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Ecological Cookstoves and Non-Carbonized Briquette Cooking System in Haiti: Saving Lives, Saving Trees, Creating Jobs and Building Community

Charcoal-cooking is shortening lives by 6-years so FdS Haiti listens to Haitian cooks to develop and improve lifesaving cookstove technology

Photo of Kevin Adair

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Improving Cookstove technologies has been a major goal of the UN, EPA and Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. Nearly all of the improved cookstove implementations worldwide have involved stoves that cook with the same local fuel but use that fuel more efficiently. FdS Haiti has gone beyond that concept to introduce a complete ecological cooking system. Any stove that uses charcoal in Haiti can never be truly efficient because producing charcoal destroys 90% of the wood just in the process of burning wood into charcoal. FdS has developed an ecological cooking system to help Haiti move beyond charcoal. Haiti can then be the example for other charcoal-cooking countries showing fuel made from recycled materials can cook local food better than charcoal can. FdS is pioneering the method of integrating the FdS ecological cooking system (the fuel-briquettes, ultra-efficient chimney-enhanced institutional FdS briquette stove, and retained-heat basket cookers) into the existing cooking arrangements in factories and industrial parks. FdS has dedicated the R & D of 8 generations of Haitian implementation, with each version better matching the requests and requirements of Haitian cooks. Gen 8 is now in implementation based on the most recent feedback. Now the FdS improved cookstove system is preferred by Haitians over deadly cooking-charcoal. FdS connects with the management of the factory site to provide fresh clean cooking environments for cooks on the site. The cooks are required to make the change to healthful and ecological briquette cooking, which eliminates the change-resistance that other implementations have experienced when attempting to introduce new cooking technologies. Institutional propane stoves require restaurant-quality stove-hoods and exhaust fans, which mean that FdS stoves (with chimneys) are cleaner than not-ventilated propane stoves. FdS stoves are less expensive than propane stoves, and the briquette-fuel is cheaper than propane or charcoal fuel.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Up until now, most published studies on regarding the harm from traditional stoves and fuels have focused on the particulate in smoke that is smaller than 2.5 microns, which is abbreviated PM2.5. The resent research by FdS Haiti, utilizing both PM2.5 detectors and carbon monoxide ("CO") detectors has demonstrated that the ecological cooking community should be at least as focused on exposure to CO as it is focused on PM2.5. This improvement in testing protocols has the potential to benefit hundreds of millions of people worldwide who still cook with traditional cookstoves and fuel. In Haiti, FdS benefits are primarily directed toward women and children who have the most exposure to the smoke and CO from cooking fires. Additionally, the entire Haitian population has the potential to benefit from the improved jobs from the FdS implementation plan. All global citizens benefit from the reduced destruction of trees in Haiti, which also reduces the carbon footprint of cooking in Haiti.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

FdS has expanded the concept of reprocessing recycled paper into briquettes to the point of developing an entire Zero-Waste-Model for Haiti. The landfill sites in Haiti are unimproved dump-and-burn fields. FdS actively reduces the volume of waste that would otherwise be dumped there. FdS takes waste to our sorting / separation facility, and reuses / recycles / upcycles all possible materials to dramatically reduce landfill dumped materials. The Canadian Embassy’s waste went from 9 truckloads per month to the landfill to 1 truckload per month with FdS. FdS has also proven the non-carbonized briquette design model as superior to turning waste biomass into charcoal. In so-called "green" charcoal facilities, a truckload of agricultural waste is turned into 1/3 truckload of charcoal. The FdS method adds paper and cardboard to the waste biomass with nearly 0% waste in making FdS briquettes. So, one truckload of biomass, plus the paper and cardboard become THREE truckloads of FdS briquettes.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Early Adoption: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the intended users of the idea. I have begun to expand the pilot for early adoption.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

FdS is the oldest-operating social-eco enterprise on the island of Hispaniola. The FdS team works to listen to what the local people need to make their lives better, provide leadership to introduce innovative solutions to meet those needs, and listen again to create design-loops to consistently improve FdS technology implementations to work better and better in the Haitian social-cultural environment.

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.
  • Yes, we are a registered social enterprise.
  • Yes, we are a registered company.
  • Other

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

FdS first intended to introduce clean-water solutions for Hispaniola. But, in 2005, before importing or producing water filters locally, FdS conducted a local survey,and no one was interested in clean water solutions. So, the FdS team asked local families what issue in their life would they most like addressed. Cooking solutions were the number-one answer. So, FdS changed their approach and began introducing ecological cooking solutions which are adapted to best fit Haitian people's needs.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

One of the greatest points of unrest / volatility in the region is conflict between the Haitian and Dominican peoples, especially in the border region. The cross-border charcoal trade is constantly making it worse. Haitians have been killed smuggling charcoal across the border. If the DR government were to close the border to illegal charcoal trade, it would cause devastation across Haiti. It is impossible to eat raw rice. The FdS plan will make Haiti truly cooking fuel energy-independent which will improve the financial stability in Haiti and greatly reduce border area Peace. All studies agree that the Haitian charcoal industry is destroying Haiti's remaining trees. Haiti is less than 30% forested now, with <4% of the original pre-European forests remaining. The FdS plan thus also addresses Prosperity and the Planet, because by raising its own sustainable fuel-forests, which are first harvested for oil and then used to make briquettes, Haiti will become a world sustainability leader.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

