Biomass Charcoal Briquettes
Currently, 99% of Liberia’s 400,000 households use wood fuel and wood charcoal to meet their cooking energy needs. This practice contributes to deforestation and the destruction of natural wildlife habitat.
While Liberia’s average deforestation rate is relatively low at 2% per annum, there are some regions in the country where natural forests are being depleted at much faster rates – from 13% in Bomi to 26% in Margibi County. This implies that if current trends continue, natural forests in these regions could be totally depleted within 30 to 60 years.
In addition to deforestation, wood charcoal also contributes to indoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution is the deadliest environmental problem in the world today, killing over 4 million people per annum – more than deaths caused by HIV/AIDS and Malaria combined.
Our solution is to create cleaner-burning, more efficient charcoal briquettes by using biomass waste from palm oil production, including palm leaves, kernel shells, and palm chaff. We are currently working with a team of engineering and environmental studies student researchers at the University of Colorado-Boulder in the U.S. to conduct background research on the production, marketing and distribution of biomass charcoal. Our goal in this project is to ensure that every household in Liberia has access to more sustainable, efficient, and healthier charcoal briquettes that burn longer, emit more energy, and are affordable. We aim to bring this product to market by mid 2015.