By ZACHERY PER
EASTERN Highlands is to become the first province to produce biomass fuel from tree residue.
Eastern Highlands Governor Julie Soso has allocated K6000 as the initial seed capital to start the project and conduct awareness in the province.
The provincial government is considering a submission of K500,000 to purchase 150 briquette hydraulic press machines, according to provincial administrator Vilo Wartove.
Local entrepreneur Bonn Oterga thanked Soso for the K6000 because the briquette product saved time, money and cut down on smoke pollution when people use it instead of firewood.
“Forest residues such as leaves, branches, sawdust, off-cuts and coffee husks have long been associated with rubbish in Papua New Guniea but this is about to change,” Oterga said.
“We as a local entrepreneur found a way to produce environmentally-friendly fuel from agriculture and forest industry residues,” he said.
“We wish to transfer the knowledge of making manual biomass fuel to the public,” he said.
Oterga said they focused on mechanised operations to cater for the forest plantations and woodlots of the province.
“I am thankful to the governor for the first K6000,” he said.
“We remain committed to a further support of K500,000 to build a hydraulic press machine which will be built here and used for demonstration as well.”
The first public demonstration is planned for October targeting public servants and office workers.
He said trees took 35 to 40 years to mature.
“A grown tree yields 30 per cent timber at harvest while the rest becomes rubbish,” he said.
“Eastern Highlands has four grown forest plantations, four young ones and hundreds of woodlot projects spread across the eight districts of the province.”
Ortega said trees would give biomass progressively in the form of leaves and prunes every year.
He said the new project would open a whole new opportunity for tree resource owners to produce their own fuel.
Ortega said tree resource owners would also sell their so-called rubbish for cash just like they sell coffee.
“Wood biomass briquette production and use is not a new invention,” he said.
“It is used all over the world in home industries and also for power generation.
“For instance, India is one of top energy producers in the world and many of its big power plants run on biomass fuel.”
By ZACHERY PER