Energy Firm Intensifies Green Charcoal Production

These are dried stalks of Bana Grass ready for making into briquettes.

An energy company based in Pampanga is intensifying its green charcoal production using Bana Grass as its feedstock and using technology from the Forest Products Research Institute based in Los Baños, Laguna.

This is the Mackay Green Energy Inc. which recently bought 30 briquettors, 30 drum kilns, six binder-mixers and six charcoal crushers from the FPRDI, an agency of the Department of Science and Technology. These will be used to make green charcoal.

The green charcoal is in the form of briquette, a compacted mass of fuel material made from a mix of charcoal fines and a binder, and molded under pressure. It is less messy than ordinary charcoal and easier to handle because it is compact and uniform in size. Also it easily ignites, burns more slowly, gives more intense heat per unit volume, and is almost smokeless when burning, according to FPRDI.

Mackay’s Joseph Issifu is shown how to use the drum kiln from FPRDI.
Mackay’s Joseph Issifu is shown how to use the manual briquettor.

According to Mackay Green Energy which imported the Bana Grass, the Bana Grass is a hybrid of Pennisetum purpureum and Penissetum ameracanum. It is a fast-growing variety that is highly tolerant to drought and typhoons, pest-resistant and is also non-allergenic.

Engr. Belen Besana of FPRDI commented that the Bana Grass briquette is a most welcome development as the use of eco-friendly charcoal can help relieve pressure on the country’s mangroves. During the past decade, the heavy dependence on wood charcol by lechon businesses all over the country has been blamed for the depletion of our mangrove forests.”

During the DOST-FPRDI’s recent techno-demo at Mackay, officers from Mang Inasal Philippines were on hand to observe how the Bana Grass briquettes are made. According to Mackay’s Joseph Issifu, aside from Mang Inasal, they have on-going talks with two other top roasting companies who are interested in their product.

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