October 4, 2007 (Bayanihan) – Local sale of charcoal briquettes made with jatropha plant waste from bio-diesel production can hit some PhP 1.1 billion next year.”It’s possible if we follow provisions of Republic Act 9367, the Bio-fuels Act,” said Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Chief Science Research Specialist Santiago Baconguis who made this projection.
Since oil from jatropha seeds can be extracted and processed into bio-diesel then mixed with traditional diesel engine fuel, he said the plant’s residue from this process represents an alternative resource for making briquettes which are blocks of flammable material used to start and maintain fires.
RA 9367 requires a minimum one percent blend of bio-diesel, which is derived from biomass or organic matter like jatropha, with traditional diesel engine fuel sold nationwide.
“A one percent blend will generate about 300,000 metric tons (MT) of jatropha waste which can be made into some 75,000 MT of charcoal briquettes that people can sell at PhP15 per kilogram (kg),” Baconguis said, citing results of his study for DENR’s Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau.
Government is promoting jatropha as an alternative fuel source to help reduce the country’s dependence on costly imported traditional fuel which is among sources of carbon dioxide emissions.
Baconguis noted increasing the bio-diesel blend will require processing of more jatropha seeds so this will result in a corresponding hike in volume of waste that can be tapped for more briquetting.
He continues promoting production and use of briquettes since this will help people realize profit from jatropha waste.
“Either about 947 producers using manual briquettors with daily capacities of 300 kg each or 142 producers using hydraulic briquettors with a two-ton daily capacity will be needed,” he said.
He also said using jatropha for briquettes will help rehabilitate denuded areas as demand for this plant will increase.
Aside from jatropha waste, Baconguis said organic materials like corn cobs, rice hull, sugarcane bagasse, coconut residue, animal manure and urban refuse can be tapped for briquetting.