BRIQUETTE – ALTERNATIVE TO CHARCOAL AND FIRE WOOD
Fact-finding and baseline analyses confirmed that firewood and charcoal are still widely used in The Gambia and, likewise, that resources for briquette production are abundant and available, groundnut shells in particular. Even so, rigorous analysis of the briquette value chain and evaluation of several possible scenarios for producing and selling them demonstrates that many production strategies are neither viable nor sustainable. Despite this, organizing the production chain in two stages makes it a profitable value chain model. The use of firewood and charcoal in The Gambia has resulted in widespread deforestation. Women Initiative Gambia (WIG) has developed an alternative – charcoal briquettes made from coconut shells, groundnut shells and any dry leaves. The fuel does not use chopped lumber – giving a clear advantage from the fire wood and the charcoal. The charcoal briquette can serve the same purpose as the charcoal and fire wood.
WHY ARE BRIQUETTES IMPORTANT FOR US?
1) Briquettes are used to replace fossil fuels by households and industries for they are green environment friendly and sustainable and easy to be handled.
2) Smokeless – this is a unique property of briquettes. Using them creates no smoke, soot or carbon deposits. Depending on the base material, they produce little or no FlyAsh. Further, briquettes do not emit gases or any toxic chemicals like sulphur.
3) Briquettes are more sustainable and more energy efficient and could reduce the pressure on forests and lower pollution levels in urban areas, that is, if more people start using them.
4) Cheaper in prize compared to charcoal and fire-wood
5) Briquettes can help re-purpose waste. Briquettes fit nicely into circular economy approaches that aim to reduce waste and spur more sustainable bio resources and market-based practices, while sustaining rural-urban linkages.