the Carbon Farmers project
How it all
It all started in Kenya some twenty years ago on our family small holding. Wood was getting scarce and the only water supply, a small river, had become polluted with soap from an impromptu ‘laundry’ upstream. The best way to filter out the washing soap, and make the water potable again, was to use activated charcoal.
The process we used to make this activated charcoal produced a lot of heat, which was then put to good use in the form of a cook stove. We found the best activated charcoal came from burning small sticks, which also solved another issue: we no longer had to buy unsustainable fuel wood to cook with. Now twigs that had fallen from our own trees were sufficient.
The concept works just as effectively scaled up, so we made bigger versions for a community kitchen.
Our stoves produced plenty of biochar for filtering water. In fact we made so much charcoal, we also developed a stove to burn it!
Over a decade later, with more climate awareness, we now mix any surplus charcoal with soil, to capture the carbon.
All the water we drink is filtered using the charcoal we produce!
(Times were taken from when the fire was lit. All figures were from the same trial. )
What we hope for our
Self-sufficiency is not something that we have to worry too much about in the West just yet. However, for billions of people around the world it is a critical part of survival. In many rural communities, where paid employment opportunities are limited, producing at least some of your own food is essential. Fertile land for cultivation, wood fuel for cooking, and water for drinking and irrigation are often very limited. It is vital to make the most of scarce resources; which is where biochar can really help.
Then there is the environmental impact that cooking with a Tawi stove can have. We know that even if everyone in the UK used Tawi stoves for their summer BBQs, that would not make a real difference to the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. However, if you can help us inspire the billions of people around the world who cook most of their meals on open fires to switch to this technology, then together, we can make a meaningful difference.
We are very proud of everything we have managed to achieve so far with the Carbon Farmers project, especially when in 2021 our original BiocharBBQ project was nominated for the first ever Earthshot Prize!
This video is how we explained our project for the nomination.
Try it for
There are many things that we hope the Tawi stove can do to help people cook and live more sustainably, but if you’re like us, you take many claims of ‘this will help humanity’ with a large pinch of salt. Therefore I invite you to ‘road-test’ this particular one for yourself! The following videos show you how to make a ‘trench stove’ out of solid clay bricks and a simple ‘biochar’ water filter.
We have to say this… You make your own stove and water filter at your own risk; we accept no liability for any injuries. Remember; never use flammable liquids, like petrol, to light any barbecues or fires. We recommend you read the safety instructions and watch the lighting instruction videos found on this page.
Buy your own Tawi Stove to begin carbon negative cooking at your home.
Follow us on social media for frequent updates on recipe ideas, what to do with your biochar and new ways in which to use your stove to help the planet.