People are lining up to try our MakaaDumu, “long-lasting coal” in Swahili. Ok not quite yet, but grown men giggle when they hear what it’s made of and women are quick to recognize the economic benefits. Both, though, are excited and eager to try it. Odorless, healthier, and, above all affordable, our briquettes are poised to enter the market and sweep aside dirty, expensive charcoal. In collaboration with a fellow briquette maker, we have created compact, pillow-shaped briquettes, akin to those used in 4th of July barbecues. Each one is dense enough to hold its shape and burns longer than wood or charcoal. The curved edges facilitate airflow while the rounded shape creates an ideal surface-to-volume ratio for prolonged burning.
But don’t take our word for it! We got our product tested by the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI), and were excited to see that MakaaDumu has comparable energy to oven-dried wood (see chart below). With the added bonus of producing less carbon monoxide and harmful smoke, Sanivation’s briquettes have already begun attracting customers and community advocates.
We can afford to sell the briquettes at around 60% the cost of charcoal because the ingredients are both free (rose and human waste). Don’t fret; charcoal vendors will not lose their jobs. Instead, we plan to hold market demonstrations and work with them to efficiently distribute across the community. By incorporating local salespeople, we will also help to create jobs as we scale and increase production.
Creating briquettes from waste can be a prickly, dirty job, but the end product is all the reward we need. Smiles and encouragement from eager residents continue to push us towards success as we work to meet the energy needs of families in Karagita.