In Malawi 2.5 % of the forest disappears each year. The use of firewood and charcoal, deriving from forest resources,
accounts for about 99 % of the household energy demand in Malawi and is a cause to the deforestation. The Government of
Malawi recently launched a programme called Promotion of Alternative Energy Sources Programme (PAESP) with the aim
to reduce the use of firewood and charcoal. One of the fuels included in the programme is the biomass briquette. The aim
with this study is to evaluate the viability of biomass briquettes as a sustainable alternative energy source to firewood and
charcoal for households in Malawi.
Research for the study was carried out during three months in Malawi. Visits were made to a number of briquette
production sites to study the manufacturing methods and to collect briquette samples. The briquettes were tested using
various methods and then compared with results for firewood and charcoal.
At the moment various production methods are used in Malawi, with a high difference in technical complexity and cost.
Machines produced from wood using very basic mechanics can apply similar pressure as more advanced metal pressers.
They also seem to be better suited than those made of metal, in terms of price and availability.
The majority of the briquette producers in Malawi use waste paper as base material. Although the paper briquettes are good,
other raw materials will be needed if the production is supposed to be significantly increased.
The briquettes burn well using the most common stoves in Malawi, including the commonly used charcoal stove. While
firewood is cheaper to use than other available fuels, the briquettes seem to be able to compete with the fuel costs for