Profile – Draft for Discussion Only

CAREL  (Rural Alternatives Center of El Limon, Dominican Republic)


Demonstration of Pyrolytic Combustion of Biofuel Pellets for Cooking and Electric Generation in Haiti and the Dominican Republic



Pyrolytic combustion of plant matter offers an efficient, ecological alternative to common  cooking fuels, and also can be used to generate electricity.  In this project, a village-scale fuel pellet production infrastructure will perform dual service, providing pellets for home use and for a 10 kW – 20 kW generator that feeds a village micro-grid.  An important by-product will be bio-char fertilizer.  Two villages will participate, one in the Dominican Republic and the other in Haiti, and the project will feature an interchange of participants to promote cooperacion in both technical and social aspects of the project. 


Benefits of The Project

Environmental:  Deforestation is reduced by eliminating individual family cutting of firewood for cooking fuel, and changing biomass harvest into a controlled, sustainable community activity.  Use of fossil fuels for cooking and electric generation are avoided, reducing emission of greenhouse gases.

Health:  Lung-damaging emissions from open wood cooking fires and kerosene illuminating lamps are eliminated.

Social:  Electrification promotes general quality-of-life, better education, and sets a community on the path to further economic development.  Cooperation between Dominican and Haitian communities is also beneficial for both countries.

Agricultural:  Pyrolytic combustion produces significant quantities of bio-char, an important soil amendment.


Technical Description

Fuel:  Fast-growing brushy plants or grasses (possibly Vetiver grass) will be the basic fuel stock.  Plants will be chosen based on a study of local conditions, and a planting and management program will assure sustainability.  Processing will use a chipper, a grinding mill, and a pellet mill, all of which are commonly available.

Stoves:  Stoves for home cooking will be of the “Luchia Stove” type, provided by World Stove, a socially oriented business based in Italy.  The stoves are highly engineered, of a design optomized for local conditions, and cost about $ 35 when locally assembled.  They are fabricated from long-lasting stainless steel, burn cleanly, and operate for several hours on one filling of pellets (approximately one liter).

Electric Generation:  The demonstration project will use commercial gasifier-gensets of  10kW, 15kW or 20kW, depending on the size of the selected communities and the analysis of the feedstock plant production.

Electric Distribution:  Electric distribution will use a conventional mini-grid operating at 120/240 Volts, 60 Hz.  If the houses are dispersed, 7.2 kV transformers will be used



For more information on packaged gasifier-generator sets see:


For more information on pyrolytic stoves see:


An inspiring Indian rural electrification project based on pyrolytic combustion of rice hulls is at




Project Activities

Selection of Communities


Design of System


Formation of Local Organizations


Interchange of Participants


Purchase of Equipment


Installation of Equipment


Training of Personnel


Biomass Production


Preliminary Budget  (150 Households)


Pellet production  2 x $6,000                                                  12,000

Stoves  150 x $ 35                                                                5,250

Gas generator/ Genset  2 x $ 25,000                                      50,000

Mini-grid       2 x $ 15,000                                                     30,000

Personnel           1 full time equivalent for one year                             30,000

Consultants         management plan, stove localization, etc.                  10,000

Travel and transportation                                                                10,000

Administration                                                                               15,000

TOTAL                                                                                                   $  162,250




Jon Katz

CAREL (Rural Alternatives Center of El Limon)

El Limon de Ocoa, Dominican Republic