Spotted: Each year, Costa Rica produces more than 1.2 million tonnes of wood, of which around 40 per cent ends up as waste. Much of this wood waste is disposed of improperly with decomposition releasing methane, a greenhouse gas that adds to global warming. Now, renewable energy company Pelletics is putting waste to work fighting climate change.
The company takes wood and agricultural waste from sawmills and cassava cultivation and turns it into pellets that constitute a high energy density fuel. Depending on its exact properties, the feedstock is put through one or a combination of processes such as drying, particle reduction, densification, cooling, and dust removal. This treatment takes places at the company’s plant in Muelle, San Carlos, which is situated at the heart of Costa Rica’s sawmill region.
The fuel produced by Pelletics is considered carbon neutral, and can be used as a direct replacement for fossil fuels in applications such as boilers, industrial burners, and home heating. In Costa Rica, fossil fuels are imported whereas the company’s pellets are produced locally, reducing transport emissions while supporting local jobs.
The company currently works with more than 30 sawmills, and the company recently updated its facilities with new technology to further improve its sustainability.
Pelletics is not the only company spotted by Springwise that is developing bio-based alternatives to fossil fuels. Other innovations include a Kenyan biofuel company that services informal retailers, anda researcher turning cardboard boxes into biofuel.
Written By: Matthew Hempstead