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Liberia power generation report for March, 2015

Pan Bldg_1-1 2

​The Biomass Brothers in Kakata, Liberia continue to impress the locals, as well as the APL mothership, with their dedication and technical success in the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) vocational school power house. This facility received the first three Version 5.0 Power Pallets, to power their school and surrounding community, and it’s been almost a full year since they cut the ribbon on their facility.

So, how are they doing? As with many development projects, it’s been a year of logistics challenges, machine fixes, funding ambiguity and heroics, along with an Ebola crises and general cosmological entropy. And through it all, the brothers (and a sister now, too), continue to have the facility up and running regularly.

Day after day, rubber tree chips are being turned into electricity to power the shops and classrooms of BWI.  Welding, wood work, computer programming, and general electrical labs now run without the diesel genset that used to power the proceedings (at least when there was diesel).

Below is their power generation report card for March, 2015.  The shop schedule is mostly afternoons only, and varies by day, but as you can see from the green boxes below, every day when they need power, their two Power Pallets are making it.  A third is being used for non-power generation experiments and not in the report.


​Their accumulated expertise is about to be put to work on the second USAID project in Liberia– a village electrification project this summer in Kwendin (very much out in the bush, see map here).  Several biomass brothers will be living on site for a few months to setup three new Power Pallets, organize the fuel supply, and train local operators to maintain the facility.  This is the first expansion work outside the school, and an important step to show we can scale beyond the pilot site and continue employment for those trained at the school.

Congratulations to the BWI Biomass Brothers ( and sister) for continued impressive work.

The spoils of developing CHP systems


The CHP enabled Power Cube is running regularly at APL in Berkeley, creating a big problem for what to do with the exported heat.  Dump tanks and radiators have been adding to the general problem of global warming for months.  But for the last Open House we finally got the hot tub set up and now have a much more rewarding process heat requirement onsite.  The resulting test program is documented above.  Most runs are fully instrumented.  Data logs are available on request.

The new CHP system is a combined cooling and exhaust scavenging system.  It produces around 2kW thermal for each kW electrical generated by the Power Pallet, up to a net 18kW energy and 40kW heat.  Here’s the rendering and explanation of the component parts:


Realized into physical parts, the built assembly looks like this:




More specific tech info on the CHP system is available by writing  Or, you can visit us at our next Open House on Thursday, June 11th and see it running in person.  Note the next Open House is on a Thursday, not a Friday.

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