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Carleton College

Publication Date

Fall 2022

Program Name

Madagascar: Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management


Like most of Madagasacar’s population, people around Vohimana Reserve rely on traditional fuels like firewood and charcoal for cooking and heating. As a result, the region is facing deforestation, which poses a threat to biodiversity and the livelihoods of local populations. A local essential oil distillery was created by the NGO L’Homme et L’Environnement as a sustainable income generator to combat deforestation and protect biodiversity. The distillery produces leaf biomass that can be mixed with binding agent(s) and transformed into biofuel as a sustainable alternative to traditional fuels. 14 biofuels were created by combining distillery leaf biomass and various percent ratios of locally available binding agents (potato starch, clay, and cassava). The fuels were tested for durability, and a rice-cooking test was conducted to determine the most effective biofuel. A biofuel with a 25% potato starch to leaf biomass ratio was the most effective with an average durability of 16.18 ± 1.54 minutes, and successfully cooked a pot of rice within 0.3 minutes of the time taken by traditional charcoal. Distillery leaf biomass can be paired with local binding agents to produce biofuel and potentially replace traditional fuels in the area.


African Studies | Bioresource and Agricultural Engineering | Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Studies | Forest Management


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