We help transfer new technologies and developments in the fields of Emerging Energy products and Green Technologies to rural Forestry and Farming communities. It is also our goal to work closely with NGO’s, Governmental- and Charitable Organizations to effectively achieve this transfer of information. Our products and services will reduce energy demand, improve quality of living and promote self-sufficiency.
All of the products displayed below are available on our Online Shop page. Click/Tap on the Online Shop button below to see our range. Products are delivered overnight through an efficient door-to-door delivery service.
(Tangible products delivered within South Africa only)
Portable Solar Products and Gadgets
Vuthisa Solar Initiative aims to consolidate and brand together a range of high quality renewable and efficient energy products. The product range include:
Solar Phone Chargers
Solar Light & Charger Combos
Solar Lighting Systems & Power Supplies
For more information kindly visit:
EcoZoom Stoves burn cleaner, use less fuel, and are more economical than any other stove of their kind. It’s based on the rocket stove design principle, invented by Dr. Larry Winiarski from Aprovecho Research Center (ARC) USA. The StoveTec range of stoves was launched in 2008 and Aprovecho won the prestigious Ashden International Energy Champion Award for 2009. StoveTec (rebranded EcoZoom in South Africa) have disseminated over 100,000 stoves to impoverished communities in the last year alone.
“Many villages have very smoky kitchens and this has a negative impact on worker morale and performance….”
We are advocating a way of life reminiscent of simpler times where wood stoves were a common sight before LPG or paraffin stoves or even before electric stoves, but with increased efficiency and fewer pollutants. The knowledge of fire-making extends back some 400,000 years and we must not underestimate the cultural importance of having a visible flame inside a home not only for the purposes of cooking and heating, but to serve as a gathering point for all members of the family to congregate and bond as a family. Couple that fact with the alarming increase in costs associated with electricity and other cooking fuels and you have a winning combination. Apart from monetary savings, these types of advances in stove technology have seen an increase in the health and overall well-being of the stove users and their families. Many villages have very smoky kitchens and this has a negative impact on worker morale and performance. Indoor smoke inhalation gives rise to pneumonia and other respiratory infections – the biggest killer of children under five years of age. Indoor air pollution (IAP) is responsible for nearly half of the more than 2 million deaths each year that are caused by acute respiratory infections (ARI). Good ventilation and improved cooking stoves can dramatically reduce children’s exposure to smoke.
The ceramic-lined EcoZoom (Rebranded in South Africa) stove is very fuel-efficient (conserves wood) and emits 70% less smoke. It can also be quite costly to maintain or replace old-fashioned metal and cast-iron stoves. We recommend that these old stoves are replaced with 3 EcoZoom stoves, cemented into a docking station, effectively creating a 3-pot stove at 30% of the cost of replacing or repairing a worn out stove model. A smoke hood is then installed above the stoves to guide emissions, especially at start-up, out of the home. Alternatively the Plancha which has a cast iron cooking top and external chimney comprising two EcoZoom stoves may be more appealing to higher end homes.
Vuthisa was recognized for the work it did in promoting clean burning cookstoves and was recently added as member number 568 of the prestigious Partnership For Clean Indoor Air (PCIA). The Partnership for Clean Indoor Air was launched at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in September 2002 to address the increased environmental health risk faced by three billion people who burn traditional biomass fuels indoors for cooking and heating. This voluntary Partnership brings together governments, public and private organizations, multilateral institutions, industry, and others to increase the use of affordable, reliable, clean, efficient, and safe home cooking and heating practices. The mission of the Partnership for Clean Indoor Air is to improve health, livelihood and quality of life by reducing exposure to air pollution, primarily among women and children, from household energy use.
For more information kindly visit:
Sunfire Solar Solutions
The SunFire range of Parabolic Cookers represents the fastest way to Cook using only pure sunlight! Simply place a pot of food or water on the pot stand and turn the outer focus parabolic dish towards the sun and just like a magnifying glass all of the sun’s rays will be concentrated on the bottom of the pot, and heating it up just like a fire or hotplate would. Solar cookers use pure sunlight as their sole source of energy and will faithfully serve you for at least 10 years, without any running costs. Let the sun power your life! It can also be used to sterilize drinking water. All three models are of thin steel (lightweight) construction with a foil coating that can be replaced if damaged. The assembly kits are compact and easy to courier and assemble. See table below of the various models, power output and specifications. The Sunfire 18 is reputed to be the fastest cooker on the planet!
|Model no.||Dish size||Power output||Weight||Assembly kit dimensions|
|Sunfire 12||1.2 m||500w||12 kg||65 x 60 x 10 cm|
|Sunfire 15||1.5 m||1000w||16 kg||80 x 72 x 10 cm|
|Sunfire 18||1.8 m||2000w||20 kg||75 x 75 x 14 cm|
Solar Sunfire Solutions Promotional Video:
Firewood dependence for cooking in the developing world has resulted in forests being depleted at a rate of 2.5 to 3% per year. It is here in the poorest parts of the world that villagers spend a good portion of their time gathering wood to cook, heat and make charcoal. To counter this dependence on wood, efforts were made in the early 80’s to come up with alternatives. One such alternative being explored was making fuel briquettes from non-woody biomass for cooking. Dr.Bryant and students at the University of Washington in the USA developed a novel low-cost briquette making process using non-woody agricultural residues, ordinary water and a hand-operated wood press.
