Shea Kernel Roaster - Ghana

Shea Kernel Roaster - Ghana

In June of 2017, Brian Gylland and Paul Means of Burn Design Lab traveled to Northern Ghana to learn about the shea kernel roasting process. This trip took place under a larger project funded by USAID (lead by Winrock International and TechnoServe), which concerns protecting food security and natural resources in Ghana. Ghana is a major exporter of shea butter, which is a key ingredient in many cosmetic applications, including soaps and creams, and is also sometimes used for cooking in Ghana.

Shea nuts are grown and harvested across much of West Africa and in particular Ghana. Shea is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and the majority of the processing is done by women who get paid very little. Additionally, the current process for roasting shea kernels (pictured above) is not advanced and needs improvement to address significant health and environmental shortcomings.  These shortcomings include low thermal efficiency with correspondingly high fuel consumption, and high particulate emissions (smoke). Problems with inconsistent roasting quality were also observed.

BDL has since partnered with Burro, a Ghana-based developer and distributor of productivity-enhancing innovations. Together, BDL and Burro have applied for a $125,000 grant through Winrock International, which requires a 100% matching contribution for the $250,000 project: to develop an improved roaster. The project will last 2 years, and will consist of multiple design and testing iterations in both lab and field to produce a quality product which meets the women’s needs. Goals of the project will include reducing wood fuel consumption by 60% and reducing particulate and carbon monoxide emissions by 90%. BDL is actively accepting contributions to this matching effort, with the project scheduled to start January 1st, 2018. 

November 2017 Update: 

In late October we received confirmation from Winrock that we are being awarded the grant! We are actively raising matching funds for this project and would greatly appreciate your support!

Support the Shea Roaster Project today!

Project Goals

  • Reduce fuel consumption by 60%

  • Reduce particulate emissions by 90%

  • Improve product quality

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