Value engineering application in the improvement of charcoal briquetting processes in Uganda
The increase in the demand for energy in Uganda due to the high population growth rate coupled with unsustainable harvesting and poor management of forests means that Uganda is approaching a biomass fuel crisis. This provides a context in which the economics of briquette production becomes very important to the briquetting industry that is in its infancy stage. This study focuses on improving the charcoal briquetting process through application of value engineering by carrying out a case study of a small-scale briquetting company. The value chain of the industry was Identified and analyzed in order to identify areas where value could be gained or lost. The technologies being used in the value chain were then assessed with focus on their functions. A life cycle cost analysis for these technologies was done at each stage of production. Alternatives were generated with a focus on reducing costs while maintaining or improving functionality. Three production options consisting of a combination of alternatives were generated in an effort to get the option that generates the least life cycle cost per kilogram for the whole production process. This information was collected through interviews with the proprietors, observation and measuring several parameters of the production process. The result was that one of the options reduced the life cycle cost of from UGX 498 to UGX 313.