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Photograph courtesy Joyce Stanley

Great Energy Challenge Grantee: Legacy Foundation

Project: Eco-Leña: Fighting Deforestation With Biomass Briquettes

Location: Sacapulas, Guatemala

Summary: Deforestation is occurring at alarming rates throughout Guatemala. In some places the forecast for total deforestation is projected in terms of decades, not over a century. In rural areas of Guatemala many people derive income from fuel wood and charcoal production, distribution and sales, thus exacerbating deforestation. According to the Guatemala National Forestry Institute (INAB) and the Rural Energy and Efficiency Partnership, fuel-wood use accounts for 50,000 hectares of the 90,000 hectares being removed nationwide each year.

Legacy Foundation's and Fundación Progresar's Eco-Leña Project is reducing deforestation through helping to substitute fuel wood and charcoal consumption with hollow core biomass briquettes. The project has accomplished this through capacity building training courses leading to the establishment of a self-sustaining, income-generating network of biomass briquette producers, trainers and equipment suppliers in Guatemala. Project efforts have supported the local capacity for manufacturing and maintenance of the required equipment. A major selling point of fuel briquettes over existing fuel wood supply is the technical simplicity and economic viability of the fuel briquettes.

Goal: Reduce the rate of deforestation in Guatemala by establishing an income-generating network of hollow-care biomass briquette producers

Project participants:

  • Legacy Foundation (Richard Stanley, co-director; Joyce Stanley, co-director)
  • Fundación Progresar (Leticia Velasquez Zapeta, director)

The Great Energy Challenge grant program, in collaboration with a distinguished group of scientists acting as the board of advisors, awards roughly a half-dozen grants per year. The goal of the grant program is to hasten the growth of promising, global energy solutions as a response to climate change, energy resource constraints and environmental limitations.

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