The overarching goal of our ‘stove + pellets + charcoal buy back’ program focuses on providing people in Ethiopia with a clean cooking option that helps improve their lives by mitigating health impacts from indoor air pollution; saves fuel and associated costs, which can be a significant fraction of monthly income; saves time cooking and gathering fuel; removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through eliminating emissions; and sequesters carbon through buying-back the charcoal generated and using it as a fertilizer. The stoves use fuel pellets made from waste biomass that is plentiful here, such as spent coffee grounds, coffee husks, sawdust, etc.
We successfully carried out the introduction of our model to households and businesses in Ethiopia beginning August 1, 2018. Six Carleton students and Professor Deborah Gross stayed in Addis Ababa for two weeks and participated in the introduction and evaluation of the stoves in households and businesses. A total of 13 households in Merkato, an orphanage, and multiple small businesses participated in the initial pilot project. We supplied stoves and pellets, learning from the experiences and innovations of the users, and buying-back the charcoal that they generate by giving them twice the mass of the charcoal that they return in new pellet fuel. We have received an extremely positive response from those using our stoves.
Using the funds provided by the Broom Public Scholarship Fellow and other sources of funding, we purchased and imported another 44 stoves to Ethiopia. We planned to distribute the stoves in early September. However, we hit a small roadblock we are trying to address. The pelletizing equipment malfunctioned. As a result, we are unable to produce the fuel pellets we need to use our stoves. Indeed, we have suspended the supply of fuel pellets even to those who are participating in our pilot project since August 1, 2018. We hope to solve the pelletizing equipment problem in the next two weeks by converting our PTO (Power Take Off) pelletizer into an electric one. We have used part of the Broom Public Scholarship Fellow funding to buy the electric motor we need for the conversion.