A factory that produces briquettes from coffee by products and saw dust to replace fire wood or charcoal was inaugurated on Wednesday July 11, 2012. The factory that was built at the cost of 2.5 million birr has the capacity to produce 1.5 tons of briquets per hour and 100,000 tons per year.
African Briquet Factory Plc (ABF), opened in the presence of Wondemu Tekle, State Minister of Water and Energy, Tewolde Berhan G/Egziaber, the Director General of Federal Environment Protection Authority as well as the Ambassadors of Germany and Austria.
“In relation of the urbanization and population boom, the need for fire wood had increased drastically. This is a direct cause of deforestation and environmental pollution. In order to safeguard the environment from pollution and to fight deforestation, using renewable resources for energy is a must,” stated Gerd Ladsttater, General Manager of Briquet Factory.
Briquet is an environmentally friendly product made from the byproducts of coffee, rice and cereals. Some argue that it gives more energy for less money than charcoal and fire wood. In addition if used nationwide it will stop deforestation and reduce health risks due to indoor pollution.
“According to some research in Ethiopia there are over five million quintals of agricultural waste per year. This waste is the raw material needed for manufacturing biomass briquette. The plan of expansion in agriculture will definitely maximize agricultural by products. In countries like India there are already 200 briquet factories providing renewable energy for the market,” said Gerd.
The factory that is located around the Gofa Mebrat-Hile area has already started promoting the product in 10 and 50 kilogram packages. Briquettes compared to fire wood have 40pc more burning power and almost zero smoke.
“The building of these factories is an important step towards bringing awareness about protecting the environment as well as giving a choice,” said Tewolde Berhan G/Egziaber, Director General of Federal Environment Protection Authority.
As stated by the factory’s general manager, there is a plan to open two more factories next year. The current factory employs eight people. Apart from the employees, African Briquet also organized a program for low income women to distribute the product door to door. It is said that some 1,000 women will benefit from this distribution network.
African Briquet Factory is an Ethiopian/German joint venture founded in 2011 with the African Social Investment Fund in Munich, Germany as a major shareholder. The factory went operational in January, 2012.