Lumbrick: "Transforming Junk to Joules" and Supporting an Audacious Dream

Lumbrick has potential for a large positive impact in an area of high need.

The issue of refugees globally is an important one and one that has received increased public attention most recently.  The focus on appropriate fuel sources for cooking is very significant with wide reaching social and environmental implications. The use of agricultural waste products has enormous potential as a fuel source and they would seem to be locally sustainable. 


The Lumbrick brick prototype is based upon Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) D-Lab's research on bio-briquettes, which has itself been tested in the field.

“We customized MIT's shape, composition, and procedure to fit the refugee context according to our interviews and collaborations with (1) a refugee who has lived 18 years of her life in Kenyan refugee camps, (2) a young Kenyan entrepreneur who sells bio-briquettes to his community, and (3) various NGO's who have been providing long-term support to refugee camps in Kenya, including the Jesuit Refugee Services, GIZ Kenya, Lutheran World Federation."

“In general, when we say ‘for refugees and with refugees,’ we would like to emphasize our position that we put our customer, the refugee, at the centre of the product and business development. We still have a long way to go, so that’s why we will travel to a refugee camp this summer to better tailor our product.”
— Lumbrick Team

Mission: Bring innovative energy technology to refugees and developing communities in a socially-conscious approach that optimizes adoption.

Product: We are developing a solar pelletization machine that transforms agricultural waste into cooking fuel briquettes. This machine enables farmers to create briquettes for their community, providing a sustainable alternative to firewood.

Achievements: In March 2017, we placed top 6 in the Hult Prize Boston regional finals, overall among top 30 out of 50,000+ teams. In June, we will pitch as one of six teams chosen nation-wide for a chance to win World Vision Canada's Social Innovation Challenge.

Next Steps: We will pilot this project in the Bafut Ecovillage in Cameroon in July and August. 



To learn more about Lumbrick, visit their website at and on Facebook at

This project proposal was awarded Spring 2017.