Chardust's founders believe that it is possible to run a successful enterprise at the same time as protecting the environment and improving the welfare of people in developing countries.
Welcome to Chardust, an alternative energy company in Nairobi, Kenya. We've developed innovative techniques to convert discarded charcoal waste into low-cost fuel briquettes.
For each tonne of charcoal briquettes sold, we displace an equivalent amount of regular lumpwood charcoal. At the same time as providing a cheaper and longer-burning energy alternative, this creates jobs, recycles waste and brings the charcoal business into Kenya’s formal economy.
We also manufacture water heaters that use our briquettes, delivering savings of over 70% compared with water heated using electricity.
Elsen Karstad is a Canadian who has lived in Kenya since 1971 and combines his educational background as an ecologist with a flair for engineering and sales. Elsen’s role in Chardust is innovation, design, marketing and the refinement of production systems and machinery.
John Njuguna is a Kenyan citizen who started his career in primate research. He went on to gain administrative experience in the private sector and is now involved in the running of four successful companies, one of them being Chardust. John looks after the company’s administrative systems, personnel, accounts and day to day operations.
Matthew Owen is a British citizen who trained as a Geographer and now works as a bio-energy consultant. He handles Chardust’s special projects and technical support, as well as website and communications. Matthew also runs his own company selling wood-burning institutional stoves and gel fuel, and is a shareholder in BURN Manufacturing, East Africa’s leading cookstove company.
Chardust was founded in 2000 to produce substitutes for charcoal on a commercially sustainable basis. Given that charcoal generally wholesales for less than $150 per tonne in developing countries, this was at one time thought impossible. Chardust, however, making use of low-priced raw materials, ample labour supply and a good measure of innovation, set out to produce fuels that could sell directly into traditional charcoal markets and compete head-to-head on price and quality. With daily sales peaking at over 7 tonnes, this goal has been achieved!
A strong philosophical foundation influences business decisions at Chardust. The company's Directors are aware that they are pioneers of emerging technology that has led to the development of a new industry in East Africa with the capacity to protect diminishing natural resources, recycle large amounts of waste and provide inexpensive fuel to huge numbers of people.