Saturday, November 19, 2011

GreenTech Launches Environmentally Friendly Products

Briquette Stove with Briquettes
The managing director of GreenTech Environmental Solution, Anthony Tabbal, in his statement stated that GreenTech is a newly established company in The Gambia whichfocuses on pro-poor and environmentally friendly products, production and marketing strategies with high potential of extension and diversification. GreenTech Environmental Solution is a private business response to the actual poverty situation, the up-winding energy crises and the environmental challenges in The Gambia. 
Mr. Tabbal was speaking at the launching of green techs briquette plant held at the Green Mamba Restaurant in Senegambia recently.

Tabbal said that GreenTech, since July 2011, has been producing high quality fuel briquettes from groundnut shells and promoting fuel-efficient stoves for cooking and heating purposes in households, restaurants and industries in the country.
He positioned that the combined briquettes stoves unit needs less fuel input than common cooking units, and it reduces cooking costs, emissions and the exploitation of forests, thereby called on Gambians and non- Gambians to make best use of the briquettes.
The machines are made for continuous use, thus we can stock up to 3 - 4 shifts, producing 16 - 20 tons per day, basically 16 tons with 3 shifts.
 He informed the gathering that he (Tabbal) and her wife Mrs. Lenja Guenther who is the Consultant and Project Coordinator formed GreenTech in The Gambia.
Given an overview on the background of the project, Tabbal says :“this project is basically the outcome of when a business man and an environmentalist plan and implement a project together.”
After spending about a decade abroad, “I decided in 1998 to come back home to The Gambia to support developing the nation, using all the knowledge and skills I collected during my time in Europe and Asia. “Stepping in my father's footsteps I decided to develop a business in the tourism sector on his land, and what started as a bar over ten years ago, became the  Green Mamba Garden Restaurant today. “
One day my environmental lifetime consultant came back from a mission at the forestry department and must have come across something about biomass briquette pressing to save the forest, in one of her researches. Then after passing the heaps of groundnut shells next to the highway, she wondered why no one was pressing them for fuel briquettes, when they even cause a waste problem, whilst the forest was exploited for fuel wood, as there were no alternative.
At the same time, “my consultant crosschecked with diverse national and international studies and policies which confirmed that our project ideas were well in line with national and international development plans and targets.”
The latest Forest Policy and Household Energy Study, she stated, even recommends the pressing of briquettes and called for private investment. At the same time, “we planned to promote fuel efficient stoves to be genuinely environmentally friendly with our project. “Later we would realize that this ambition was the winning combination, as the briquettes would work best in fuel efficient stoves. “And saving resources means of course also saving finances, so this project is even a contribution to poverty reduction and livelihood improvement, especially for the women.”
Still on background, he stated that it took GreenTech for about two years to do their research, consultations, negotiations and business plan compilation before they finally registered the company in July 2010 and 8 months later, in March 2011 they started construction.
“Since August we opened our doors to institutions and individuals to inspect the production and the outcome. Our weekly demonstrations on Wednesdays 11 am, turned into a valuable platform for stakeholders to meet and talk about options regarding the popularization of alternative fuels and fuel efficient devices. And if you know any institution or individual, who has not been to our plant for demonstration, but might be interested, please send them over for any Wednesday, 11 am - we will keep our "Lemon Grass Cafe" going as long as there is demand.”
He informed the gathering that this year (2011), GreenTech has already been shortlisted for the international SEED award for the company's social and environmental networking efforts; “we will be informed about the final result end of November.”
In the frame of its sensitization program, again, she said, GreenTech distributed more than 50 stoves and 4 tonnes of briquettes free of charge to diverse institutions, NGOs, CBOs, etc. The feedback over the past three months was highly constructive and throughout positive, he positioned.
He finally thanked all the visitors that came to their Wednesday Lemon grass cafe, among them Honorable Mr. Sillah, Minister of Forestry and the Environment, Honorable Mr. Colley, Minister of the Ministry for Trade, Rural Integration and Employment, the delegation of the Ministry of Energy, GIEPA, the Forestry Department, Concern Universal, Action Aid, Hands on Care, Global Unification, SAFMU, Friends of Nature and other institutions and individuals.
These, he said has given them courage and confidence, also showing them that they are on the right track.
Energy Officer Mr. Peter Mendy, who represented the Ministry of Energy, has this to say, “This initiative is very laudable as it helps in protecting limited resources and also saves time spent by women and children in collecting fire wood.”
He continued: “it also reduces the health risks due to indoor pollution associated with burning firewood or charcoal for cooking,” while delivering the opening remarks.
  Based on the 2005 household energy survey, fuel wood accounted for more than 80 percent of the total energy consumed. The same survey revealed that fuel wood account for 97percent of the total household energy consumption and petroleum products 1.60 percent, electricity 0.9 percent and renewable energy 0.4 percent, he stated.
This, he continued, has shows a high dependency on our forest resources to meet our energy needs and the status quo is not sustainable.
“Briquette is one of the alternatives for reducing the consumption and dependency on fuel wood as it can be used both as domestic energy as well as for industrial uses. The use of groundnut shells for briquette will help to reduce the heavy pollution that we often see around Denton Bridge as a result of uncontrolled burning of large heaps of groundnut shells,” said Tabbal.
Mrs. Fatou Jallow CEO of GIEPA, said with the coming of Green Tech in The Gambia, groundnut shells that are abundant in The Gambia will now be use to benefit Gambians. Green Tech, she pointed out, uses the disposed shells as a major input by pressing them into Briquettes.
Mod Lamin Ceesay, deputy permanent secretary Ministry of Employment among other speaker spoke at length at the launching ceremony. Demonstration of the newly launched briquettes was held and a conducted tour of the premises shortly after the opening speeches.

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