FdS Haiti works with over 10 women's' organizations, including SMDT, as well as organizations from Cite Soleil, such as Sakala Community Center, and P-a-P developmental groups, including Success Family. The women's' organizations have worked in the FdS design feed-back-loop to improve our stoves and make them exactly what the cooks prefer in their own kitchens. All of our partners share in the FdS concept that helping Haiti to move beyond charcoal is crucial for the Peace, Prosperity and Environment of the country. In addition to design, our partnering organizations assist in project promotion, cultural integration, the introduction and adoption process, and in serving to represent the FdS ecological model in their various locations. All of the community partners are working with FdS to design the school lesson curriculum with the goal of encouraging Haitian ecological citizenship in the schools in Haiti to affect the mindset of Haiti's next generation toward greater sustainability.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

To begin stove emissions testing, FdS reached out to educators in the P-a-P region to recommend recent graduates who were competent in science, math, and English, who could create verifiable scientific data that would have international validity. Our region has extremely capable available young people to fill the FdS expanding employment opportunities. The vast majority of homes still cook with charcoal, but residents, led by women's groups, say they are ready to change to more eco FdS choices.

Geographic Focus

FdS is geographically focused on Haiti and the Dom. Rep. We are happy to share our ideas with others

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

Thirty-six months will see the implementation of our project to the current FdS goal of at least 1000 institutional stoves and 2000 household stoves in use. That will bring FdS ecological cooking to over 10,000 Haitian women, men and children. That will create long-term jobs for 10 more stove builders and 40 more ecological non-carbonized briquette producers. Border tensions will become more Peaceful. Tens of thousand trees will be spared for the Planet, and Haiti will become more Prosperous.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • Yes

If Yes, how has project idea changed, grown, or evolved since last year? (2,000 characters)

In the past year, the FdS team learned that CO monitoring in cooking situations worldwide had not been adopted yet as the industry standard. Also, the PM2.5 levels of charcoal cooking had not been included in many recent Haitian studies which only focused on the macro-ecology of Haiti's diminishing tree count. Seeing the need, FdS stepped up and has completed some of the most extensive CO and PM2.5 testing in Haiti to date. Although FdS still considers its testing preliminary and notes that there is much more continuing testing required in the future, the initial test results are about to be published in a major 30+ page FdS research study which has the capacity to change the entire improved cookstove industry worldwide. In advance of the study's release, FdS has chosen this BridgeBuilder application to release the first batch of results: The charcoal stoves showed elevated PM2.5 levels as much as 10,000 ppm over the local ambient air, and CO levels of well over 300 ppm, which is 6 times the point when the EPA requires all personnel to evacuate. Contrastingly, the FdS stove showed ZERO increased PM2.5 levels or CO levels. The study, which will come out within a week of this application deadline, and which is a huge step forward this year for FdS and for the entire eco cookstove sector, now has advanced data included in this current application. The potential for FdS working together with the OpenIDEO program would be extremely beneficial for the Peace, Planet and Prosperity of Haiti and the entire future of the world. Results from similar tests in Malawi, as published in the Lancet and reported on BBC indicated an improvement from 1400 ppm to 900 ppm in PM2.5 particles was a significant change, the charcoal-to-FdS results were 20X as significant. This year also saw FdS build and implement our largest single order for gasifyer stoves and basket cookers with 27 units produced for a single order to cook food for over 200 people. FdS listens. Leads. & Listens Again.

Attachments (1)

May 2018 FdS Demonstation.pdf

Slideshow demonstration of the FdS Haiti advanced recycling process and woodgas cookstoves with non-carbonized briquettes.


Join the conversation:

Photo of David Ezra Jay

Hi Keven,
Super cool idea.
Here are some cool stoves for design inspiration...

Also, these guys have an interesting thing going on... using the nuts from croton tree that can be pressed into briquettes

If you are connected to reforestation efforts down there, we are looking to build a network of tree planters there.

Photo of Kevin Adair

Thanks for the links, I'll check them out!

Photo of Kevin Adair

Hi Ezra, Thanks again. I checked out the links. I'm very familiar with biolight. There are many great uses for both the camping versions and the development versions of those stoves. We are working for larger pots of food, pots that can cook 20 or more meals at the same time. Also, we have tried a number of stoves that are powered with fans, and somehow in Haiti, the fans always seem to break, leaving the stoves unusable.
Regarding the bio-fuel, that's great too. The only issue that I see is that we are finding more and more that it's best to move toward non-carbonaized fuel in nearly all situations. Once the CO levels of even sustainably produced charcoal are widely recorded and reported, the world will be moving away from charcoal as a fuel and finding better ways to cook with fuels that are non-carbonized. There is a one-sheet results page as the image in the last section of our application, and I'm working now on a 3-page summary. I will be sharing that on the site as soon as it's ready. Cheers, Kevin

Photo of Kevin Adair

Oh, but, we are always happy to network with other similarly minded projects, so feel free to recommend and introduce. We love working together!

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Love the inspiration sharing happening here!

Photo of Kevin Adair

Thanks Ashley! Our network keeps growing. It would be great if there were a way to announce here when we share OpenIDEO through social media and emails.

Photo of Kevin Adair

Wow! Ashley! I checked your profile, and you are active in every sector possible! Were you able to access our documentary? I'm happy to share the password with others too, we just can't share it publicly until we have the film's official opening. Also, maybe you can answer how research points can be earned? That's the one place where I still have a zero on my OpenIDEO profile.

Photo of Kevin Adair

Hi Ashley, Thanks to OpenIDEO for the opportunity to participate. We are continuing to greatly benefit from the networking from this challenge! Please keep us in mind if there are any extra ways we can participate in evaluation or program development with OpenIDEO. We are available and ready to help. Any feedback from the review phase would also be appreciated. We are always looking to improve. Best, Kevin

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