By Itohan Abara-Laserian
Golden Seeds Fats and Oil Ltd has announced its diversification into the production for export and local use of biomass briquettes using palm nut shells, the company’s Chief Excecutive Officer/co-Founder, Mr Lanre Sam-Akinkunmi has said.
Sam-Akinkunmi, who disclosed this at a media briefing on Tuesday, in Lagos, added that briquette production had immense economic benefits, making it one of the hottest processing industries to venture into.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that biomass briquettes are a biofuel substitute to charcoal, mostly used in developing countries, where cooking fuels are not easily accessible to industries and grilling outfits.
“We are into the palm oil and palm nut value chain, where we derive products from the palm oil tree. Our primary business has been processing palm nuts into palm oil and palm kernel cake.
“Recently, we started processing our palm kernel shells into biomass briquettes for industrial applications, grilling, cooking and for local charcoal uses.
“We intend to service a range of industries with the launch of this product into the market; people who need industrial heating, fire place and boiler applications, steel furnaces, grilling restaurants, hotels and homes.
“Golden Seeds is ready to support the Federal Government in its charcoal export policy.
“We are working with relevant government agencies with regard to export, to enable us earn forex and grow the economy,” he said.
Sam-Akinkunmi noted that briquette charcoal was a direct substitute for the traditional tree charcoal, describing it as efficient, consistent, long-lasting and beneficial to the environment.
“So, from our shells, we converted directly into the same charcoal; but we have a higher calorific value in terms of heat value and minimal ash, it is a smokeless fuel that generates bluish flame.
“Its impact on the environment is renewable and at zero level. We are test running the product in a few weeks before we roll out to all the retailers and shops.
“We are working to get the product into the export market as well. We are futuristic that the government will look at the product and consider it not as a tree product.
“We will be getting into contract to produce for private labels as well.
“Also, we have plans to increase our production capacity and help the smallholder farmers, who supply us with the shells.
Sam-Akinkunmi stated that the company was producing 400 metric tons of the charcoal briquettes, noting that charcoal had a high volume market in Nigeria.
“The industry is facing a huge clampdown, specifically with the ban on charcoal export because of the predominant source of the commodity.”
He stated that Nigeria still ranked among the top five charcoal producers globally, but had not been regulated like in most parts of the world, with the exception of America and France.
Sam-Akinkunmi noted that there was a huge market for briquettes and the company was talking to retailers in Kuwait, Jordan, Oman, Middle East and North Africa.
“A lot of North African countries are exporting to Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon and others.
“Saudi Arabia alone does about $80 million worth of charcoal annually, while South Africa does about $54 million worth of the commodity because they have a grill and soul food culture.
“The shisha application will go well with the urban cities of Nigeria like Port Harcourt, Lagos, Abuja, Kano, the company CEO said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)