Haiti Reconstruction

Rebuilding Haiti must start from the ground up, with agricultural education

Most TLUD stove designers seem to prefer wood or grass pellets rather than pressed briquette pucks.

My experience in Haiti tells me that in order for new programs to succeed they must be implemented in a way that many people may profit. Grass pellets are very new and complicated for most Haitians. Now there is only one place in Haiti that produces them, there will be many more, but they will turn into big enterprises where few people make the money.
My concern is for Haiti's environment, I believe in biochar. But in Haiti it is worthless for fertilizer if it all ends up in the ocean! Vetiver grass hedgerows are the best way to save Haiti's soil and get trees to grow again! It takes years to see results so they need more tangible reasons to grow more of it.

I see briquettes advantages:
Make them close to where vetiver is growing
Vetiver farmers will have another opportunity to make briquettes and money for it.
These are some of the same people who cut down the trees and made charcoal to sell.
Briquettes can be transported in same white fiber bags they use to use for charcoal.

Possible pellet disadvantages:
Machinery is more expensive and takes electricity
Costs are going to be higher they will have to make lots of pellets to make it pay.
Less people employed and growers would get smaller share than with briquettes
Have to haul large loads of grass to the machinery.
This process may not make it be profitable enough for farmers to bother?

Otto Formo with Miombo told me: We have no problem with briquettes, but are a bit worried about the quality of locally made ones and the mixture of biomass. You can find quite reasonable priced pellets machinery to be used for grass, like the Vetiver.
The better the fuel is processed the better it will burn in any type of stove.

I have web pages for both Briquetting and Pelletizing I would like you to look at.

Dried grass can be ground and compacted into briquettes

Compacted into fuel pellets Click here.

 
I am thinking if we can make the quality of the briquettes good enough they can be chopped with their machetes into smaller pieces for the same stove?

Is this possible?

 

i would like a discussion on all your views on how to process the grass?

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Replies to This Discussion

 Pelletizing grass may be too energy and capital intensive for Haiti. There is an interesting system developed in India by ARTI, Appropriate Rural Technology Institute. 
http://arti-africa.org/2010/07/charcoal/
Won an Ashden Award:
http://www.ashdenawards.org/winners/arti
Uses 55 gallon drums filled with loose dry biomass inside a larger sheet metal kiln. After pyrolization the material is mixed with a binder and extruded with a modified meat grinder as charcoal "sticks", which are then sun dried. This may prove to be a more advantageous way of turning vetiver grass and other light bulky biomass into cooking fuel. Simplifies the whole process by avoiding the need for baling and chopping/grinding and reduces the transportation significantly, (by transporting charcoal "sticks" instead of bulky grass). Apparently being used in Tanzania and Uganda as well.
 They also have a mini pyrolizer (basically a large TLUD) for smaller scale:
http://biochar.bioenergylists.org/artileafkiln
Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any provision to use the excess heat for cooking, pasteurizing water, or drying of more biomass. A large TLUD (30 gallon drum inside 55 gallon drum?) could be used as the pyrolizer and for cooking and drying.

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