from Africa, a simple assessment of the value of biochar producing cookstoves

Author: 
Erin Rasmussen

Paal Wendelobo, from Africa, November, 2011

A common Miombo forest in Africa will give about 3 ton wood per ha a year. 3 ton of dry wood will give 800 kg of charcoal. A household of 5 consume 2-3 kg charcoal a day or about 800 kg a year. To produce 3 kg of charcoal you need 10-12 kg of dry fire wood in a common kiln. That will give one day cooking on a charcoal stove, and almost no biochar. 10-12kg dry chopped wood will give 3 days of cooking on a TLUD-ND or another FES and 2.5 kg of biochar

Energy forestry using just the sprouting every year can give up to 10 ton wood per ha a year, easy to cut to appropriate fuel for TLUD-ND’s or other types of FES. By adding some biochar to soil of bad quality 20-30 % increased yields can be obtained, which will give more food, more household energy, more jobs, better economy, better health for women and children and saving the forest. It can probably be as simple as this and is that not some of what we are looking for and need?

We know some changes have to take place on the household energy sector and we have to start somewhere. Why not start with small scale farmers on sandy soil, and from there develop the new household bio-energy strategy for developing countries. Probably also with the charcoal business, they have the whole infrastructure intact and can easy change from charcoal to alternative biomass like chopped wood or pellets from agriculture and forestry related waste.

For more information about this cooking stoves project see:
http://www.bioenergylists.org/en/content/zambia-peko-pe

With regards Paal W