[Solution]: Fuel Timor - December 2018

Fuel in Timor-Leste in December have come up with three possible solutions to problems that we have identified, most significantly the large amounts of smoke produced in the current cooking process, and the costs and availability of wood or alternative fuel sources. These solutions are briquettes, a briquette press and rocket stoves.


Fuel has created energy briquettes made from biomass materials such as sawdust, a cornstarch binder and carbonised coffee husks. A majority of people use firewood and a three stone fire for cooking, this uses large amounts of firewood and produces lots of smoke which is extremely harmful to people's health and the environment. The briquettes are burned in the same way as firewood which is a key selling point for the locals as they don't need to change their current cooking method or purchase new equipment . The briquettes would be manufactured and supplied by PEV as an alternative to wood. The briquettes have many advantages compared to firewood; they give off less smoke, more efficient as they give of more heat and burn for longer. They take up a lot less space to store. The is a very viable option as there are a wide range of suitable materials in Timor.

Next Steps:
Currently we have produced prototypes made from carbonized coffee husks (waste from a coffee processing plant), sawdust and cornstarch as a binder. In the future we plan to test the types of briquettes made and compare. We also plan to iterate the is process and use a more sustainable binder, like paper or cardboard recycling. Developing robust recipes and procedures for making the briquettes from a range of local ingredients is a longer term goal. This also applies to the briquette press below.


Briquette Press
Fuel has worked on creating a prototype Briquette Press, which we are currently refining for later testing and demonstrations. The prototype was made to be easy to use, assemble and provide a significant amount of force. This would allow people to produce Briquettes in their homes with any material they have available. The original design is based off of Engineers Without Borders’ Micro Compound Lever Press.

Next Steps:
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 relevant crowdicity experiments will be linked here.


Rocket Stove
The rocket stove is a familiar design that has been used by PEV previously. It has an insulated chamber that improves burning fuel and directs the hot gas flow to the cooking vessel. It ensures almost complete burning before the flames reach the cooking surface. Fuel is burned in a simple burning chamber containing an insulated vertical chimney. As the stove has more complete combustion than a three stone fire, less harmful substances are produced thus improving health and reducing pollution. It also uses less firewood so it will help save money in the long run. The design of the stove means that it is portable and lightweight and it is easy to repair in the off chance that it breaks. It greatly improves efficiency as wood smaller than traditional firewood can be used in the stove and because the stove burns more completely, it can cook faster. The stove has been a viable option in Fiji and we think it can be viable in Timor-Leste too. There is a small prevalence of stoves in Timor and so familiarity is higher than that of briquettes in general.

Next Steps: As the designs for the Buka Stove 4.0 and 5.0 are available from the Fiji team, the main work to be done is sourcing manufacturing and supply of materials in Timor. This encompasses all facets of manufacturing, as well as considering importing as an option.

This falls under a cost analysis and is something that is needed for all three solutions. See this linked experiment for more detail: (Link to be added here once cost analysis posted)

Lucy Preiss 5 months ago

Great post guys, thanks! Make sure you are sticking to only discussing the solution here (you could link to the problem post rather than discussing in the first and second paragraphs). Could you please also add links to how you are making the solutions, this might be an SOP for the briquette or a link to the briquette press crowdicity post. Will the next steps for each solution be linked to experiments for January and February?

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Lucy Preiss 5 months ago

Status label added: Solution

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