Business

COMACO work to save forests

ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
COMMUNITY Markets for Conservation (COMACO) has started manufacturing energy fuel briquettes from groundnut shells to enable Zambia save its forest in Eastern Province.
In view of this, COMACO is now producing over 5,000 tonnes of briquettes, which is a block of compressed charcoal or coal dust used as fuel, per day to enable the organisation save production cost for its energy needs of between US$2,500 and US$3500 every month.
According to a statement posted on COMACO website recently, the innovation will enable most breweries currently using firewood to power their broilers and in the process save the depleting forests in the country.
“For three years, COMACO faced unending problems around disposing of mountains of groundnut shells, the bio-waste from making peanut butter. At the time, we did not realise we were sitting on such a valuable resource that could be turned into renewable energy and save COMACO so much money.
“By converting our roasting energy from gas to fuel briquettes, all made from groundnut shells, we will finally found a cost-saving use for our groundnut shells. Working together with Government and selected brewery companies that consume vast amounts of firewood to make local beer, a real success story has unfolded,” the statement reads.
The breweries were sceptical, but when the briquettes were put to test, they were found to be 40 percent to 50 percent more effective in generating heat, therefore, reducing labour costs and time.
“Most importantly, it provides a legal solution to brewery companies’ energy problems by providing an alternative that avoids the fines associated with illegal tree cutting,” it says.

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