Ecoleña Is Now Available in Guatemala

Rudy Giron: 130115 Ecoleña presentation &emdash;

Tuesday night was the presentation of the project of Ecoleña at Rainbow Café by the foundations Fundación Progresar Guatemala and Legacy Foundation. The presentation consisted of four parts. First they presented the ecoleña (ecological firewood) and how a poor community, Sacapulas (Quiché) is empowered by its use. Second they talked about the technical aspects of ecoleña and the machines that are needed to produce the leña alternative. Last they demonstrated how ecoleña burns. Last, there was a question and answer session during the burning of the ecoleña briquettes demonstration. Follow the white rabbit to the news section at the Legacy Foundation for additional news bits.

In summary, ecoleña is an alternative firewood fuel produced by grinding leaves, grass, forest debris, or any other biodegrable debris, and then pressed the ground material into fuel briquettes. The Ecoleña fuel briquettes costs Q0.75 / US$0.09 for the briquettes made from only leaves and Q1.50 / $0.18 for the ecoleña briquettes which include charcoal content in the mixture. At the moment I believe ecoleña is a great firewood substitute in communities where leña (firewood) is expensive and hard to come by. Remember that I have mentioned before that a tarea of leña (perhaps twice as much as a rick of wood, which is is 8 feet long 4 feet tall and 3 feet thick I think) goes for about Q230 / $28 since most of this firewood is collected from the trimming of the trees that provide shadow to the coffee bushes. Of course, this is not the case in many places in Guatemala where leña can be expensive.

Anyhow, below you can watch a video clip of the demonstration of the ecoleña briquettes and a slide show of the event.

What’s your opinion on ecoleña based on the materials presented?

© 2013 – 2017, Rudy Girón. All rights reserved.

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  • Tom de NY

    Sounds good. What does it smell like when burning? One of my favorite sensory memories of Guatemala is the smell of the wood fires. I’d hate to lose that aroma!

    • Hi Tom de NY, that depends on the composition of the ecoleña briquette; they had samples made with garlic which keep mosquito and other insects away; ceremonial briquettes which had eucalypti leaves, copal incense and aromatic substances; in short, I guess they manipulate the smell of the burning ecoleña by adding certain things to it.

      • Tom de NY

        Ok, that is seriously chilero. You can heat up the comal, drive off the bugs, create an atmosphere and help save the planet, todo de un tiron! Vaya pues.

        • That’s right Tom de NY, ecoleña is the way to go and definitely much better for the environment.

  • NYChapin

    Pues en hora buena para las comunidades que los elaboren e usen.

    They would be awesome to take on camping trips.
    I would like to order one with the aroma of my abuelita’s kitchen !

    • Sure NYChapin, just give us the things that produce the aromas in your abuelita’s kitchen and the ecoleña will reproduce it. 😉

  • Eric

    An interesting idea, Rudy, and probably a welcome one. Should we call the Irish embassy, and alert them that someone is trying to compete in the ‘peat’ business ? Ja-ja. Ecolena appears to burn cleaner…a lot cleaner…

    • So “peats” what you Irish people call the ecoleña, then. That’s good to know, Eric.