Biomass Fuel: “Local Recycling of Combustible Waste”
Haiti is facing erosion and other environmental disasters related to deforestation.
Haitians burn wood charcoal for 60% of their domestic energy. The excessive use of charcoal requires cutting down trees faster than they are being replaced leaving less than 2% of the Haitian landscape forested. This causes the topsoil to wash away, creates mudslides and further reduces crop yields.
As one alternative to charcoal, HDSC’s student staff has made a biomass cooking fuel using a mix of shredded waste paper, sawdust, and water. Composted in a five-gallon pail for one week, the mixture is compressed into briquettes using a caulking gun with a 1.5 inch diameter PVC tube. After sunbaking the briquettes for several days, they are used in the same manner as charcoal.
UMass Lowell’s engineering students are advancing solutions toward a broader array of combustible local waste by developing mechanical shredders capable of supporting a small business recycling model.