Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center

Scaling-up sustainable charcoal briquette production in Tanzania

Organization name: Appropriate Rural Technology Institute Tanzania (ARTI TZ)

Location of organization: ARTI TZ offices are located in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania. The project takes place in Bagamoyo and Kibaha Districts where the CBEs are located; Bagamoyo and Kibaha are located about 60 km away from Dar-Es-Salaam.

Organization Website:

Project's information page: production-in-tanzania/


Appropriate Rural Technology Institute Tanzania's (ARTI-TZ) "Scaling-up sustainable charcoal briquette production in Tanzania" is a two and half year project (2013-2015). It is implemented in the Pwani coast region of Tanzania in the districts of Bagamoyo and Kibaha as well as in the city of Dar-Es-Salaam.

Traditional charcoal production has led to severe deforestation in Tanzania causing environmental stress and degradation. Over 90% of Tanzanian households use charcoal as their primary source of fuel and Dar-Es-Salaam alone uses approximately 500000t/yr of charcoal. Therefore, the need for sustainable, affordable and easily available alternative is pressing: sustainable charcoal briquettes are made of recycled material, it is similar in terms of usage to wood charcoal, it is cheap, and easy to disseminate as well as it provides income opportunity for women and youth.

The project overall objective is to contribute to reduction of deforestation and GHG emissions and to support local livelihoods in creating sustainable energy business in Tanzania. This is done by establishing Community Based Enterprises (CBE) to produce and sell 3400t/yr of non-wood charcoal briquettes.

The specific objectives of the program are:

Appropriate Rural Technology Institute Tanzania (ARTI-TZ) ARTI-TZ is a partner in the Harvest Fuel Initiative, a joint collaboration between MIT D- Lab and The Charcoal Project, a New York based non-profit. ARTI-TZ receives financial, technical and business support from the Harvest Fuel Initiative. Last January, ARTI hosted three MIT Sloan school students to work on a marketing study that contributed to the development of the groupís new brand name as well as marketing tools.

The Challenge

The challenges that ARTI-TZ is facing in its "Scaling up sustainable charcoal briquettes production in Tanzania" project mostly concern the production chain of the sustainable charcoal briquettes. Streamlining the non-wood charcoal briquettes production flow has been difficult. Overcoming this challenge would mostly consist of supporting the team at the factory in running a better and more efficient way of manufacturing the briquettes. This would especially include and be focused on the briquettes' extruder. This would include identifying causes of problems such as preventing break-downs by regular monitoring of the equipment, etc. While overcoming this challenge, the students will ensure that involve the production team as possible, so that all knowledge can be shared and acted upon. Better understanding and identifying the key characteristics of the issues in the factory would make the equipment perform better and more efficiently. Streamlining the production chain is currently an important issue, for that hampers production.

The second major challenge in the briquettes manufacturing process is bottlenecking. The testing of the drying mechanism for the briquettes and the storage area for raw materials is challenging as well. In order to standardize the briquettes' quality, students will also support the production team and identify several "recipes" using various raw material proportions.

Qualifications, Preferences, and Assets

We are looking for two students with inter-cultural communication skills, ability to work in challenging environments, as well as a good understanding of value chain development. Skills (and experience) in the area of biomass renewable energy technology and in engineering are essential. Experience in developing countries and implementation of grass-root development projects would be appreciated.

Interest in participating in the daily work of the factory and discovering a new culture is a must. Students will be based in Bagamoyo, which is a medium size city. Dedicated, hardworking and honest candidates are required. One candidate should have a mechanical background to support the more efficient running of the equipment present at the CBEs.†While the other candidate should have a manufacturing background to help overcome the bottlenecks the CBEs are facing along the production chain.

Languages used in the project are English and Swahili; students will not be required to speak Swahili, but instead students should be comfortable in a multi-cultural and multi-linguistic environment.

Time Constraints

The project has already started and will be completed by March 2015. Ideally, the students would start their internship during the 1st semester 2014. While we would prefer to host a student for a length of one semester or summer, we would also consider a shorter term project.


Manon Leliever
255 756 723 622/ 782 379 805

Dan Sweeney, D-Lab
617 254 4916