Inspirational cases from the Dutch agrofood sector were recently presented in a meeting at Wageningen campus, co-hosted by the Dutch TopSectors Agri & Food respectively Horticulture & Starting Materials. It concerned the 15 Seed Money Projects (SMPs) assigned by these TopSectors in 2018, through which Small and Medium-sized Enterprises from the agri and food sector are supported to form an international innovative partnership with a view to solving an international problem or exploiting opportunities.
In one of the projects, the transformation of waste material from rose production and from some other crops into fuel briquettes was tested by a consortium including Soil & More Ethiopia, HAS Den Bosch, and WUR Food & Biobased Research. They explored the use of for example rose, bamboo, sawdust, bagasse and coffee waste material. The potential has certainly been confirmed by the pilot: the technology to produce briquettes is not too complex, though some innovations are needed to prevent air pollution during production of charcoal-based briquettes. And there is a clear consumer demand for briquettes, as these are used for cooking as alternative to fuelwood. For consumers the size of the briquettes is an important factor. In addition, using briquettes instead of fuelwood has a positive impact on climate and the environment (air quality).
The project faced difficulties when they were no longer allowed to access the plot on which the rose residues would have been tested, and had to do the tests in the Netherlands.
For further work on this business opportunity, possible new cooperation partners are from the floriculture sector, the medium-sized charcoal producers, as well as charcoal producers situated near refugee camps. For cooperation partners from the floriculture sector, selling their waste material for briquette production can be profitable, also as alternative to selling it for compost production.