Local government units (LGUs) have been pressed by the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) to adopt a solid waste management system through charcoal briquetting
that can earn for them equivalent “carbon credits.”
Charcoal briquetting will also enable many LGUs to comply with the Solid Waste Management Act (SWMA). Many LGUs have not yet complied with SWMA of year 2000, also Republic Act 9003, almost 20 years now since it was ratified.
An intensive training and a possible supply chain linkage is offered by ERDB to LGUs through a charcoal briquetting
This produces charcoal without having to cut trees. Thus, it can earn for LGUs equivalent “carbon credits” under possible new carbon finance schemes of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or UNFCCC.
ERDB Executive Director Dr. Henry A. Adornado expressed satisfaction that ERDB’s research on the production of charcoal briquette has reached a success level for small communities including one in Barangay Lower Bicutan C6, Taguig City.
“We are open to sharing the technology to any sector interested in learning from us. We provide trainings and free demo as part of our collaborative program in technology transfer and extension,” said Adornado.
LGUs can raise funding specifically from this program which fits under a potentially new UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convetion on Climate Change) financing incentive for reducing deforestation.
It is called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) Plus expected to be approved by end-2015.
The need for fuelwood in many Filipino households has led charcoal-fuelwood producers to cut trees. They destroy forests including virgin forests, consequently emitting carbon dioxiode.
The ERDB initiated training for a program on charcoal briquetting in Brgy. Lower Bicutan C6 that has generated jobs for persons with disability (PWDs).
“We’re glad that this success story can inspire many other grassroot communities to venture into charcoal briquetting. If persons with disabilities can succeed in it, why can’t anyone else?” said Adornado.
The PWDs are now renting a small charcoal briquette
factory in an estimated 200 square meter site in Taguig City.
Members of the Samahan ng May Kapansanan sa Taguig (SAMAKAT) are using ERDB’s charcoal
briquetting technology as an environment friendly way to supply wood for cooking in Taguig parish communities.
After an intensive skills training, SAMAKAT PWDs acquired the ERDB-developed machinery through the financial assistance of Pondo Pinoy of a Taguig Catholic parish.
The machineries are a carbonizer, mixer, briquettor, and dryer. Among the jobs for 12 PWDs raw material gathering and simple machinery operation.
Women PWDs also get hired for packaging. A 24-piece briquettte is sold at P20 per pack and generates an income of around P100 per day for each PWD, according to SAMAKAT President Mario Galvez
The ERDB charcoal is more cost efficient than ordinary charcoal and emits a steady heat with low clean flame. The charcoal is easy to ignite.
“Charcoal briquetting has given new lives for people like us. Now, persons with disability can look up because they have a contribution to society,” said Galvez, himself an orthopedic PWD.
A training session on producing environment-friendly charcoal
was held three years ago by ERDB Researcher Engr. Santiago Baconguis Jr.
Baconguis introduced the techniques on how to come up with charcoal briquettes from various biodegradable waste materials. These waste materials have now become of huge economic value.
Among the waste materials that SAMAKAT uses are from buko juice merchants and water hyacinth (water lily) directly gathered from the Laguna Lake.
Compliance to the SWMA has been a challenge for many municipal, city and provincial governments.
And ERDB could be of assistance in managing their wastes using DENR-ERDB’s CBT.
ERDB charcoal briquettes
The carbonized charcoal of ERDB is more efficient. A three-meal Filipino household needs only 1.69 kilos of ERDB charcoal compared to 3.5 kilos of ordinary charcoal.
Charcoal briquettes of the ERDB technology can be considered a renewable energy (RE)similar to biomass which mostly comes from waste materials. It should receive incentive from RE programs.
Charcoal briquettes are more cost efficient than unprocessed fuelwood.
Unlike fossil fuel (petroleum) energy sources that can be depleted, charcoal production can be replenished much as other RE (solar, wind, biomass).
An ERDB study indicated “charcoal briquettes from wood and non-wood biomass wastes such as leaves, twigs, branches and other cellolusic biomass can lessen wood and wood charcoal consumption of poultry farms, households and domestic business.”
In a project study involving use of 300 kilos per day of biomass waste, ERDB reported investment here results in a 100 percent internal rate of return, making it a very viable business.
“Positive externalities are the potential for carbon sequestration (1.53 million kilos in 10 years), landscape amenities it will provide, protection of biodiversity (flora and fauna), among others,” ERDB said.
The charcoal production from this project is 5.4 million cubic meters (cu.m.) per year fuelwood from the forest and woodlands or an equivalent charcoalof 1.35 million metric tons.
This project will spare 6,970 trees yearly.
REDD Plus ‘Carbon Credits’
Philippines’ renewable energy (RE) projects such as the Bangui wind plant in Ilocos Norte have benefited from carbon credits from UNFCCC-initiated agreements.
LGUs and other entities may earn new financing from a program being introduced by UNFCCC negotiators called the REDD Plus (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation).
The original carbon credits gave financing for projects that reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
The REDD Plus is specifically targeted at giving potential financial incentives for reducing deforestation. It is expected to be approved by end-2015.
Fuelwood in general is extensively used not only in Filipino households but in small rural businesses such as bakeries and restaurants based on a study.
However, this has caused massive forest degradation through a highly destructive technique “kaingin” (burning of forests).
It was estimated that the country’s charcoal consumption is 2-4 million metric tons yearly. For total fuelwood (including freshly gathered wood) andcharcoal, estimated yearly consumption is 25–35 million metric tons yearly.
Charcoal production from waste materials can reduce forest degradation.
Studies indicated much of forest destruction is due to the need for cooking fuel.
For instance, in Cebu, cutting of trees wasted noted to e a major cause of deforestation particularly of primary forests.
“The province of Cebu is now in the stage where firewood is becoming scarce. The situation is so severe that the remaining forest resources are exploited at least three times their sustainable yield,” according to a DENR report. ###
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