Kenya-based tea farm Tebesonik has found a way to make tea production sustainable and environmentally-friendly by using briquettes made of waste sugar cane to dry tea leaves.
Traditionally, processing tea requires a lot of firewood to dry the leaves, which means cutting down trees. In order to reduce deforestation, tea producers in Kenya such as Tebesonik are exploring the use of bio-energy briquettes made from sugar cane waste as a sustainable alternative to firewood.
The demand for firewood for use in the tea industry in Kenya is around 1 million tonnes each year, according to UNEP. While around 2.4 million tonnes of sugarcane waste commonly known as bagasse remain underutilised after cane has been crushed.
Briquettes made from sugarcane waste produce less ash and dust while burning, is affordable and burns three to four times longer than wood charcoal.
Production of the sugarcane briquettes begins with the collection of agricultural residues from millers and farmers. The feedstock is then dried either in the open air or in industrial rotary systems at high temperatures to reduce the moisture content to less than 15%, and then is compressed at high pressure to form briquettes.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living.