Product Development Fellow

Deadline for Applications
Where to Apply

Company Overview
GreenChar is an internationally recognized and award-  winning social enterprise in Kenya that provides rural households and the urban poor with affordable, high-quality renewable cooking fuel. GreenChar produces and distributes eco-friendly charcoal briquettes as an alternative to  wood charcoal and firewood. The smoke emitted from cooking with charcoal and firewood currently kills over 4 million people each year, leading to more deaths than HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria combined. GreenChar’s briquettes are smokeless, contain higher energy content, and last longer than conventional wood charcoal and firewood. GreenChar’s briquettes help curb deforestation, reduce respiratory-related health problems, and provide families in Kenya with an affordable and more efficient alternative to conventional fuel sources.

GreenChar is supported by Echoing Green, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and the Anzisha Prize. Founder and Chief Executive Officer of GreenChar, Tom Osborn, is a Forbes 2015 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur. To learn more about GreenChar, please visit

Fellowship Description:
GreenChar seeks skilled, highly motivated engineering students to play a critical role in improving our biomass briquettes. Fellows will take responsibility for experimenting with additives and new ratios and researching new machinery in order to improve customer satisfaction with our briquettes and/or improving the efficiency of the production process. Fellows will work collaboratively with GreenChar’s Director of Production and Director of Operations to design the scope of work for their fellowship period, including the issue to be addressed, hypothesis, experiments, data analysis, and expected deliverables. Fellows will then be responsible for independently conducting their research with limited supervision from the Director of Production.

This is an opportunity to make a real and tangible impact on Kenya’s environment and public health through a growing social enterprise in need of passionate and capable trained engineers. This fellowship will give you on-the-ground engineering experience in a developing country and the potential to add clear results to your resume.

Candidates must be willing to live in a rural village in Western Kenya.

•       Work with the Director of Production and Director of Operations to develop your scope of work for product improvement, with potential areas including:
o       Making the product more optimal for residential use by reducing the amount of time required to light the briquettes, reducing the ash content, and/or increasing the burn time of the briquettes
o       Developing an alternate line of lower-heat, longer-burning briquettes for space heating for poultry farmers
o        Increasing the efficiency of production processes
o       Designing and building a low-cost, high-capacity carbonization kiln
o       Increasing production output through cost-effective new machinery
•       Develop hypotheses to solve the identified problem based on academic research and interviews with other experts in the field
•       Run experiments to test hypotheses
•       Analyze the results and write up recommendations
•       Communicate recommendations to Director of Production and Director of Operations and work collaboratively to implement changes, as appropriate
•       Student or post-graduate in chemical, environmental, or mechanical engineering or related field; Priority will be given to graduate students who have completed at least one year of a master’s degree or graduate degree recipients
•       Fluency in written and spoken English
•       Able to independently design and run experiments to address a specific issue
•       Excellent written and oral communication
•       High level of initiative and self-motivation
•       Highly organized and detail-oriented
•       Excited about experiencing a different lifestyle and culture in rural Kenya

What We Offer:
•       Opportunity to gain experience solving important issues in a developing country
•       Support from a fun and innovative team
•       A chance to create a lasting positive impact
•       Flexibility to shape your own experience
•       Support seeking funding and/or degree credit from your university

To Apply: Send your CV and a cover letter including: a) your relevant experiences and skills b) your initial ideas on which issues you would be interested in working on from the list included above and c) the dates you would be available to spend in Kenya to

Please note that fellows are accepted on a year-round and applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

Additional Information

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, not subject to listed deadline.