Tuesday, 04 June 2013 12:38

Green charcoal on the horizon

Mpumalanga cane growers may soon have a new green charcoal product in retail shops made from sugar cane biomass, the Business Day recently reported.

“The problem is that this reservoir was untapped. We are developing innovative and scalable technology to increase growers’ revenue and to generate some value from this biomass,” Justin Murray, grower affairs manager for the Mpumalanga Cane Growers Association, said. He added that growers were eager to find alternative usage for sugar cane biomass because the sugar industry was in trouble.

The cane-growing sector had not made an economic return in a decade and growers were exiting the industry. A market for fibre would improve revenue. After several tests using torrefaction technology, the association believed an opportunity existed to establish and run a pilot plant at the cost of R20 million, which would offer sugar cane farmers a market for their business.

The technology has been developed through efforts between Stellenbosch University, Tshwane University of Technology and the engineering company Aurecon.

Full acknowledgement and thanks are given to SAPA and Business Day for providing the information to write this article.

GIL Africa 2017