Last August around this time, Pete and I were in Haiti with the Amy Smith and the rest of the Ekip Charbon. Here is a roundup of the posts I wrote during the visit, plus a photo-spread of the charcoal making process.
Wood charcoal is the primary fuel used for cooking in Haiti. Unfortunately with rampant deforestation, alternative fuel sources are desperately needed. Agricultural wastes, such a sugar cane begasse, can be used to make cooking grade charcoal that works BETTER than wood with lower carbon monoxide, SOX and NOX emissions. Booya.
A wide variety of wastes can be used to make alternative charcoal. Corn cobs are especially fab as they can be carbonized, then used without further processing. At this year’s IPIDAT conference, we made sugarcane charcoal, then used them to grill veggie burgers.
The charcoal is made within a kiln. Oil drums are a very nice option for this purpose, as they tend to be easy to find. Here, participants in the charcoal workshop in Cap make air holes in the oil drum.
The bagasse which had been dried in the sun the previous day is inserted into the oil drum.
After you set fire to the bagasse, you will get a thick yellow smoke.
After 10-15 minutes, the smoke will subside and be replaced by fire.
Onto the carbonization stage. Time to seal the kiln to cut off air flow. Pop on the lid, then top with sand.
The binder for the briquettes is a porridge made of grated cassava (picture above).
The cassava porridge is mixed into the charcoal.
Briquettes are hand made in the handy little press.
The participants at the workshop in Cap Haitien
A UN solider/peacekeeper. Either I or Bill snapped a shot of him while driving back to the Haiti/Dominican border.
Last year’s Haiti trip
If you’re interested in knowing what the trip was like in ridiculous detail:
Safe and sound at the Domus
First impressions of Haiti
Results of Water purity testing (Cap-Haitien)
The Pepe Market
A Patch of Blue: In Search of Tarp in Cap Haitien
Appropriate technology and design changes
Final Prep before tomorrowâ€™s charcoal Training
Training Day 1
Ants and Advil
Training Day 2 and Questions about a Charcoal Business
Water purity testing (Part 2)
Bill and the Fishing Cooperative
Iâ€™m sick and tired of all these goats on all these boats
Hostellerie du Roi Christophe
Presenting the peanut butter maker in Petite Anse
The trip back to Ouamaninthe