“Anyone can make briquettes from their own leaves, grass, straw and paper”
The briquette process was simple and could be established in poor rural communities, requiring little technology and very little money. With a small effort villagers could now create their own fuelwood from agricultural residues. To make a briquette, ordinary leaves, grass and straw would be chopped and mashed into a paste. This paste would then be compressed into round cakes and dried. The resulting briquette would be sold as a fuelwood- and charcoal substitute at the local market. In 1994 the Legacy Foundation, USA, picked up on Bryant’s briquette making process and extended the outreach activities. Today, Legacy Foundation’s training and online media services have spread the briquette technology and process into eleven other countries, such as Haiti, Uganda, Mexico, Nepal, Kenya, Mali and Tanzania. The foundation has also released 8 technical/training manuals on all known aspects of briquette making. Vuthisa acquired the rights to promote and extend this technology into Southern Africa. Note that the Legacy Foundation have now launched their new Ratchet Press. This press is a high pressure, compact, easily assembled, transported operated and maintained briquette press. Using common tools and skills, the Ratchet Press can work for an individual or full time commercial briquette production facility. Though it is compact and portable, it can deliver nearly the same force as their larger Mini Bryant compound level wood press sold through the Legacy Foundation. They have launched 3 Ratchet Press manuals namely; Ratchet Press Construction, -User, and -Marketing manual.
Video of prototype Mini (Ratchet) Press in action:
Buy any manual and receive a download link to the “Test Briquette Maker Construction and User Manual” or buy it for $19.95 by clicking on the image on the left. With this ingenious device, developed by the Legacy Foundation, you can make your own briquettes with just the “Press Kit” components to familiarize yourself with the concept behind their hand operated wooden and metal, low-pressure briquetting machines. “Like” our Facebook Fan Page and receive a FREE PDF download link to the “Test Briquette Maker”:
“The Test Briquette Maker can be built for under $125 (USD) and requires almost no maintenance…”
Quite a large proportion of people that buy our manuals never commit themselves to building the actual presses, possibly due to time or money constraints or they lack workshop tools and/or technical know-how. The Test Briquette Maker can be built for under $125 (USD) and requires almost no maintenance, with only basic drilling and welding (10 cm at most) work required. If you’re looking to attract funding to roll out a program using this technology, this press will be most suitable to that end. As mentioned a FREE download link to the “Test Briquette Maker Construction and User Manual” will be supplied with every manual purchased on this site.
Order the Ratchet press here (minimum order of 5):
For more information on the briquette process and to access their electronic How-To Manuals kindly visit this page:
Hippo Water Roller
Approximately 10 000 communities throughout Southern Africa (15 million people) are currently without adequate access to water. Multitudes have to trek long distances to distant waterholes or wells to obtain their daily water needs. To address this problem, two south Africans, Mr. Pettie Petzer and Johan Jonker invented the first rolling drum to cart water, officially named the Hippo Water roller in 1993. The association with water, round body and thick skin compares well to the famous African Hippopotamus. The Hippo Water Roller improves access to water by rolling 90 litres (24 Gallons) along the ground saving time and energy as approximately 5 times more water can be transported. The daily burden of carrying heavy 20 litre buckets on the head is significantly reduced with this ‘appropriate technology’.
“Approximately 5 times more water can be transported”
The steel handle allows the roller to be pushed or pulled over difficult and very rough terrain. The overall width of the roller with handle attached was determined by measuring the average width of a standard doorway and sized to allow it to be pulled through freely. The steel handle is fitted with special polymer end-caps to reduce friction and wear and prolong the life of the pivot cavities in the drum. The roller is rounded at the shoulders to simplify tilting when wanting to pour from the full roller. However, the roller is also very stable in the upright position when it rests on a small, flat surface. The roller has hand grips at the bottom and top to make emptying the container easier.
Although the Hippo roller was mainly designed as a water-gathering aid for underprivileged communities, several other uses have since been discovered. Because of the Hippo water rollers’ water tightness it can act as a watertight container to keep valuables and clothes dry when going downstream in white water rapids on extreme excursions. It can also suffice as a container to be dropped with lifesaving contents from helicopters or low flying fixed-wing aircraft in flooded disaster areas. This might include food and medical supplies, warm dry clothing and blankets, and naturally, water. The polyethylene is lighter than water and will stay only partly submerged, even with fresh water in it. In fact, some rollers have been distributed pre-filled with grain or other foodstuff to villages.
