Less smoke, more income

The smoke from charcoal production has valuable ingredients.

04 December 2019 | Agriculture

Smoke reduction, lucrative by-products and a 24-hour burning cycle were the hot topics at a recent field day of the Namibia Charcoal Association (NCA).

A total of 157 guests came to Farm Aimeb north of Outjo to explore options for the modernisation of Namibia's oldest biomass industry.

“We know that smoke is a problem and we are addressing this,” said NCA manager Michael Degé.

“We understand that there needs to be a financial incentive to reduce smoke.”

The smoke from charcoal production has valuable ingredients. The NCA has started a practical research project to develop a simple and robust set-up with which producers can harvest by-products from smoke and significantly increase their income.

Eben Visser, a chemical technician from Outjo, built a distillation unit that harvests wood acid and tar. The smoke travels through a condenser pipe and a black box into a chimney.

In the black box, tar and wood acid are collected. Each burning cycle produces around 40 litres of wood acid.

According to the NCA wood acid, and specifically humic acid derived from the wood acid, is a food for soil bacteria and therefore reduces fertiliser input. Both wood acid and tar can be used on farms or sold.

Up to four kilns can be placed around the distillation unit.

Estimates are that producers can double their income through the by-products. The desired side-effect is that smoke emissions are minimal.

The NCA says that in the field 90% of charcoal producers are using the traditional round kiln. It is robust, and as it can be rolled, also mobile. Extensive tests have been conducted to find ways how efficiency and quality can be improved while using traditional kilns.

“It's all about fire and air. The way we burn has a huge impact on productivity and quality,” says Pieter Potgieter, a technical expert on charcoal production technologies.

“With the 24-hour cycle you can use your day fully and increase your production significantly.”

The NCA explained that wood needs to be sorted into piles of big, medium and small pieces.

The day starts early, at 07:00. The kiln is filled up to a 60cm height with big pieces of wood.

They burn for one hour. The kiln is then filled fully and the lid slightly closed. At midday the bottom is closed off completely and at 17:00 the top is fully closed.

It is important to open up the kiln before sunrise the next morning, so that the sun does not heat the metal and reignite the charcoal.

According to the NCA tests have shown that the 24-hour cycle improves efficiency and quality. Traditionally, 1.2 tonnes of charcoal are produced per kiln per month.

The 24-hour cycle produces 100 kilograms per day, which adds up to 2.5 tonnes when calculated on 25 working days per month.

In terms of quality traditional burning produces around 67% braai charcoal and 33% fines.

The 24-hour cycle can produce up to 80% braai charcoal and 20% fines.

For producers who value the mobility of the traditional kiln, the next upgrade would be the so-called NAM3. It has air pipes and thus mimics the set-up of a retort. At the same time it is mobile and can be rolled. The NAM3 can produce 150 kilograms in a 24-hour cycle.

STAFF REPORTER

Similar News

 

Dairy industry fights for survival

38 minutes ago | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEKThe Namibian dairy industry is on the verge of imploding, but the...

Mariental abattoir to close again

38 minutes ago | Agriculture

STAFF REPORTERWINDHOEK The Farmers' Meat Market (FMM) abattoir at Mariental has informed its stakeholders that it will be closing for financial reasons. ...

New timber harvesting still banned

1 day - 11 August 2020 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEKWhile the forest ministry will with immediate effect resume the issuing of transport permits for already harvested timber destined for...

Hundreds of farmers benefit from Crave project

6 days ago - 06 August 2020 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKHundreds of farmers benefitted from the Climate Resilient Agriculture in Three Vulnerable Extreme Northern Crop-Growing Regions (Crave) project during the 2018/19 financial year.The project,...

Unlocking bush feed potential

1 week ago - 05 August 2020 | Agriculture

STAFF REPORTERWINDHOEKThe Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) says although the potential for bush feed in Namibia exists, more rigorous and extensive research needs to be the...

Charcoal fires cause concern

1 week ago - 05 August 2020 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKMeasures have been put in place to control and minimise bush fires caused by charcoal producers in the country.The risk of bush fires is...

Pandemic worsens food insecurity

1 week ago - 04 August 2020 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKA new report, released by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), has revealed that close to 44.8 million people in urban and rural areas...

Fixed-price slaughter contracts introduced

2 weeks ago - 29 July 2020 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEK Meatco has reintroduced its fixed-price slaughter contract to help farmers in delivering slaughter animals and in an attempt to...

Planning a vital part of farm management

2 weeks ago - 29 July 2020 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEK Planning is an important component in farm management as it enables an informed decision-making process. It...

Optimise land use – Schlettwein

2 weeks ago - 28 July 2020 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEKNamibia must make the most of its scarce resources and develop modern and appropriate tools to enable sustainable development. This was said by...

Latest News

Boost business to boost growth

1 day - 11 August 2020 | Business

Erongo governor Neville Andre-Itope has called on business owners to explore new ways in order to reignite their respective businesses and the country’s economy.Andre-Itope made...

Access Bank, Cavmont sign agreement...

1 day - 11 August 2020 | Business

Capricorn Group’s Zambian subsidiary, Cavmont Capital Holdings Zambia (Cavmont Bank) signed a definitive agreement regarding a proposed merger with Access Bank Zambia, a subsidiary of...

Action ordered against Swapo court...

1 day - 11 August 2020 | Politics

STAFF REPORTERWINDHOEKThe Swapo central committee has directed the party leadership in Oshana Region to take disciplinary action against party members Mirjam Shituula and Selma Namboga,...

Swapo makes U-turn on 10-year...

1 day - 11 August 2020 | Politics

JEMIMA BEUKESWINDHOEKAfter much criticism, Swapo has made a sudden U-turn and changed its 10-year membership requirement for those who want to vie as candidates for...

Govt quota auction sparks 'second...

1 day - 11 August 2020 | Fishing

LEANDREA LOUWWALVIS BAYFishing industry players are worried that the country will be plunged into another Fishrot scandal if the government auctions its fishing quotas for...

Tossing papers, tapping buttons

1 day - 11 August 2020 | Technology

Justicia Shipena WINDHOEKHaving started his coding journey in grade nine at De Duine Secondary School in Walvis Bay, Joachim Shilongo recently developed a...

17 000 residents targeted for...

1 day - 11 August 2020 | Economics

The Swakopmund municipality is targeting to decongest a total number of 17 000 or more residents from the DRC proper informal settlement by the end...

Fishing quota auctioning model better

1 day - 11 August 2020 | Opinion

A lot has been said since news broke that government plans to auction off fishing quotas to help raise money needed to fend off the...

49% of workplaces ‘poorly prepared’...

1 day - 11 August 2020 | Labour

JEMIMA BEUKESWINDHOEKInspections by the ministry of labour found that only 16% of workplaces complied with occupational safety and health standards, while up to 49% workplaces...

Load More