Practical Action Bangladesh country office with support from EnDev conducted an action research from August to December 2018 to explore small-scale mechanical briquetting technology for conversion of under-utilized dried faecal sludge, resulting from the emptying and containment of such sludge at faecal sludge treatment plants, and other agriculture biomass to briquette and promote the market as clean cooking fuel. Practical Action worked with four small-scale entrepreneurs in Satkhira and Rangpur and helped them to set up briquette production system to serve people in low income communities, slum dwellers and street and other informal food vendors in urban and peri urban areas who cannot afford LPG and other clean cooking fuels. Surveys show that a four members family on average spends around Taka 1200/month for LPG whereas it can be Taka 800 (33% reduction) if they use briquettes (subject to seasonal variations). Displacing LPG with renewable biomass (briquettes) will reduce carbon emissions, which will contribute to mitigating climate change.
SNV Netherlands in Bangladesh is currently implementing urban sanitation projects in Khulna city corporation and Jhenaidah municipality and have assisted those cities to set up Faecal Sludge Treatment Plants – FSTPs. Dried sludge are coming out at the end of the treatment. They have done extensive action research for exploring opportunity to promote the market for dried faecal sludge as compost for agricultural uses but still yet to influence certification system for commercial marketing.
Practical Action and SNV has decided for mutual collaboration and initiated a project supported by EnDev for the demonstration of the nexus of sanitation and energy to increase the access for clean cooking solutions (fuel and improved cook stoves) by rural and urban poor people.
The overall objective of the project is to develop and strengthen local market system of briquettes (from dried sludge and un/under used agriculture biomass) and linking with improved stoves programmes of different national ICS stakeholders for increasing access to clean cooking solutions (fuel and stoves) by 1800 low income rural and urban households and 200 commercial customers. The specific objectives are:
SNV and Practical Action are attempting to address the market development for Faecal Sludge and un/under used biomass mixed Briquettes (FSmB) with a long-term vision and with a wide and varying range of building blocks that can be adapted to popularise the technology at the local level. The proposed study to assess the market of FSmB in the five districts of Khulna, Jhenaidah, Satkhira, Rangpur and Faridpur is an initial step to this direction.
The objective of ICS nexus FSmB Market study is to assess the level of awareness, willingness and affordability of households to use FSmB to complement the existing and expected future fuel sources, which are mainly firewood, charcoal and dung cakes. The key question of the study is, therefore, ‘can FSmB be ‘sold’ in the project areas and if yes, to how many households and at what cost’?
The focus of this market study will be on the following areas related to dissemination of FSmB technology:
Demand side: What are the main requirements & gadget demands of households in terms of domestic energy, improving health and switching to FSmB? What are the needs of potential customers and why they would choose ICS & FSmB over other fuel sources? What is the level of awareness of people on ICS & FSmB? What are the types of biomass available (throughout whole year/seasonality) that households use for cooking? Are there any social taboos/reluctances to use FSmB and if yes, can they be mitigated? Are there any inhibiting factors to disseminate ICS & FSmB technology? What level of behavioural change communication is needed to convince people to use ICS & FSmB? Who are the primary customers of ICS nexus FSmB? For example, are there household and commercial users, i.e brick line, tea stall, rice parboiling plant, local hotel etc. & Institutional (Madrasha, School, Government office canteen) users? Monthly how much Briquette will be needed and what is the current market price and what should be the convenient price demand by users? What are the potential applications of FSmB? What types of traditional and improved cookstove (specify tier) are most popular in these specific areas and what is their purchase cost? Time required for cooking & processing fuel? Regular health problems caused by Indoor air pollution (IAP) and monthly cost for this reason? Who are the main users of electric cooking & LPG Stove? Level of penetration, monthly cost and popular types of cooking gadgets?
Supply side: How can the existing infrastructure (soft and hardware components) assist in dissemination of ICS nexus FSmB? Are there local entrepreneurs capable of production and marketing of ICS & FSmB? Are there services available for manufacturing, installation and after sales support for sustainable operation of technologies? What are the capacity building needs to enhance capacity of supply side actors? Who are the current ICS and briquette promoters in these areas, production cost, raw materials transportation cost and collection mechanism, marketing & promotional activities? Monthly Fuel (Litre)/Electricity (KWh) consumption, running time & cost of briquette machines, heating technology? Who are the potential customers of raw material suppliers? Who are the potential briquette and ICS retailers (excluding briquette entrepreneurs), and what are their financial capabilities and marketing knowledge? What types & how much Un/Under Used Biomass are available in these areas throughout the year? Who are the key suppliers of Electric & LPG cookstoves, selling price, level of selling per months, popular selling stoves/ electrical cooking gadgets, supply and marketing mechanism, etc?
Intervention: Who are the niche customers and which are the geographical areas that have critical masses to disseminate FSmB technology in the project areas?