For more information kindly visit:
Practical Action Development Books
With more people now having access to the internet it would make sense to create a facility through which they can order informative books. Unfortunately limited bandwidth and a lack of colour printers means that digital books often remain either unattainable or less than adequate for their needs. It is therefore refreshing to learn that the Development Bookshop (UK) delivers books fresh of the printing press and in full colour to ALL parts of the world. Development Bookshop, operated by Practical Action Publishing, offers a wide range of titles (1500+) on international development and related issues by various authors and publishers. Topics range from Agriculture and Food Security, Building and Construction, Disasters and Emergencies, Economic Development, Education, Energy, Climate and Sustainability, Indigenous Knowledge, Manufacturing to Microfinance to name just a few. They offer a full delivery service worldwide and each year, despatch over 20,000 books to more than 100 countries.
They are essentially community development handbooks for humanitarian agencies and development workers, farm owners, foresters, teachers, scholars (school projects), homeschoolers, NGO’s and anyone interested in How-To books.
Herewith more detail below, although it is impossible to list everything:
Topics range from Beekeeping, Candle making, Woodworking, Practical guide to solar photo-voltaic systems and Gardening for better nutrition
Adapting to climate change, Sustainable land use, Kyoto Protocol’s CDM
Micro-finance, Enterprise development, Bookkeeping tips and Fund-raising
Design and Technology, Recycling, Low-cost printing, School Projects
The books are delivered to your door anywhere in the world for around £2.
For more information kindly visit:
What else do we offer?
We have developed two kilns namely the Trans-Portable Kiln and the 3-drum Biochar Retort. The kilns can be built from scratch from our detailed plans / user manuals or we can ship the DIY Kiln Kit right to your doorstep. Both kilns now have the same specifications, but the customer may opt for the inclusion of the internal 55 Gal drum lids and clamps in order to produce Biochar or may wish to make charcoal conventionally in which case the internal retorts (+lids/clamps) are not needed. In the latter case the client has to weld the collars onto the kiln sides upon arrival to ensure an airtight seal.
In its simplest form the Trans-Portable Metal Kiln is a simple, heavy gauge, mild steel drum with a lid for making charcoal. This system uses a ‘direct combustion method’, whereby the heat for carbonisation comes from burning a portion of the biomass feedstock in a limited air environment. To produce charcoal in a more environmentally friendly manner we advise using internal retorts (55 Gal drums). A single kiln will produce approximately 80 kilograms of charcoal (from 0.7 m3 of wood) or 1.3 tons of charcoal (from 11 tons of wood) per month. Instead of increasing your carbon footprint and operating costs by transporting large amounts of timber to a stationary kiln, this kiln is simply rolled (by one person) to the already prepared and air-dried brush-pile. This drum can be bolted together (4 sections) for easy transport and DIY assembly.
Please join our Portable Kiln group to learn more: http://groups.google.co.uk/group/portable-kiln
For more information kindly visit:
As full members of NCT Co-operative Limited and a Guaranteed Supplier of Wattle and Gum pulpwood we offer competitive stump to mill solutions. Got pine? We can move that as well. Get in touch with us to broker a deal that benefits all involved.
We do in-depth Working Plans (which includes tree samplings) for forestry companies and have been doing tree sampling enumerations for 17 years and use the Forest Inventory Planning System to calculate yields accurately. We have built up a reputation for accurately determining timber volumes for Pine, Gum and Wattle plantations. We provide:
1) A Plot Summary Report:
This report combined in one page summary format, contains information similar to that typically found on a compartment list as well as other useful information such as Average DBH; – Height, – S/ha; – Basal area; – MAI; – Volume/ha; – Volume/tree; Site index and Total Volume per compartment.
2) A Plot Volume Report:
This report displays the spread of diameters in 2cm diameter classes, the number of trees in each diameter class, the average height for trees in that compartment and other general plot information such as site index, MAI and basal area prior to utilisation, i.e. standing volume.
3) Products Report and Log Utilisation Report:
Wattle and Gum yields are expressed in a ‘Products Report’ i.e. Transmission Poles, Treated Poles, Mining Poles and Pulp.
Pine yields are contained in Sawlog Classes and Pulp.
We typically lay out circle plots (10 or 15 metre radius) and generally adopt a 1 plot per hectare philosophy and are able to sample between 25 and 45 ha per day, depending on terrain, species and stocking. If compartment areas are vague we can acquire Rectified Digital Imagery to calculate areas, without having to resort to using GPS. For more information kindly contact us here:
Need a plantation or farm map in a hurry? We serve all small farmers in South Africa with their mapping needs. We provide:
- Plantation maps
- Fire maps
- Standing timber maps
- Aerial photographs
We can draw up accurate maps, and determine areas (hectares) of any type of crop, including timber, sugarcane, jungle wattle and others, as well as delineate around open grassveld, conservation areas, dams, homesteads and identify primary and secondary roads. In some instances we are given GPS areas, which we are able to overlay onto or incorporate into the final map.
All we require is a farm name and title deed number and general location. It will be helpful, but not a requirement to be supplied an existing map or hand drawn delineation of compartment boundaries, accompanied by a compartment list. We will source the appropriate digital imagery of the area in question, which usually includes the most recent aerial photography (1:10 000) and a topographical map (1:50 000).
For more information kindly contact us here: