scalability. If you are able to manufacture 50 prototypes from one full 55 gallon drum of biomass that can burn for 2 hours in a New Lao Stove, this should be considered a success.

Orange Light: If you are unable to manufacture 50 prototypes from one full 55 gallon drum of biomass that can burn for 2 hours in a New Lao Stove, .

Or if you are but the manufacturing process is less efficient (1-2 days per briquette batch) than July, iteration on the briquette design, materials and infrastructure for manufacturing should be undertaken. Look into different materials of biowaste (e.g. Rice Husk, Sugarcane) as potential alternatives.

Red Light: If your test results are below that of charcoal, and your cost of manufacturing is higher than the cost of purchasing charcoal, this would be considered a failure. You should then focus on other alternate fuel sources that can be used to decrease cooking time as per the original offer testing feedback.

Experiment build:

The current prototype is inconsistent and not as compressed to an optimal level for long burning time. Customers have outlined the desire for alternative sizes for stoves and barbeques, with higher quality compared to wood charcoal a common trend as being important to them.

The prototype can be improved by:

  • Moulding the briquettes with a hole through the middle (tubes).
  • Improving composition of the briquette through improving crushing and mixing methods.
  • Resigning the manufacturing method to enable tighter compression (see below)
  • Allowing flexibility in the manufacturing method for other shapes and sizes of briquettes (interchangeable moulds)
  • Conducting research and testing into the optimum ratio and ingredients for briquette recipe

The manufacturing process is inefficient and the pressing mechanism broke during production of the MVP. The current design is attached and only allows for a single briquette to be compressed at a time.

  • Redesign and improve the press for efficiency (multiple briquettes at once), consistency in shape, and to allow for a hole through the middle of each
  • Investigate external press options (proper pressing machines) and in different sizes. Consider an extruding machine.
  • Improve crushing and mixing method to be more consistent and effective.
  • Investigate larger scale carbonisation methods (multiple oil drums at once, more efficient kilns).
  • Investigate larger scale and more efficient drying methods (using a kiln, storing the briquettes to enable quick drying, etc).

Attached is the data collected about the current prototype and manufacturing method, as per the success metrics above.


edited on 6th September 2018, 00:09 by Justin Hakeem

Cris Birzer 8 months ago

I'll read this all a bit later, but I question your assumption about surface area and burning efficiency. The fuel may burn quicker, but that doesn't mean more efficient. Let's say you can get the thing to burn really quickly at a really high temperature, then you just need more fuel and need to worry about burning the food as well. You would be better off finding the "right" burn rate for given food, and then modifying your briquettes to achieve that outcome (ie right temperature, sufficiently long burn rate, low harmful emissions).

Reply 1

Thomas de Heus 8 months ago

Hi Cris,
Yeah that's an excellent point and I'll update the wording accordingly. Completing this goal in December warrants a lot of initial research into optimising the briquettes, all of which can be done from Australia. That point was added based on the traditional briquette design including a hole through the middle, as our MVP lacked that due to pressing design limitations. The hole will enable the briquettes to work better with the airflow in the new lao stove.

Any feedback and resources on optimising the briquettes is appreciated!

Reply 0

Justin Hakeem 7 months ago

Status label added: Proposed Experiment

Reply 0