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close this bookBoiling Point No. 15 - April 1988 (ITDG Boiling Point, 1988)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentEditorial
View the documentImproved Stove Programmes in Kenya
View the documentAfter the Jiko ?
View the documentInstitutional Stoves in Kenya
View the documentBellerive Foundation Kenya (UNEP) Institutional Stove Programme
View the documentTraditional Fish Smoking in Western Kenya
View the documentSri Lankan Stoves Past & Present
View the documentThe Work of the Alternative Energy Unit of the Ceylon Electricity Board
View the documentThe Netherlands Sri Lanka Energy Programme
View the documentHambantota Stoves Project
View the documentLeft Handed/Right Handed
View the documentNational Fuelwood Conservation Programme
View the documentSri Lanka's Stove Programme Achievements at Jan.88.
View the documentStove Promotion in Sri Lanka Takes Off
View the documentBetter Ceramic Liners with a Jigger Jolly
View the documentZmart Ztove
View the documentDesigning, Manufacturing and Marketing of Tsotso Stoves in Zimbabwe
View the documentNEWS
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The Netherlands Sri Lanka Energy Programme

By Ton van der Knyff-HASKONING Royal Dutch Consulting Engineers and Architects - Nijmegen, Netherlands.

Sri Lanka is one of the programme countries of the bi-lateral aid programme of the Netherlands.

Besides programmes on rural and agricultural development, an energy programme was started in May 1986 to support the activities on energy conservation and the application of new and renewable energy sources in Sri Lanka. Before the initial start of the programme, a detailed identification and formulation of projects was carried out in the period June 1985 - February 1986.

The writer is Monitoring Agent on behalf of the Netherlands Government and attached to the Ministry of Power and Energy in Colombo.

Programme Activities

One of the projects is the woodstove project aiming at the dissemination of 140,000 woodstoves in rural and urban areas of 10 districts over a period of 3 years. The project manager is Mr. Amerasekera of the Ceylon Electricity Board. The assistance to the project comprises of technical assistance in the field of kiln improvement and clay technology by setting up of a clay testing centre.

Also financial assistance is given in the form of a subsidy on the production and dissemination costs and the purchase of vehicles to transport liners between the districts. The woodstove project in Sri Lanka is quite successful, mainly due to the strong dissemination structure, through the Ceylon Electricity Board and the Local Government organisations.

Other projects under implementation are:

Delivery of two efficient woodfired air heater/furnaces to the tea industry and monitoring of the performance.

A detailed Energy and Process Assessment Study in the tea industry (see report below).

Set up of a Wind and Solar Measuring Network, with the objective to establish a database on wind and solar data which can be used for future energy generation planning.

Introduction of solar pV systems for hospitals, community centres and schools in remote areas as an alternative for rural electrification.

Revival of a Producer Gas Monitoring Programme.

Assistance in the field of Process and Energy efficiency for the basic industries of Sri Lanka like the manufacturing of steel, glass, cement, paper and ceramics. Assistance is rendered in the form of know-how exchange with industries in developed countries.

Furthermore, assistance is given to small research and development projects in the field of wind- pumping, biomass combustion and gasification (paddy husk, saw dust, coir dust, etc.) and solar heating and drying.

An improved cookstove in use in the kitchen area of a line house on the Sri Lankan tea estates. The pipe on the far wall is the chimney.


By Ton van der Knyff


As well as being the major industry of Sri Lanka, the tea industry also appears to be the largest energy consumer, although scattered over about 400-600 factories, each having capacities of 300,000 to 1,300,000 kg tea per annum.

In 1986, 211,3 million kg tea was produced, and to process this amount of tea, 650 million kg of water had to be evaporated for which about 400 million kg of fuelwood was used, 13 million litres of diesel oil and 160 million Kwh of electricity. Also the domestic energy consumption of the tea estate workers should not be ignored.

Energy prices have increased and amount to 1520% of the cost of production. The cost of energy mainly depends on the fuel used for withering and drying, (diesel/fuel oil or fuelwood) and electricity for motive power.

One of the projects under the Netherlands Sri Lanka Energy Programme comprises assistance in energy conservation for the process and domestic sector of the tea industry.

Firewood is the main source of energy for domestic purposes as well as for tree crop and other rural industries in Sri Lanka. With the ongoing deforestation, especially in the up country region, it is of utmost importance to reduce the actual consumption and find ways to conserve firewood. Due to the scarcity of firewood in the up country region, part of the process heat is also produced by fuel oil which, however, is expensive compared to firewood.

