The Charcoal Project

The mission of The Charcoal Project is to promote, facilitate, and advocate for the widespread adoption of clean burning technologies, sustainable fuel alternatives, and policies that support energy-poverty alleviation for those who depend on biomass as their primary fuel around the world.
Jun 10, 2013

Custom Cookstoves for REF Schools in Uganda

Institutional clean cookstove
Institutional clean cookstove

Dear Friends:

Last time we were in touch our friends and partners at the Unitarian Church in Summit New Jersey had successfully raised $7,600 for our Clean Fuels and Clean Cookstoves project in Rubaare, Uganda.  (Thank you again, Unitarians! You are awesome!)

So what did we do with the money? Believe it or not, it’s not as easy as one might think to swap out old, smoky, inefficient stoves in Africa with cleaner burning ones. That’s because we want to make sure that: 1. We invest in the right technology, 2. The stoves can burn the fuels available and achieve the goal of reducing fuel consumption (costs) and emissions (health/climate change), and 3. We can make every dollar work harder by saving on costs like shipping and import duties. That’s why we’ve spent the past couple of months researching and identifying the best stove option for the school.  And we finally did it!

Since the REF schools rely on agricultural waste briquettes and wood for cooking we’ve decided it’s best to build custom stoves that are capable of burning both types of fuel.  This will give REF the flexibility they need in their fuel choices and also allow us to test both types of stoves for combustion efficiency and ease of use.  Based on these results, the other REF schools (there are six in all serving meals to almost 2,000 students) will be outfitted with either new wood stoves, briquette stoves or the wood/briquette combination stove.

Pictured below is the type of stove we will be building in REF’s new cookhouse.  The stove will have a chimney and produce fuel savings of 50-60%, which will result in huge fuel cost savings for REF. We’ll be running various kitchen and water boiling tests (these are international standard testing techniques established to measure efficiency in the clean cookstove world) to determine exactly what efficiency we can expect from these stoves. We’ll report back to you when we have figures.

You have been so generous in the past and Global Giving is offering another opportunity to maximize your donation by matching donations made on June 12th by 30%.  Please continue to give the REF schools your support and help make the clean cookstove installation a reality.

One last thing to mention is that our project with the REF schools is connected to an exciting new initiative we have launched in partnership with MIT’s prestigious D-Lab unit. We call it the Harvest Fuel Initiative. Please check out our new website to learn more!

Warmest regards,

Kim, Sylvia, & Henry Twinemasiko, Director of REF Schools in Rubaare

Mar 11, 2013

New clean cookstoves for Rubaare Educational Foundation

Special thanks to the Unitarian Church
Special thanks to the Unitarian Church

We are very happy to report we’ve made significant progress with the institutional stove project at the Rubaare Educational Foundation schools in Uganda.  During the month of February, the Unitarian Church of Summit New Jersey pledged all the proceeds from their Sunday collections towards the purchase of institutional stoves for the REF schools.  The Unitarian Church raised over $7,600! The funds will be used to buy new stoves for the main campus and for two of the primary schools.  We are so grateful for their generosity and support.  

The stoves that we will purchase for REF are expected to reduce the school district's fuel consumption by over 70%.  The stoves are also clean burning and will greatly reduce the amount of smoke and emissions generated while meals are cooked. This means no more burning eyes and coughing for the cooks.

(Incidentally, the medical journal The Lancet reported in December that the number of deaths attributed to indoor air pollution from inefficient cooking is closer to 4 million, rather than the 2 million previously estimated. These figures greatly surpass the number of deaths around the world from HIV/Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.) 

In anticipation of the new stoves coming, Henry Twinemasiko, Director of REF, built a new, better ventilated structure, which will serve as a cookhouse and dining room for the students.

Despite our great progress, we still need your support to equip the remaining three schools with stoves. Wednesday, March 13th, is a Global Giving Matching Day and the perfect opportunity for you to maximize your generous contribution.  Global Giving is matching up to 30% of donations made tomorrow, so please consider supporting Henry Twinemasiko and the students at REF.  

Thanks again for your past and future support!

Warmest regards,

Kim and Sylvia

New cookhouse
New cookhouse
Dec 18, 2012

TCP Year-End Update

Henry and TCP
Henry and TCP's Sylvia Herzog, at the equator

Dear Friends and Supporters-

 

This year has been an exciting year for TCP and our friends in Rubaare, Uganda.  Kim and I are happy to announce that TCP has just formed a collaboration with MIT D-Lab called the Harvest Fuel Initiative.  Starting with initial funding of $100,000 from the D-Lab Scale-Ups program at MIT, HFI will provide capital, technical expertise and marketing support to small and medium sized entrepreneurs starting renewable biomass energy businesses.  The initiative will act as an incubator for these small businesses, supporting the growth and development of the alternative fuel briquette market, which is still in its early stages in many countries.  Initially, HFI will focus on businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa where forest degradation has led to spiraling wood and charcoal prices and a severe negative impact on the poor.  We are very excited about collaborating with D-Lab, which has a strong history of technology dissemination in the developing world, and look forward to sharing our project selection with you in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, we have made great strides on our project at the Rubaare Educational Foundation in Rubaare, Uganda.  I had the opportunity to visit Henry Twinemasko, REF Director, and the students at the school in October when I was in Africa.  Henry and the students are extremely grateful for all of the support you have given over the past two years.  This year, we have built a shelter for the briquette production operation, installed solar lights in one of the primary schools, and sent Henry on a training trip to one of our other projects to learn how to carbonize agricultural waste for use in the briquettes.  While on that trip, Henry was able to see a demonstration of a new type of institutional stove which will cut his fuel consumption by 70-80%.  Our short term goal is to raise the money to equip the main campus with these new stoves, and then eventually purchase stoves for the primary schools as well.  
Towards that end, we are participating in GlobalGiving’s Recurring Donation Campaign (http://www.globalgiving.org/leaderboards/recurring-challenge-2012/). Throughout the entire month of December, Global Giving is matching all new monthly recurring donations 100% up to $100 per donor. 

So thank you again for all your generous past support and we hope you will consider continuing to support TCP and its efforts in Rubaare.

Warmest holiday wishes to you and your family!

Sylvia and Kim
Students welcoming their TCP visitor
Students welcoming their TCP visitor
Henry and a student installing solar lights
Henry and a student installing solar lights
Henry with the briquette team
Henry with the briquette team
Sofie Twinemasiko with her pupils
Sofie Twinemasiko with her pupils
The smoky, dilapidated kitchen
The smoky, dilapidated kitchen

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