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Thika firm eyes expansion to 7 regional markets after Sh110m ICDC funding.

Global Supply Chain founder and managing director Allan Marega displays a sample of the eco-friendly pineapple charcoal briquette at the firm’s factory in Thika.
Backed by a Sh110 million funding from Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC), a Thika-based renewable energy company has increased its production capacity eying to expand to 7 regional markets.

Global Supply Solutions (GSS), which produces charcoal briquettes from pineapple fruits waste, has already finished installing two additional processing lines which doubles its production capacity to 50,000 metric tonnes a year.

The company, which also supplies solar water heating equipment, plans to foray into Tanzania, Ghana, South Africa, Costa Rica, Philippines, Thailand and Australia — where it has partnerships with pineapple producers like Del Monte.

GSS says that the 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 firm’s clients include schools, manufacturing firms and hotels, but he plans to stock the eco-friendly fuel in several supermarkets with whom he has already begun negotiations.

“The demand for non-fossil, cleaner, environmentally friendly energy alternatives is growing rapidly, we’re seeing our clientele base expand all the time and that is why we needed to boost production,” said the Global Supply Solutions founder and CEO Allan Marega.

The plant expansion is expected to create room for more jobs on top of its current 20 employees.
Briquette technology has gained popularity locally in recent years since the pellets burn for longer and also produce less smoke than normal charcoal derived from timber.

The firm has already signed a long-term contract for supply of pineapple plant waste with Del Monte plantations, one of Kenya’s largest producers of the crop.
Briquettes extracted from pineapple waste by the Global Supply Solutions Limited at their Thika factory.

With charcoal requiring the damaging cutting down of trees and coal emitting huge amounts of polluting carbon, briquettes are seen as the green energy of the future. The fact that they are made from pineapple plant waste also makes it a renewable source of energy since acreage of the crop is set to grow in tandem with population growth.

Pineapple briquettes produce less ash and they do not produce clinker residue which often erodes the lifespan of boilers such as those often used in hotels, industries and schools. They are cheaper than coal yet they burn two times longer, with the added advantage of producing low carbon emissions.

Marega says GSS partnered with Del Monte due to the company’s shared vision of pursuing sustainable and environmentally friendly energy.

GSS has patented in Kenya and other countries the technology of turning pineapple plant waste into 
“high-calorie clean burning biomass briquettes.”

ICDC — the government agency that finances development projects and industrial companies — advanced the funding to GSS in June 2015.

Mr. Marega said the firm has installed the first of two pre-processing preparation lines.
He added plans are underway to install additional machinery at the plant later this year to boost GSS’s efficiency using “advanced processing machinery.”

“Our plans to expand into up to seven locations over the next five years are also on course. There are ongoing discussions with prospective partners and investors to participate in this growth. More on this will be announced in the near future,” said Mr. Marega.

Marega adds that GSS is in talks with other financiers to finance the planned expansion.

“Our extensive research and development has presented great potential for a cleaner, greener energy source for homes and industries now and in the future,” says Marega.

Established in 2003 as a supply company delivering a wide range of goods to big companies, GSS has since 2008 turned more focus on renewable energy, whose flagship is the briquettes unit. 

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