Alternative Charcoal Project Wins Development Marketplace

Amy Smith, Amy Banzaert and the rest of the Development Marketplace winning team Our colleague and advisory board member, Amy Smith along with the rest of her team has won a $199,650 Development Marketplace Grant from the World Bank for their “Fuel from their Fields Alternative Charcoal” Project [#07-0540].

Here is their description of the project from DM site at the World Bank.


To improve human health by creating micro-enterprises in Haiti that specialize in the production and sale of affordable, clean-burning cooking charcoal made from agricultural waste.


In Haiti, half of the population uses wood and/or agricultural residues as their primary cooking fuel. Breathing the smoke from these fires leads to persistent acute respiratory lung infections, mostly in children. Cleaner-burning wood charcoal is available at great expense (often 25 percent of a family’s income) leaving families with less income to cover basic health needs such as medications, food and clean water. A clean-burning, affordable cooking fuel can have major health, environmental and economic benefits for Haiti and other countries around the world.

Innovation / Expected Results

This project has developed an array of technologies to produce clean-burning cooking charcoal from agricultural waste materials at a lower cost than current methods. Converting agricultural residues to charcoal leads to a significant reduction in airborne particulates, and thus to improved respiratory health. This agro-charcoal does not contribute to deforestation and is more affordable than conventional wood charcoal. Moreover, local jobs and micro-enterprises will be created, further increasing incomes and consequently improving health. This project will train at least 1000 agro-charcoal producers, with a goal of achieving a production rate of 100MT (metric tons). By the end of two years, more than 10,000 families are expected to be using the agro-charcoal and producers’ incomes will increase by US$500. Since the process can use a variety of agricultural waste materials it can adapt to suit diverse local conditions and is thus easily replicable.

Congratulations, folks.

Also of interest:
Check out the Haiti section of the blog
D-lab/AIDG trip to Haiti