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Use Briquette Machine-Case Study 4

Eco-Fuel Africa Ltd is a start-up enterprise based in eastern Kampala. Founded in 2010 by Moses Sanga, an experienced entrepreneur and graduate in Business Administration and having received a seed grant of US$10,000 from the Government of Uganda, Eco-Fuel established itself making carbonised briquettes from agricultural wastes. Using briquette machine developed in-house, Eco-Fuel has a production capacity of 250 – 400 kg of briquettes per day (around 100 tonnes per year). These are packaged in clear plastic bags printed with their logo and contact details before being distributed via a network of women retailers who buy each kilogram of briquettes for Ush 700 (US$0.28) and sell them to domestic users in nearby slums and urban centres for Ush 500 (US$0.20). Eco-Fuel have successfully implemented a distributed supply chain, leasing carbonisation kilns to farmers trained in the production of char that they bring to collection points set up in market centres.
The company has ambitious plans for expansion and is seeking further commercial investment. However they face key challenges including being able to secure a consistent supply of feedstock (most farmers who lease their kilns are small-holders whose agricultural production is often seasonal) and being able to obtain higher-capacity briquette machine.

The outlook for briquettes as a commercially viable source of fuel seems positive; however the industry is not without its challenges. Different levels of production present different barriers to growth, although there are some common challenges facing all entrepreneurs operating in rural and peri-urban fuel markets.

Product quality and standardization
The industry already suffers from sub-standard products undermining its potential to tap into available markets. Many claims are made about the benefits of briquettes yet irregularities arising from alternating feedstocks and inconsistent mixing ratios often mean that customer expectations are not met. In some cases briquettes are even being sold at a higher price than regular charcoal and yet are offering a poorer burn. As a result, entrepreneurs have not been able to link their briquettes to the large urban markets in which consumers are more responsive to product quality.

Access to Technology
Briquettes are a simple product to make by hand and have therefore been the focus of multiple development projects implemented by NGOs over the last decade aimed at providing affordable fuel and small income generation opportunities. Nonetheless, in order for quality briquettes to be produced commercially and at a scale for the industry to significantly impact the fuel market, producers need to have access to appropriate technology. Larger producers have been able to import machines from India and Europe however the narrow margins in the small-scale trade do not yet justify the cost of doing so. Innovations in locally made briquetting machines have been made in East Africa and the challenge that remains is to make these available to producers across the region.

Access to Finance
One of the major challenges that micro entrepreneurs face in expanding their business is accessing the appropriate finance. Most micro entrepreneurs lack the capital to engage in marketing activities, research and development or to purchase equipment that would help their business to expand.

Briquette machine is an excellent alternative for making briquettes that does not harm the environment. The most important advantage of using briquette machine is that it is economical and can be afforded easily even into villages. Although you may encounter some problems and challenges when using briquette machine to produce briquettes, we believe that you are going to get back more than what is originally paid for the product. As a biomass briquette press manufacturer with years of experience, KMEC always provide our customers with qualified products, competitive biomass briquette price and superior service. If you need biomass briquetting press, please feel free to contact us.

With access to the energy services mentioned in the previous sections, people are able to improve their livelihoods in a variety of ways. These changes can help shift from a subsistence existence into more productive communities where people are able to enhance their livelihoods through their own efforts. 

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