This letter was sent to some of our closest friends last week. But we thought it was important to share it with the Global Fraternity of Energy Poverty Geeks and Practitioners. (Which, I’m pleased to inform you, includes you!)
— The Charcoal Project
We just wanted to take a moment to give you an update on The Charcoal Project’s (TCP) newest innovation.
Investing With MIT To Scale-Up Solutions
As some of you knowl, we launched the Harvest Fuel Initiative (HFI) in early 2013, a program that invests financial, technical, and business resources in small and growing businesses that deliver better fuels and technology solutions to people around the world who depend on wood and charcoal for their daily energy needs.
HFI is a joint collaboration between TCP and MIT’s Scale-Ups program at D-Lab. D-Lab Scale-ups has made available $100,000 to invest in the social enterprises we selected in our first round. TCP is committed to raising an additional $150,000 for investment in additional social enterprises in the coming years.
To support that program, we have launched a new website: harvestfuel.org. This website provides resources to entrepreneurs and stakeholders seeking information about alternative biomass fuels and clean carbonization and cooking technologies. The website features a News blog, a Forum where business and technology topics will be discussed, and a Resource section, which makes available articles, How-To manuals, and relevant videos.
The website also describes HFI more generally and spotlights the enterprises we have chosen to work with thus far. Please visit the site and check out our current projects and blog postings. And please, tell us what you think. How can we improve on our program? We value your opinion!
A Word About Our Other Projects
Although the launch of HFI has kept us busy, we have not forgotten our friends in Rubaare, Uganda, where Henry Twinemasiko runs the REF schools.
Over the past 6 months we have been fundraising for clean cookstoves for the REF Schools and raised over $7,600 from the Unitarian Church of Summit, NJ. We have been studying the stove options available in Uganda and are opting to build REF custom stoves that are capable of burning both wood and briquettes. 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. 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%. We plan to measure savings and report back to you in our next update.
Last But Not Least: Charcoal Policy
The much-anticipated issue of Energy for Sustainable Development is out! As you may recall, this is a direct outcome of the charcoal workshop that TCP helped organize in Tanzania in 2011. The publication contains a dozen of really fascinating science papers focusing on charcoal and briquetting. We plan to use this issue as our calling card for convening the first international conference on charcoal sometime over the next year or so. Please email us back if you’d like us to mail you a hard copy of the publication.
We hope you will continue to support us going forward by visiting our website, donating time or providing financial support. Please visit www.charcoalproject.org to keep abreast of our current news and donate to our cause if possible.
Looking forward to giving you more updates on our progress!
Kim, Sylvia, and the charcoal gnomes