The DOST-Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI) emerged as a major winner at the recently concluded Gawad KINTAL: Kwentong Itinatangi Ng Taon sa Agham, Industriya, at Lipunan.
The Institute won the 2nd Best Commercialization Story for how its green charcoal technology has benefitted a private company in Negros Occidental. The recognition was given by the DOST-Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI) in a virtual awarding ceremony last July 31.
With the DOST-FPRDI’s help, Mackay Green Energy, Inc., is now able to turn huge amounts of agricultural wastes into quality charcoal briquettes. “The MacKay Green Energy, Inc. owns large plantations of bana grass all over the country. The plants’ leaves are used as biomass fuel, leaving behind plenty of stalks unused. This prompted the company to seek our assistance to turn their grass stalks into briquettes,” explained DOST-FPRDI’s Carolyn Marie C. Garcia.
A charcoal briquette is a compacted mass of fuel material made from a mix of charcoal fines and a binder, and molded under pressure. Compared to plain charcoal, briquettes are easier to handle because they are compact and uniform in size. Mackay Green Energy, Inc. acquired 30 manual briquettors, 30 drum kilns, 6 binder-mixers and 6 charcoal crushers from DOST-FPRDI in 2016.
MacKay has not only secured an average income of more than Php 100,000 per month, it has also employed at least eight (8) workers as bana grass harvesters and laborers for the charcoal briquette production. According to their official website, its bana grass charcoal is now being supplied to Landmark, Robinsons, Shell Select and Ihaw Juan, among others.
“Charcoal briquettes are among the Institute’s eco-friendly technologies. They are easy to ignite, burn slowly, give more intense heat per unit volume and are almost smokeless when burning. Promoting the use of charcoal briquettes from agro-forest wastes is one way we can help protect the environment. In recent decades, the excessive use of wood charcoal by the ‘lechon’ industry has been blamed for the destruction of our mangrove forests,” said DOST-FPRDI Director Dr. Romulo T. Aggangan.
“The Institute has long advocated the sustainable use of forest products, carefully exploring other native plants and related natural materials to meet its clients’ needs. Much of what we do shows our aim to help protect – and not destroy – the planet,” Aggangan added.
The Gawad KINTAL is DOST-TAPI’s way of giving “spotlight to commercialization stories that have made the most mark or impression in science, industry, and society.”