Peanut Shell Fuel for the Gambia

EPA Grant Number: SU834702
Title: Peanut Shell Fuel for the Gambia
Investigators: Staudinger, Tyler , Everett, Jess , Zhang, Hong
Current Investigators: Zhang, Hong , Everett, Jess , Falvo, Nicholas Thomas , Lavertu, Daniel Raymond , Mease, Bradley Richard , Mirto, Nicholas , Trapper III, Edward Arthur , Tryner, Jessica
Institution: Rowan University
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2010 through August 14, 2011
Project Amount: $9,300
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2010) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Agriculture , P3 Challenge Area - Energy , P3 Awards , Sustainability


The challenge faced is to develop an inexpensive yet environmentally friendly alternative to wood fuel in the Gambia. This can be accomplished through the use of biomass briquettes derived from peanut shells. The briquettes will be produced using a human powered press to compact the organic materials. The production of these briquettes will provide a fuel source to those in poverty, providing a supplemental income to villages that produce more than they consume. There will be a reduction in the rate of deforestation taking place as villagers will no longer need to harvest such a large amount of wood with which to cook. This project will also provide the villagers will more free time to earn money or receive an education and will lead to an increase in the overall quality of life.


The project will be completed in a two-semester Jr/Sr Engineering Clinic (EC) taught by Professors Everett and Zhang. Students will design, build, and test three devices. Two of the devices are based on existing designs already in use with other biomass materials and/or in other countries. If the project is successfully completed our device would become one of a suite of products promoted by the Engineering Innovators Without Borders center at Rowan University and would further supplement the campus’s desire to implement sustainable technologies around the world. The success of the design for the briquette manufacturing apparatus will be measured by how rapidly the device can produce briquettes, how easy it is to operate, how easy it is to produce, how much the device costs, and the characteristics of the briquettes.

Expected Results:

The project will develop a household-scale human-powered briquette maker that will convert peanut shells into an efficient cooking fuel. The briquette maker will be designed such that it can be manufactured and used in The Gambia.

Supplemental Keywords:

Alternative Fuels, Waste to Value, Monitoring Resource Consumption, Agricultural Byproducts, Biomass Briquettes, Briquette Production;

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report