Nepal is facing acute energy crisis, which is hampering our economic and social development. In the present context, the best possible way to tackle this issue is through the rationalized utilization of our abundant renewable energy resources. Biomass refers to organic matter that has stored energy through the process of photosynthesis, and Biomass energy is one of the most plentiful and potent sources of renewable energy. To use this opportunity a project entitled „Up scaling the production and consumption of Bio-energy to reduce carbon emissions and enhance local employment in Nepal‟ or in short Bio-energy Project is being implemented jointly by HELVETAS and 4 other partners (IUCN, STARIC/N, ANSAB, and Winrock international). This project that commenced in 2014 by implementation in 11 districts of Nepal has extended its work to 16 districts in 2015. The project provides support in promotion and development of charcoal enterprise through various Business Development Service Providers.
Objective of the Project
The project that has a running period of 4 years has the following objectives.
1. To contribute to national issue of energy poverty through up-scaling production and industrial consumption of charcoal.
2. To create more green jobs through up-scaling small and medium sized charcoal enterprise.
3. To reduce carbon emission through diversifying the production and use of charcoal as an alternative to imported fossil fuels.
4. To sustain the production and supply of charcoal through strengthening the capacity of actors of the charcoal sub-sector while at the same time enhancing natural resource condition.
Densification as a solution to energy crisis – Namuna Biomass
After the recognition of the problem, the search for a solution must be initiated. As mentioned earlier, Biomass energy can serve as a reliable source of alternate energy. But one of the major barriers to their widespread use if that Biomass has lower energy content than traditional fossil fuel, which means that more fuel is required to get the same amount of energy. When low energy content comes together with low density, the volume increases enormously, hence adding handling and transportation difficulties to the list. To overcome all these obstacles, the process of densification is being applied. . Densification refers to – developing uniformly formatted densified feedstock from lignocelluloses biomass of interest to achieve consistent physical properties such as size, shape, bulk and unit density, and durability, which significantly influences storage, transportation and handling characteristics. Densification also increases the heat retaining capacity of the biomass.
The method of densification for the manufacture of different types of densified biomass is widely used. One such private industry which manufactures densified biomass is Namuna Biomass. It is a private industry that commenced on august 2013, in Bharatpur-4 Chitwan. It specializes in the manufacture of densified biomass such as, Biomass Briquettes, Charcoal Pellets Screw Press briquette etc.., by the use of biochar that is produced by the local charcoal entrepreneurs. Namuna Biomass uses the technology of mechanical densification, which involves applying pressure to mechanically densify the material. The method of densification depends on the type of residues and the local situation. Due to the use of modern kilns for production of charcoal in the present day, the quality and quantity of biochar produced has improved greatly, which has led to the manufacture of Charcoal pellets and Bio-briquettes which haven a higher calorific value. Namuna produces about 100 tons of charcoal annually. The selling of the final product made form charcoal is carried out by local distributors and also directly from the company. The charcoal pellets produced can be used as an alternative for wood charcoal, in tandoors, barbecues etc.., and the Bio-briquette can be used for heating and cooking proposes. Other than manufacturing biomass, Namuna also organizes charcoal enterprise development activities, Promotional activities, and research activities it also capacitates local entrepreneurs and provides training to potential charcoal entrepreneurs.
Namuna Biomass is currently collaborating with Bio-energy Project, so as to accomplish their mutual goals. Bio-energy provides technical support and knowledge in return Namuna acts as a business service provider to the project.
Namuna biomass hopes to make biomass briquette and charcoal pellets as a mainstream fuel source for households and commercial cooking and heating purposes, minimizing the dependency on imporated fossil fuel, and contributing to country‟s need of energy in this time of crisis.
Future Plan of Namuna Biomass
1. To conduct at least 100 charcoal producing enterprise promotion programs within 2 years, to ensure regular supply for charcoal.
2. To initiate kiln fabrication business, this will be supplied to charcoal producers.
3. To increase annual charcoal production capacity, from 100 tons to 1000 tons.
4. To upgrade current charcoal densification unit/facility for increasing charcoal production from 300kg per day to 2500 kg per day
5. To initiate carbon trading mechanism.
The main objective of Namuna is to promote the use of bio-briquettes and charcoal pellets as an alternative to imported fossil fuels, and in the process creating jobs for the people of the local community belonging to both academic and non academic backgrounds, This jobs would be respectful and would require interaction with government officials and NGOs and INGOs, which would lead in the progress of the community in itself.
1. It provides direct employment to 15 local people, and has generated about 60 indirect employments through charcoal enterprise development.
2. Generated public interest in the sector of charcoal production. 3. Due to the use of forest fire hazards like Mikania Micrantha for the production of charcoal, improved forest security. 4. Provided improved working conditions for women.
Govinda BK of Bharatpur Sub-metropolitan city- 21, Kesargunj, Chitwan, Nepal used to work as a Mason. But after sustaining a leg injury he had become jobless.
“I have a family of 5 to feed, and I was the only earner, but my injury made it impossible for me to work as a Mason. Even though my pay was not much, I could feed my family. All our savings were used for my treatment and times had become hard. But one day NAMUNA BIOMASS reached out to us, they were training locals like me in the method of preparing charcoal. I saw this as a huge opportunity for me, and ever since then I am working as a Charcoal producer.
In the year 2015, June when NAMUNA BIOMASS got associated with Bio-energy project, I was capacitated as a local resource person and we were also provided movable kilns, which made producing charcoal much easier, and safer for our health.
In less than 2 years, my earning had doubled and I was able to purchase a small piece of land, hence today I make a profit of Rs. 15000/- each year.
I hope to provide 20 people; with employment, and bring about 4 kilns to work, by next year. I was blessed the day NAMUNA BIOMASS reached out to me and the others, I hope the relation between the people and NAUMAN BIOMASS does not change, so that with their help we can slowly escape the latches of poverty.”