Last week was huge for us! On the kiln front, we successfully created biochar from the cocoa husks. Not only did this feedstock light, it also resulted in % yield. We believe that the change in flammability stems from the husks having spent more time drier since they arrived from Ecuador, our team members learning how to block the wind and more effectively use the lighter, and Latifah provided critical advice on how to construct a tent of kindling around the husks. Moving forward, we plan to further test our kiln by continuing to burn both maize and cocoa husks and aiming to achieve 80% yield in at least three trials for each.
Moving to the water filter, we Zipcared to ACE Hardware to acquire a bucket and then headed off to the nearby Francisquito Creek – which is known to be contaminated by E. coli among other contaminants. After scaling a steep bank and rinsing the bucket multiple times as was recommended by a Stanford professor who focuses on water quality, we filled our bucket with creek water and transported it back to our workspace. Beginning today, we plan to work to eliminate the leakage in our filter system by connecting the holes between buckets with a Ziploc funnel that does not allow water to exit the system. Once implemented, we will test the creek water for E. coli and heavy metals prior to filtration and record results. For testing, we have purchased WaterSafe Bacteria Test Strips and an SJ-Wave Water Test Kit. Next, we will allow the water to pass through the filter and retest and re-record the E. coli and heavy metal readings. In order to gain insights on the filter's effectiveness, we will compare the readings. From there, we will likely iterate and repeat until our design removes contaminants and ensures that the water is in compliance with WHO water standards and that E. coli and chloroform levels are zero. If results are promising, we will invest more in certified water tests, such as those listed in our Bill of Materials – which includes the IDEXX Colilert test, IDEXX, Enterolert-E test, and Arsenic Low Range test. The water testing centers around the user and technical requirements of conformance to health standards. Drinking water is critical to human health, and thus our responsibility as engineers of this filtration system is at an all-time high. We must prioritize the well-being of potential users by testing rigorously.
husks to char – using the tent set up, drier
79% yield – 3 times