Work Update

[Work Update]: Fuel Timor-Leste - Briquette Press Prototype - December 2018

Fuel has worked on creating a prototype of the Briquette Press, which we are currently refining for later testing and demonstrations. The original design is based off of Engineers Without Borders’ Micro Compound Lever Press.

The prototype uses briquettes made of standard biomass materials and was made to be easy to use, assemble and provide a significant amount of force. The Briquette Press would also be used for later testing to see if villagers interested in the solution like the prototype design. The micro Briquette Press was made out of a wood size of 25x180mm, as the recommended 40x100 dimensions were not available in the area.

The process is as follows:

  1. Creating the press - Bolts/washers/drill bits/screws were bought based on what was available in the hardware store. Adjustments and customisations were made to several of the original design’s parts such as J, K and H based on the different wood used, availability of space and level of requirement in the prototype.

  1. Making the briquette mould - Made from offcuts of the wood. Screwed together 4 pieces of wood into hollow cube with no top or bottom it has opening size 86x140mm. Many holes (approx 8mm) were drilled in to the wood to let the liquid drain out. It has a bottom plate and a top plate which is placed into the mould after it is filled.

  1. Pressing the briquettes - The mixture is placed into the briquette mold until almost full (see attached files for details of the briquette press parts sizes and design). The mold is then placed into the press then a small wedge of wood is placed on the top plate and pressed until all moisture is squeezed out. The top and bottom plates are then removed and the briquette is slowly pushed out then left to dry.

We now aim to put the first Briquette Press prototype to test. We will test to determine the efficiency of the apparatus and how repeatable the process is. Furthermore, we intend to conduct qualitative tests with potential customers to gain their feedback on usability and design.


The required wood, bolts, washers, drill bits and screw sizes were not available. The size of the design also takes up a lot of space and the screws used were weak and tended to snap even though pilot holes were drilled.


Cris Birzer 6 months ago

Are there any IP issues with copying this design?
Also, are you planning on a metal version, since I suspect beyond a prototype, timber is not the best option.

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Alexander Teicher 6 months ago

Hi Cris, IP shouldn't be an issue as the design is open source as stated here:

This is an early prototype with dual purpose of a: allowing us to test and iterate a briquette press and b: quickly test different recipes for briquettes using locally sourced ingredients.

For a production/sale model we would be looking into a metal version yes, however preliminary investigation into material costs to make a stove have shown metal to be rather expensive. The tradeoff between lifespan and cost would have to be looked into when we get to that point. At the moment we are yet to determine if there is much interest in the briquette press, hopefully by the end of January we will know if it is worthwhile pursuing or not.

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Cris Birzer 6 months ago

Cool. As long as you have considered all of those issues, then it should be good. You could also look at what MIT's D-Lab have done in this field (sorry, no links).

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Lucy Preiss 6 months ago

Status label added: Work Update

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Thomas de Heus 5 months ago

The design looks awesome, having experimented with a small caulking gun for pressing in the past I think this will be far more reliable and strong. Well done guys!

Maybe add to this, or as a seperate post about briquettes, how the briquette mixture was made. Alternatively (shameless plug), reference the below post from Cambodia fuel just so people reading have an idea of the process involved in producing the mixture to be compressed. I couldn't see it anywhere on Crowdicity so ignore this if it is already there.

Cambodia post, which I believe you followed in the production:

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Francis Mendez 2 months ago

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