[Stoves] briquette errata

Richard Stanley rstanley at legacyfound.org
Fri Oct 4 14:45:05 MDT 2013


We have learned that briquettes have to assume a real and competitive local market value. Otherwise they are a nice exercise in development but one that in the long run will discourage trust and further involvement. 
 The focus of our onw exrtension efforts is therefore to create micro enterprises whethe of a few producers as private entrepreneurs or a community  group but one which is  supply the briquettes to replace fuelwood or charcoal ---for an income. 

It just also happens to do good things for the community and the  environment etc etc. but in the main, it is there to be made and sold and consumed  in the local markets.
This tough love approach costs us 30 to 40% of the trainees who had other expectations more in line with conventional donor dependence-creating development perhaps,  but what happens is the eventual unsubsidised, self regulated expansion of producers and form that base, trainers and equipment suppliers out into hat is becoming a fantastic network of like minds with unique contributions... We are learning far more than we could ever teach by now...

Char and briquettes;
Char is gold to the briquette producer, where a charcoal blend is in demand and they will readily use it to enrich the blend--.  

The producer can extract  as much as 30% of the original weight of the briquette of av. 130 to 150 grams/ bq) in the form of char and,as you and others on this list have steadfastly preached for years now,  reduce the risk of CO pollution.   That much char, going into the next  briquette,  will help greatly to densify it, darken it and give it the appearance and performance of a charcoal- like fuel again where there is a demand for a charcoal like product. 

Such a briquette will command far higher selling price at no real added production cost, as it is usually like hte other resources very local in origin.. (in-fact as it is readily crumbled it is actually easier to utilise than grasses straws etc etc.. 

Briquette value; 
The briquette made at the micro enterprise level is almost 90% dependent upon labor cost.. Its value is roughly 1.5 to 4% of the micro entrepreneur-producer's daily wage. The  range in production cost per briquette, is  3 to 8 cents (thats accounts for about 90% / ~w/in 1 s.d./ of the cost variation curve), globally. Rainy season can double these figures. Generally the family of 5 in the domestic situation using them for cooking and hot water washup, will consume about 12 such bqs a day…at a cost of 36 to 96 cents per family per day. 

As calculated by weight (although its potentially huge mistake in equilibrate bulk mass energy output of biomass to that of  a well made hollow core briquette---for cooking --at least in a domestic stove and cooking situation, in the developing nations)  , the briquettes would sell for between  0.42 to 1.13 CENTS per kg…

There are higher capacity -but still hand operated– presses being used now that can likely reduce this cost by more than half see Fuego del Sol's in Haiti and that of Toln project in Hungary and soon to be Fundacion Progressars project in Guatemala) but for now for most of the producers we know of,  these are the figures we have.

Packaging and mode of sales;
I've personally  never heard of 40 to 50 kgs bags of briquettes, it because it is generally impossible to stuff that many briquettes into, even the larger, ~1.5 mtr tall X ~60cm diameter, guinea sack ≈ the ones found in most of the rural economies of the developing  nations. Such bags could only contain ~125 possibly 150 of these– at maximum- 150 gram briquettes…. ie maximum weight of  of about 23kgs
They are sold in ten packs on a string, six packs  or more in the typical plastic shopping bag, in the mentioned- albeit, usually smaller - guinea sacks containing as much as 100 bqs or so.  

As to distribution; its very local.
Most sales happens off the back stoop/ yard/community center etc.,--where production is on-going or ,  within the local walk/bike - in markets. Adding the cost and handling for transport to reach the more distant markets, will tend to drive the cost up substantially for these relatively low economic value- per- volume, briquettes
That and the fact that the product can be readily replicated at these distant points by the dedicated local entrepreneur team, all boils down to an activity which is incentivised to sell at fairly local markets, whether urban or rural. 

Well the suns out today and its now a good time for processing our leaves into the required mash for pressing into the  winters supply of bqs here.. There is nothing as effective as  a scrap garbage disposal mounted into a scrap sink which is set into a 2 x 4s card table sized  frame for doing that by the way… 

pressing on...

Richard   Stanley
Ashland Or. 


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