| Boiling Point No. 22 - August 1990 |
by Klaus Fischer, P Bag 0018, Gaborone, Botswana
We should make it clear that we in the Botswana Expanded Coal Utilization Project are responsibly and fully involved in coal stoves only because Botswana (a) has the coal abundantly available for the next 2-3 centuries, (b) fuelwood availability for relevant purposes is limited and cannot be further exploited. Referring also to Southern African Development Corporation Conference (SADCC) countries, out of the 10 current member states, 6 are faced with the same problem as Botswana. Coal is abundantly available, and fuelwood is limited, but hardly any of the states have yet made constructive use of their own energy resources.
Allow us to explain what we have done so far and what we intend to do in the future. From the onset in June 1987 we ceased new stove development work since it was apparent that any stove required was already available somewhere on this globe. We therefore established our own small 'Stove Test and Demonstration Centre' in Gaborone and equipped it with 28 different stoves available from neighbouring countries.
Five stoves were found to be suitable for Botswana, provided some technical changes were made to suit the Botswana coal. They could help to protect the environment and would be acceptable for cooking and hot water production etc. From these 5 stoves, 2 were found suitable for low income users but had to be redesigned to achieve satisfactory combustion results in Southern Africa. Based on these developments between June 1987 and September 1989 the government decided, after a project evaluation, to restructure the project, in particular the section for stove distribution in rural areas.
Since October 1989 the newly formed extension team has been directly involved in rural development. We picked one critical village to gain first hand information to be used for further extension. The results so far are encouraging. To help promotion we are converting trucks into mobile demonstration kitchens. These rolling fair stands will travel throughout Botswana and are equipped with medium and low cost stoves and with interconnected, hot water producing equipment, eg. boilers. Once these rolling demo-kitchens are on village sites, or at trade or agricultural fairs, our extension officers will conduct cooking demonstrations to show the efficiency and suitability of coal and coal stoves.
From this brief explanation you will see that Botswana has already begun to overcome its fuelwood problem by substitution with coal. There is much to be done and we believe that at least one generation must start to use coal before full results can be achieved. If this project can render any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.