Sugarcane Charcoal

Exhibition: Design for the other 90 | January 5, 2012 by

In Haiti, the production of wood charcoal, the primary source of cooking fuel, contributes to severe deforestation and environmental degradation. More than 90% of Haiti is now deforested. Many children die of respiratory infections from breathing indoor cooking fumes. Sugarcane charcoal was developed as an alternative to wood charcoal. Dried bagasse, the waste product from sugarcane processing, is burned in a simple kiln, carbonized, mixed with a binder, and compacted using a press to produce sugarcane charcoal briquettes, which burn as well as wood charcoal. Other agricultural waste materials such as corn cobs are being explored as other “food for fuel” alternatives. Corn cobs do not need further processing after burning, eliminating the need for binders and briquetting equipment and significantly reducing the cost of charcoal production.

  • DESIGNER/MANUFACTURER: D-lab
  • Haiti, 2004–05
  • Bagasse (waste product fibers left after the juice has been squeezed from sugar cane), cassava root binder, 55-gallon oil drum kiln, D-lab press
  • DIMENSIONS: 3’ h x 2’ diameter (55-gallon oil drum), 2’ h x 1’ w x 8” d (briquette press), 2’ h x 18” diameter (traditional stove)
  • IN USE IN: Haiti, Ghana; Brazil, India (field demonstrations)

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