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Bio-Briquette: An Alternative Source of Energy
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Bio-Briquette: An Alternative Source of Energy
In the past, villagers in rural Nepal were forced to burn firewood as their main energy source, leading to deforestation and health issues for women who constantly breathed in the smoke. Beehive bio briquettes are an alternative energy source that cost almost nothing to make, are smoke free, and are created from biomass that doesn't necessitate felling trees. See how this Nepalese community is being transformed through making, using, and selling bio briquettes.
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Produced by Bigvon Dixikov.

Originally featured in the ViewChange Online Film Contest.

Find out more about bio briquettes in rural Nepal.

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Segment 1

TITLE
Punkbuddhaz Studios, Bigvon Dixikov, Yalambar Khargoli
TITLE
A Tale of Tamang Women. Bio briquette. An alternative source of energy.
TITLE
Beehive bio briquette is a low cost alternative source of energy, which has great advantage in developing and rural areas.
TITLE
Tripeni. Outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal
VOICEOVER
In the outskirts of Kathmandu Valley, there is a small village called Tripeni. Before bio briquettes, villagers had to use firewood as their ultimate source of energy. Firewood produces lots of smoke and is also very dangerous to health. The method of making a bio briquette is very easy. After you produce this charcoal from wild herbs called banmara from the forest, then you grind the charcoal into small fine pieces. Then after the charcoal is grinded, it is mixed with mud. The ratio is two to one. If you add two buckets of charcoal, then you need to add one bucket of mud.
WOMAN
Bio briquette has made a lot of difference in our life, because it is a very good source of income.
INTERVIEWER
Do these children go to school now?
WOMAN
Yes they go to school.
INTERVIEWER
At what grade are they studying then?
WOMAN
Six.
INTERVIEWER
Really?
WOMAN
My son is at class two and daughter is at class six.
INTERVIEWER
Did the village have school before?
WOMAN
Before? Yes there was school even before.
INTERVIEWER
Did you send your children to school even before you started this bio-briquette thing?
WOMAN
No, we did send our children to school even back then… But now there really is a big difference for the family than before.
INTERVIEWER
So without difference both son and daughter get a chance to study?
WOMAN
Yes, we have admitted both of them to school.
VOICEOVER
The mixture is mixed thoroughly then added to a molding machine, where pressure is applied to compress the charcoal and the mud mixture.
INTERVIEWER
So with the income you can easily run the house?
WOMAN
Yes, it is sufficient to run the family.
INTERVIEWER
Do you even save by selling bio briquettes?
WOMAN
Yes, we do have a bit of savings as well.
INTERVIEWER
What would you like to advise people in other villages who are interested in such kind of smoke-free alternative source of energy?
WOMAN
So this is the way of making bio briquette, which would yield income to your family as well.
VOICE
Then after, the mold is taken out from the cast, which has a beehive like shape. Hence it is called a beehive briquette. Then the mold is taken outside and baked in sun. After it is baked, it becomes a very good fresh warm briquette, which is ready to store. Then after you could either sell it at market, or use it for your personal purpose as a clean alternative source of energy.
MAN
The briquette is just enough to sustain your life.
INTERVIEWER
Does bio briquette play a role in deforestation?
MAN
No, the making of bio briquette wouldn't hamper the forest. Because the charcoal needed for the bio briquette is extracted from burning wild grasses. The wild grass is called "Kala Jharr" in Nepali.
INTERVIEWER
Hence it does not destroy the forest.
MAN
We don't need to chop the trees to make the briquette.
INTERVIEWER
How much smoke does this briquette emit then?
MAN
There is smoke while making the charcoal for the briquette. But when the briquette is ready it is nearly like an electric heater, it won't yield any smoke. It won't produce any smoke. But one thing a single briquette only lasts for 60-90 minutes.
VOICE
The Tamang lady also suffers from a heart disease. Maybe after the use of Bio Briquette, she would have less impact upon her fragile health.
TITLE
Eco Stove; Bio Briquette
TITLE
The Tamang woman who was exposed to cooking smoke for a long time made her a victim of a dangerous cardiovascular disease. Bio briquette is really a gift to her from heaven. Hence, there is hope that this type of smoke-free alternative source of fuel would really bring better health and hope towards the lives of grass hood level people.