[Stoves] Wood/charcoal price in Cambodia

Ronal W. Larson rongretlarson at comcast.net
Sun Oct 6 13:05:49 MDT 2013

Rob:  cc Andrew, stove list, and adding biochar-production and Charlotte

    1.  This acknowledges two subsequent messages from Andrew and Rob - which I agree with,  but I want to comment on the following.

    2.  Cambodia has at least one very knowledgeable biochar advocate (and maybe producer)  - see
  Charlotte as of a few months ago was living in Phnom Penh, not Hawaii.

See notes below

On Oct 4, 2013, at 7:43 PM, Robdeutsch <robdeutsch at online.com.kh> wrote:

> To add to the discussion on bio char, local wood charcoal cost in Phnom Penh is about $0.30 per kg, and $0.25 in the Prey Vieng village were I am now. Semi-dry fire wood is $10.00 per m3.
     [RWL:   Different woods have very different weights per m3.  It would help a lot to get this in kg.  If 500 (on the high side maybe), this would make it  $10/500=$.02/kg.  So there is plenty of room for cooks to buy wood and sell char  (getting about 25% conversion - or paying about $.08 for the wood to make the char and getting back  $.12 to $.15/kg (wholesale) - or more if retail.  Even better than free cooking.
> My interest in bio char was just renewed by recent video post and the fact I find myself part owner of a small mango start-up farm here with my partner. We want to inter-crop with papaya while the mangos are small, but our soil is mostly heavy clay, it need compost and bio-char I think.   
     [RWL:  You may well have very applicable char near you.  Many (most?) of the early biochar tests - and still some today - have used roadside char.  I would start some small scale testing (yesterday) with any local material  (see the IBI site for some suggestions).  There are techniques (pH, electrical conductivity, etc) to guesstimate the production temp for any char, but this is not the place to go into that.
> I learned from the vdo that bio-char is made at a higher temp then normal dirty charcoal (450-500 centigrade) 
     [RWL:  Not necessarily.  I am pretty sure that most char produced at 450-500 can pass the IBI criteria (for H and O concentrations).  Some biochar experts advocate for these lower temperatures.
> Question for the group: would it be better to make bio-char from wood, or just reheat local charcoal to 450-500 degree?
     [RWL:   There are ways to get the higher temperatures from existing char (with charcoal-making retorts maybe - or mixing some char in with wood in a TLUD maybe) that wouldn't be too wasteful - but in general I agree with Andrew.  
       You can consider buying a bunch of TLUDs for your wood-using neighbors in exchange for the char they produce for (a guess) 12 months.  Payback for you could be a few months.  They ought to love you, if wood is free or cheap.  You can still get rapid payback if you also have to supply the wood, as well as the stove.   You should get about a kg char per day per stove - maybe more.  You could value at say $.10 per kg , it sounds for a stove costing $25  (a guess).  They can keep the stove and the char after 250 days (or less if they want a lot of hot water)]  $100 per ton char will be a great price for both you and the neighbors, probably.

> Cheers, Robert
> Prey Tasor village
> Cambodia
> Sent from my iPhone
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