Cebu’s fuel briquette and rocket stove

Cebu Daily News reports fuel briquettes made from backyard twigs and leaves produce more efficient heat in rocket stoves than more conventional charcoal.   The rocket stove has proven to be a life saver for the third world countries is showing great possibilities for the developed countries.    What if we could utilize just a fraction of the rice hulls, straw, leaves, grass and leaves?    What an impact this would make on energy conservation!

Rising prices of petroleum based cooking gas  inspired a Cebu-based company to develop indigenous fuel that is as cheap as it is efficient and a lot cleaner.

Iconium Essential Product calls this product “fuel briquettes.”

It is made of organic materials abundant in backyards like leaves, twigs, rice husk and straw, corn cob, sawdust and even shredded paper.

They bundle this cheap and environment friendly fuel with a custom-made stove they call “Rocket Stove.”

Unlike ordinary charcoal, fuel briquettes produce a more heat intensive blue fire rather than ember. As an efficient fuel, it also emits less smoke.

A four inch diameter and one inch thick cylindrical fuel briquette is enough to cook rice said Amy Ouano, chairperson of Iconium.

Compared to ordinary charcoal that cost around P7 per kilo, fuel briquette’s suggested retail price is P2 per kilo.

The rocket stove is well-within the price range of single burner liquified petroleum gas (LPG)-fed or electric powered stove at P600 – P700 per unit.

“We were searching for an alternative method for cooking. LPG is very expensive,” she said.

She added that although there are many known alternatives to LPG and charcoal, “we thought we needed to develop our own product from indigenoues raw materials.”

Thus they hatched the idea of  ‘fuel briquettes’ bundled with rocket stove,” Ouano told Cebu Daily News.

How it’s done

Green raw materials like leaves and grass are moistened and left to partially decompose for several days.

These are then dried and pounded or chopped into small pieces about the size of cornflakes.

They are soaked, mixed in a slurry and pressed with a fuel briquette press into a 4 inch (10 cm) diameter cake with a 1” (2.5cm) center hole.

The briquettes are dried in the sun for 3-5 days and then it’s ready for anybody’s next meal in the making.

Eco friendly

In terms of heat-producing properties, “fuel briquette” is efficient, Ouano said.

Perhaps the third world countries are not behind us when it comes to the basic provisions.   If we were forced to live without electric perhaps the third world would be light years ahead of us.    Maybe we could learn a lot.


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