[Stoves] No subsidies in TLUD char peoduction
winter.julien at gmail.com
Tue Dec 5 21:26:49 MST 2017
Mahbubul Islam and myself have designed a TLUD-biochar intervention in
Bangladesh. We believe the technologies will be (have to be) successful
without subsidies. TLUDs and biochar have to survive on their own merit.
What subsidies can do is help to speed up the dissemination of the
technology and scaling-up.
Our first step was to design a culturally appropriate TLUD called the
"Akha". All of the components can be made locally without importing
materials (which are very expensive). The stove is not fragile, because
its outer body is made of light concrete, so you can stand on it, or bounce
a child off it.
We have just completed a prototype survey of 110 households, and the users
are very enthusiastic about the stove, despite having to size fuel, and
occasionally reload to keep cooking. Their main reasons for liking it over
a traditional stove are (1) a 25% saving of fuel, (2) low smoke emissions
and 'clean' cooking, (3) ability to turn down by half, (4) ability to stand
whilst cooking, and (4) greater comfort with cook experiencing less radiant
The stove has already cause one proposal of marriage.
They also state that making biochar is a necessary condition for
recommending the Akha, but I am not completely sure if the interviewers and
respondents fully grasped the meaning of 'necessary', given their
enthusiasm for the stove's performance. It was our expectation that
biochar could be the critical facilitator in cookstove acceptance.
Biochar is causing some excitement among farmers as they see the results of
their own field trials. They see biochar as a means to increase yields
whilst being able to reduce expensive fertilizer inputs. These trials are
ad hoc, and not good for making general recommendations. In the mean
time, however, biochar from the Akha Biochar Project has been sent to a
couple of local universities, and graduate students are using it for their
The impact of biochar will be affected by local soil conditions. If the
soil is fertile, but low in organic matter, then biochar could have big
impact on soil quality, and crop yield. Much of the agricultural soil in
Bangladesh is low in soil organic matter.
We have had one household broken into with the thieves making off with the
biochar, and nothing else.
Carbon credit funding would be helpful for expanding the Akha-Biochar
Project, but it involves measuring household production, and
record-keeping. Being able to provide evidence that char is being made,
and used as biochar has a cost. However, if the data is combined with
other socio-economic information, it can be very useful to see who is
benefiting from biochar, and the effects on food security and economic
Videos of the Akha can be found at www.biochar-bangladesh.org
I will be presenting the results of or preliminary survey at the ETHOS
conference in January.
The Akha-Biochar pilot project is being funded by ICCO-Cooperation,
Netherlands, and run through the facilities and staff of the Christian
Commission for Development in Bangladesh.
Cobourg, ON, CANADA
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