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28251: Jhudicourtb --more on energy (fwd)
In the last few days the discussion of energy has concentrated around
producing electricity, but I think that realistically we are far away from
everyone do as much with electricity as is done here in the US. We will still
need charcoal for some things. One of the issues is that Haitians like having
their clothing nicely ironed when they can afford it, and so far I have not
seen any good alternatives to electric and charcoal. The Amish still sell the
heavy metal irons that are heated externally on a fire but I think it is hard
to have those be clean and hot at the same time if your fuel is not clean
burning. Ironing is not just a matter of vanity, it is one of the ways
make sure the baby and children's clothing are disinfected since the water is
not bacteria free.
Since Preval seems to be becoming interested in the use of sugar cane as an
energy source maybe someone should tell him about Amy Smith's group and D-lab
at MIT. Amy Smith is an MIT instructor who has received a MacArthur
"genius" grant for her work on engineering for developing nations. Her group
been working on the development of clean burning charcoal briquettes made of
bagasse, sugar cane fiber. They carbonize the bagasse into a powder and stick
it together with Manioc juice. They are perfecting the mechanism for
compacting them tightly. They say that in their experimentation their
has better performance than wood charcoal in heat production. The process is
not fully developed because the briquettes have to be baked at 300 degrees and
they are trying to figure out a way to use the heat from the first burn of the
bagasse, which is done inside an oil drum to create the oven for baking....
But maybe the whole thing can be industrialized in Darbonne...
People should check their website at
They have occasional workshops in the North of Haiti which the call "lekol
chabon" to teach people how to make the briquettes with the current
procedures, even though they feel that the process can be improved...