Emily Ruder & Jacob Rankin, “Small-Scale Sustainable Charcoal Production in Kenya”
Mentor: Mai Phillips, Conservation and Environmental Science
Woodfuel accounts for 80% of energy consumption in Kenya and accounts for most of the deforestation after agriculture. The Dryland Natural Resource Center (DNRC) in Mbumbuni, Kenya is producing sustainable charcoal to combat these issues during a transition to modern energy technologies. The DNRC’s goal is to profit from charcoal production and pay farmers a relatively high price for their crop. To accomplish this goal, they need to produce product efficiently to keep production costs low. This research intends to find a way to achieve highest yields in charcoal production at the DNRC. We studied four species most commonly harvested by farmers (Terminalia brownii, Senna siamea, Acacia polyacantha, Senna spectabilis). Samples per species n=6, total n=24. These were harvested and dried for 1, 2, and 3-month periods. Moisture, diameter, and weight measurements were taken before carbonization (process of turning wood to charcoal). Mass after carbonization was used to find yield. Observational data were also collected and considered. Our findings will result in recommendations to increase sustainable charcoal yields in small-scale production at the DNRC.