Vuthisa (South Africa) was invited to participate in the Briquette Producers Workshop held in Arusha, Tanzania between 10 and 14 November, 2010 at Olasiti Garden Lodge. Arusha lies at the base of Mount Meru, one of Africa’s highest and most beautiful volcanoes. Apparently after scaling the summit one is met with stunning views of the Ash Cone lying several thousand feet below in the crater and Kilimanjaro in the background. See map below.
The conference/workshop was facilitated by the Legacy Foundation (Oregon, USA) through funding from the McKnight Foundation of Minnesota. It is part of a three-year project backing environmental conservation in Africa. For more information on Fuel Briquettes, background to the technology and press construction manuals, kindly visit our Fuel Briquettes page. Participants arrived from Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Chad, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Africa and Botswana. The main aim of the conference is to create an African Briquette Producers Network so that new knowledge and improved recipes can be passed on to producers even if they are working in different regions. Over the next couple of weeks we will be highlighting some of the challenges facing briquetting groups, entrepreneurs and organizations alike in achieving successful transference of theoretical knowledge into practical know-how. This is no easy feat as there are many constraints and challenges facing briquette producers, such as obtaining presses or tools, many lack business skills, standardizing of briquette size and quality, packaging and marketing and end-use issues such as briquette combustion techniques.
Our presentation on Thursday (11th) intended to bring participants up to speed with rocket stove technologies as well as discussing air/fuel ratios to effect optimum stove performance. We had two stoves at the conference, namely the StoveTec wood rocket stove and the Vuthisa charcoal gasifying stove. Although the StoveTec was not originally designed to burn briquettes, it coped very well with smaller diameter- or broken up briquettes. The Vuthisa charcoal gasifying stove was lit on the final night of the conference to better showcase the blue flames that can be achieved through the optimal combustion of charcoal. The stove was lit using approximately 450g of lumped charcoal pieces kindly provided by the Olasiti Gardens’ kitchen staff. After approximately 45 minutes of operation, showcasing complete combustion and mesmerizing blue flames, briquettes consisting of agro-residues (and very little charcoal fines) were broken into pieces and inserted into the combustion chamber. The briquettes were quickly pyrolized into char without any smoke and the char-gas burn commenced shortly thereafter. We then donated the StoveTec to a grateful participant.
Below is a collage of photos taken by Peter Stanley, myself as well as other participants. Click on it to go to my Flickr slideshow. The Legacy Foundation will be bringing out their final report and we will be putting a link to it here in the next couple of weeks. Here is a link to press coverage of the conference.
More updates to follow…
Final report by Legacy Foundation:
Download site for training manuals: http://vuthisa-techblog.com/downloads/legacy-manuals/