Appropriate Technology Asia

Fuel Design

In areas where tree cover is either non-existent or is subject to extraction regulations, people rely predominantly on agricultural residues (straw and chaff), animal manure and grasses to meet their fuel requirements. In many areas, this may necessitate walking great distances with heavy loads, particularly in the period between harvest and the onset of winter.

The use of such fuels causes problems - insufficient nutrient replenishment of soil, insufficient fodder for livestock and gradual degradation of natural ecosystems.

The intrinsic problem with the use of grasses and other similar fuels is the very high air supply relative to surface area which promotes very rapid burning. ATA works to develop locally acceptable techniques for fuel compaction (also known as biomass briquetting) which increase the burn time and consequent efficiency of these materials. This reduces the amount of dung burnt and allows greater conservation of agricultural residues for use as fodder.