Carbon Roots International: Biochar to Increase Food Production and Rural Commerce

To refine "char" technology for cooking fuel and as an alternative to fertilizer in Haiti. With support from DIV iand USAID/Haiti, Carbon Roots piloted a wholesale production and distribution model that took its daily production and sales from less than 1 ton per day to >4 tons per day. DIV and USAID/Haiti provided additional support to catalyze commercial investment in machinery and to increase production capacity by six times and reduce the retail price of charcoal.

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Carbon Roots International, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization, has been working and refining “char” technology, which converts biomass-like agricultural waste into both cooking fuel and an alternative to fertilizer.

How does your innovation work?

Char, when compressed into “green charcoal” briquettes, burns cleaner and slightly longer than the wood charcoal traditionally used for fuel in Haiti, while also preventing the deforestation and environmental pollution associated with using wood. When used as biochar, char acts as a fertilizer-like soil remediation tool that increases water retention, improves cycling of nutrients in the soil, raises crop yields, and sequesters carbon.

Next Steps

Increasing food production and rural commerce in Haiti. The project has the potential to not only addresses Haiti’s energy challenges, but also to improve people’s health and surrounding environment.



We offer clean water, cookstoves and solar power lighting systems