Fuel briquettes saves trees and provides income generation for the poor

By Vuthisa

Vuthisa (South Africa) supports Legacy Foundation’s briquette making process. This page aims to give the reader some background on the road that Legacy Foundation embarked upon in their quest to disseminate briquette making technologies to rural and urban poor all over the world. To date, countless communities in 11 countries have benefited from this technology. Despite all their efforts however the demand far exceeds the capacity of the small network of briquette practitioners to fully respond to the ever-growing problems of deforestation and poverty. Please contact Legacy Foundation on info@legacyfound.org if you want to kick-start a 40 person training event in your area or contact Vuthisa for a training event in South Africa, which can reduce firewood consumption by over 900 tons per year. Training individuals in the art of briquette making is the first step in setting up a project in your area. The Foundation has also released 8 technical/training manuals on all known aspects of briquette making as well as 3 Ratchet Press manuals. For information on these manuals, please scroll down to the bottom of this page. Build your own manually operated hand press and make fuel briquettes from your own garden/yard-; or paper waste.

“Note that the Legacy Foundation have now launched their new Ratchet Press…”

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.

Click here to go to view the manuals

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.

“The Test Briquette Maker can be built for under $125 (USD) and requires almost no maintenance…”

Ninety percent 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.

South Africa can certainly benefit from this biomass fuel briquette production system as an alternative to fuelwood use. This country has seen an incredible transition to democracy, but poverty, illiteracy and HIV/AIDS continue to dominate the lives of millions of South African households and energy security is a daily struggle here. Firewood is an essential part of life in South Africa, as it is all over the world. This precious resource plays an important role in every rural family’s life. It is here in the poorest part of the world that communities spend a good portion of their time gathering wood to cook and heat. Outside South Africa many indigenous forests are also being plundered to make charcoal. This dependence on wood has a remarkable impact on forests and economics worldwide. Globally, forests are being depleted at a rate of 2.5 to 3% per year. This happens because people need their wood for cooking, and wood today is the most available and economical resource. Destruction of these forests affects the rural poor, making it harder for them to find firewood. It also has a wider effect by contributing to global climate change.

With wood providing the base fuel for over 2 billion people the alternatives will require massive investment beyond what the western world is willing to pay. The fact remains that unless there is a viable alternative nearly 50% of the citizens of this planet will continue to cook their one or two meals per day in a pot resting on 3 rocks and burning fuelwood. The alternative, namely fuelwood plantations, petroleum derived fuels, charcoal, solar and wind energy are proving to be impractical and expensive without subsidies from government, NGO’s or donors.

During our investigations to find an alternative to wood fuel we discovered that globally, there is a concerted effort being made to encourage a self-sustaining network of rural and urban poor to provide themselves and others in their communities with an alternative to wood fuel. These efforts are largely being spearheaded by the Legacy Foundation, USA and the fuel is biomass briquettes.

As far back as 1979 there were attempts to create artificial fuelwood briquettes using sawdust, straw or peat. These briquettes were supposed to solve the world’s fuelwood problems, but the briquette making machines were expensive, highly technical requiring ironically great amounts of electricity. It was not until the briquette process could be altered to address the real urban and rural poor environment that it would succeed. In the early 1980’s 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. The briquette process was simple and could be established in poor and 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 picked up on Bryant’s briquette making process and extended the outreach activities. Legacy Foundation adapted the process in Malawi, East Africa, where the first pilot program was launched. The work in Africa led to other briquette extension assignments i.e Cusco, Peru, where the Legacy Foundation with the support of ADRA trained local trainers in the briquette making process leading to practical projects in three communities in the Cusco region of the Andes mountains. In Peru the same process that was used in the establishment in Africa was applied to the local skills and resources. The success of the briquette technology was not only in its simplicity, but in the fact that it offered a sustainable income, generating opportunity. Not only are briquettes easy to make, but they allow the rural and urban poor to make money in the process. By replacing firewood and charcoal with briquettes, producers can increase their income by 20%. Income generation along with saving the environment makes a sustainable solution to poverty reduction. Today, Legacy Foundation’s training and online media services have influenced the spread of the briquette technology and process beyond Malawi and Peru into eleven new countries. Other countries that have had briquette extension programs include Haiti, Uganda, Mexico, Nepal, Kenya, Mali and Tanzania.

To date, countless communities in 11 countries have benefited from this technology. Despite all their efforts however the demand far exceeds the capacity of the small network of briquette practitioners to fully respond to the ever-growing problems of deforestation and poverty. Please contact Legacy Foundation on info@legacyfound.org if you want to kick-start a 40 person training event in your area, which can reduce firewood consumption by over 900 tons per year. Training individuals in the art of briquette making is the first step in setting up a project in your area – OR – order the Legacy Foundation briquette manuals and build your own hand operated briquette press at home to transform your yard waste into fuel-briquettes. Why not build your own briquette-burning stove?  For the latest developments regarding fuel briquette-burning stoves, visit Rok Oblak’s Blog.

Anyone can make briquettes from their own leaves, grass, straw and paper. Most people accumulate sufficient newspaper to heat their homes much of the year. With briquettes, you no longer need to use wood as fuel.

If you are interested in making briquettes or training others in your area, we would recommend our training and technical manuals according to your specific needs. Fifty percent (50%) of the monies received from the sale of these manuals goes back to the Legacy Foundation, a non-profit organization, so they can continue with research and development into new briquetting technologies and for initiating briquette extension exercises.  The remaining 50% is used by Vuthisa to train local groups in the art of briquette making; to promote and develop better stoves and for the upkeep of this website. Your help in reducing global poverty while saving the environment is greatly appreciated.

For detailed information on each manual, just click on any of the images below.

Manuals

 

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5 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Jake Jacob said,

    Wonderful news. I lived in the DR and I was amazed at the difference between the DR and Haiti. I grew up in Ghana and we faced the same deforestation problem.
    We now live in Tucson and we can cook things in our solar oven, have solar power for our hot water, and a multitude of other simple applications. I’m glad I found this site.

    • 2

      Kobus Venter said,

      Glad you liked my post Jake. Spread the word and make a difference! I would like to hear more about your solar products, you can send me mail by going to my ‘contact us’ page.

  2. 3

    Thanks for this Kobus,
    It’s a wonderful presentation. What I’d like to add for your readers, is the fact that you and I worked together for two years in South Africa and I had the fortune of seeing your stove research pay off. I look forward to our continued collaboration with you as our representative of the briquette technology in South Africa and us as representatives of your on stove work here in Obamaland. You are a great representative of your nation, and a great person to be collaborating with.
    Richard S.

  3. 4

    Briquette press used to convert agriculture waste into biomass briquetting. Visit http://blog.briquettingpressmachine.com/

  4. 5

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