Thursday, January 5, 2017

MUSINGS FROM PRIYADARSHINI KARVE: Value Added Products from Renewable Charcoal

Samuchit Trashflasher is an environment friendly technology that allows low moisture biomass waste (e.g., agricultural, forestry, or garden waste, coconut shells, furniture waste, etc.) to be converted into renewable charcoal. But... can we do more with this charcoal than just burn it up as fuel for cooking?

That was the driver behind our experiments with value addition to renewable charcoal. We were very fortunate that just as we started working on this, we connected with 'Green Energy Against Poverty' Through the financial support of Greenap and technical know how of Samuchit, two new value added products have now been created and will be formally launched tomorrow during the KVIFF Eco Bazaar exhibition at Pune. 

What are these products and what is special about them?

Samuchit Organic Incense Sticks (Dhoop Kandi): 

Samuchit Organic Incense being used for worship
Incense or dhoop is a mixture of aromatic dried plant materials. It releases its wonderful fragrance on burning. However, for it to burn evenly and steadily, it needs to be mixed with some combustible material that will not release any aroma of its own upon burning. Such a material is charcoal. However, it has to be emphasised that ANY type of smoke always releases some harmful emissions. The only way you can minimise this is to use as purely carbonaceous charcoal as possible. And this is where the advantage of Samuchit Trashflasher comes in. The way the Trashflasher operates, all the volatile materials in the biomass are driven out and only nearly pure carbon is left behind as char. Thus, if you use the char made by this process to make incense sticks, you will get relative low-polluting product. 

Furthermore, as we use only waste biomass for making this char, you can be sure that your love for incense sticks is not causing any deforestation. FURTHERMORE, at this point, we are using the char made from organically grown rice straw! So, the entire life cycle of the incense stick is environment friendly! 

Samuchit Organic De-odoriser: 

Samuchit Organic De-odoriser
We use de-odorisers in cars, toilets, closed rooms, etc. These are generally chemical products that produce a pleasant smell which masks the bad odors in the air that create a stuffy feeling. Charcoal based de-odorisers work on a totally different principle - they are de-odorisers in the true sense of the word! 

Charcoal has the property of absorbing moisture and organic compounds. This property can be enhanced by following a specific process of manufacturing charcoal, and such 'activated' charcoal is used even by chemical industries as a filter. However, the special manufacturing process adds to the cost of the charcoal. The cost of activated charcoal is at least 10 times more than that of ordinary charcoal. 

We found that when we make charcoal from waste biomass, which is generally more porous than the hard wood used for making charcoal traditionally, we automatically get 'semi-activated' char - char that has relatively higher capacity to absorb organic molecules than ordinary charcoal (although it is not as effective as industrial grade activated charcoal), without any additional expense! Therefore, we have come up with an environment friendly and pocket friendly deodoriser based on our renewable char powder made from waste biomass. Being environmentally conscious we also wanted to avoid disposable packaging for the char powder. Therefore, our de-odoriser is made of cloth bag rather than plastic or paper casing. 

When char powder absorbs organic molecules and moisture from the air, eventually it is going to saturate. We estimate that our de-odoriser will work for about a month. Afterwards, you can open and empty the cloth bag in your garden or potted plant. It will act as an excellent agent for improving your garden soil! Return the empty cloth bag to us, when you buy a new de-odoriser, and you will get a discount on the purchase price. 

So these are the two new unique products that is a New Year Offering to all environmentally conscious people of Pune from Green Energy Against Poverty and Samuchit Enviro Tech! 

And this is not all! We are introducing these products as a livelihood enhancing opportunity in the villages in Mulshi-Mawal area around Pune. At present, there is only one production unit, but if Punekars respond positively to these products, more production centres will be created. Thus, this project has a potential to create rural livelihoods too.  

Do visit our stall at Eco Bazaar between 5 Jan to 10 Jan (5 pm to 8 pm on 5 Jan, and 3 pm to 8 pm on remaining days) and check out these products for yourself! 

If you are outside Pune and would like to introduce these products in your area, we offer technical know how and business development support consultancy so that you can create a local enterprise manufacturing and selling these products in your area. Please get in touch with us by email to

Priyadarshini Karve
Samuchit Enviro Tech


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