KENYA – A Thika-based renewable energy company will double its production of charcoal briquettes extracted from pineapple waste by mid this year after securing Sh110 million from a government investment agency.

Global Supply Solutions says the plant expansion seeks to meet growing demand for alternative cheaper energy solutions among industrial factories and homes in the quest to cut use of toxic coal, wood and charcoal.

The company, which also supplies solar water heating equipment, targets to double its annual factory capacity to 50,000 tonnes of briquettes by mid this year.

The firm got the loan from Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC) — a government agency that finances development projects and invests in companies.

 “This funding will also help us to begin our journey of replicating our success in Kenya in multiple countries, mainly across Africa,” Global Supply managing director Allan Marega said in a statement.

The briquettes are cheaper than coal yet they burn two times longer, with the added advantage of producing low carbon emissions, according to the firm.

The plant expansion is expected to create room for more jobs on top of its current 20 employees.

The company plans to foray into Ghana, South Africa, Costa Rica, Philippines, Thailand and Australia — where it has partnerships with pineapple producers like Del Monte.

Mr Marega said the firm has opened talks with high-energy consumers like cement manufacturers and tea companies for supply of the briquettes.

February 12, 2016;