There is a tendency that the plantations are starting to grow their own firewood in places where tea cultivation is less profitable. However, it will take some time before these fuelwood plantations are mature.

Firewood consumption in the tea process

The firewood needed to wither and dry one kg of tea amounts to 1.5 to 2 kg. It is possible to reduce this amount to 0.7 kg by the introduction of a better process control and change over to more efficient furnaces. Also producer gasification is one of the possibilities, however this will need more qualified labour to operate the unit. For direct drying with producer gas, the danger of tainted tea by combustion components is constraining this application, especially for the hill country quality tea.

Under the Energy Programme two efficient air heaters for tea drying are installed and are being monitored. Also the monitoring of a producer gas project is underway and the possibilites to use excess electricity from minihydro plants for heat generation are being investigated.

Domestic Energy Consumption

The production of tea is highly labour intensive and especially in the mid and hill country these labourers, originating from India, live at the estate in line house concentrations.

Reviewing the firewood consumption of the estate workers it was found that the per capita consumption was considerably higher than other country-wide surveys have estimated. Besides for cooking, large amounts of firewood are used for warming up water for bathing. In table 1 the results are presented of a survey held at several estates in the hill country region. The difference with mid country is quite obvious due to the higher ambient temperatures.

Firewood for cooking/bathing

Kerosene for lighting

Process required. Firewood Oil

Kg/capita day

Kg/kg tea*


L/kg tea day

Kg/kg tea

L/kg tea

















Table 1 - Comparison energy consumption for domestic use and process requirements in the tea industry.

* Based on an average estate of 500 Ha' with a yield of 1000 kg team/ha and a population of 5-6 persons/Ha.

Other sources quote lower firewood consumption figures, like 2 kg/capita/day, however the figure of 7 kg is in the same range as the results of a survey carried out by ITDG on one of the estates in 1 984.

The prunings of old tea bushes are the main firewood source for domestic use. Pruning of tea is done on a 4-5 year cycle in the up country region and produces about 2200 kg/Ha/year. So for an estate of 500 Ha, with a population of about 3000, the demand will go up to 7.7 million kg/year while the pruning production only amounts to 1.1 million kg/year.

Relating the domestic firewood consumption figure to the amount of tea produced, this results in 15 kg firewood/kg tea. Ten times more than for the actual process. Even if the figures as found in our survey are on the high side it indicates that apart from the introduction of energy conservation measures in the process, it is of utmost importance to encourage also the introduction of domestic woodstoves. The specific problems, however, with the applicable type, size and use of the woodstoves are constraining factors which will be highlighted elsewhere in this issue.

In co-operation with other development programmes like the Integrated Rural

Development Projects (IRDP), Medium Term Investment Project (MTIP), ITDG and Sarvodaya, the Energy Programme aims at the introduction and dissemination of an applicable stove in the tea estates.


Lighting is usually done by the so- called bottle lamp. A bottle, sometimes an old bulb, is filled with kerosene and fired with a cotton wick.

The kerosene consumption appeared to be around 0.1 1 /capita/day, this is of the same magnitude as the amount of diesel (fuel) oil per kg of produced tea. The Ministry of Power and Energy has launched a project to design a more efficient but cheap replacement of the bottle lamp.

Editorial Note

These figures should be kept in mind when considering the light emittance of new stove designs as compared to the traditional three stones fires. Kerosene consumption may rise as light emittance from improved stoves falls.

Ceylon Institute of
Industrial & Scientific


By Dr. Herath, Officer in Charge, Wood and Cellulose Section, CISIR

Since 1980 the Wood and Cellulose Technology Section of CISIR has dealt with research and development of wood and charcoal burning stoves for domestic use. CISIR developed successfully a charcoal burning domestic stove for the State Timber Corporation which is marketed under trade name "Timco" along with charcoal in bags.

In CISIR we do the research and development work on improved stoves and undertake testing of stoves. We have carried out field surveys to determine fuelwood saving in field conditions and user acceptability, durability, etc. CISIR is equipped to test fuels and stoves. Stoves are tested for efficiency by water boiling test and cooking test methods.

The Section has developed various designs of wood burning stoves such as the single pot and two pot stove. Further, we wish to develop a less smoke, less soot, wood burning stove for domestic use. The single pot stove developed by us is marketed through the bilateral urban wood burning stove programme with Ceylon

Electricity Board and Intermediate Technology Development Group.