.....Produced by: ..... Siantan Suryatama PT.,
Energomas Primanesia PT., Agrocarbon Mfg & Industries Corp.

 

 

 

Tree of life

The coconut tree is called the ‘tree of life’ in the most of the tropics where it grows. The fruit, the leaves and at the end of its productive life - the tree trunk is used extensively for home building, bridges, furniture ad home utensils. According to Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC), with 14 member countries in the regions, there are 9.9 million hectares of coconut plantation under production.

The most valuable part is of course the fruit practically no part of it is wasted. From the naturally sweet water inside the fruit, the meat, the shell and the husk - all can be consumed or made into other products. Copra, the raw materials for vegetable cooking oil and soap, is made from sun-dried meat of the coconut. This is one of the most important export commodities from coconut producing countries. Even the waste from copra production can still be used for animal feeds - mostly for pigs. However, from copra production much of the hard shells and husks are thrown away as waste.

This so called ‘pure-biogenic product’ is now made into a wonderful branded product called COCOCHA. Cococha is an acronym for ‘coconut shell charcoal’ briquette, already exported since 1986 from Indonesia to Australia, Japan, Korea, UK, BENELUX, and GERMANY. The product is targeted toward the upper segment of the barbecue fuel market, now n use and highly recommended by connoisseurs of fine barbecuing in Western Europe.

A by-product from making barbecue briquette is ‘granular’ charcoal, which can be sold as raw material for making activated carbon. This is an industrial product widely used in the food processing industry. Activated carbon made from coconut shell is still considered to be the best and more importantly it’s food grade. Siantan has also developed a friendly fire starter made from waste coconut husk, dipped in paraffin. It’s an ecological product, with additional benefit that it does not give off foul odor to barbecued meats, so one would always get the natural taste of the foods cooked.

The production process is environmentally friendly

Indonesia has 2.47 million hectares of productive coconut, producing 2.60 million ton of copra annually. Potentially, there is over 2 million-ton of shells nationwide that can be used as a raw material for charcoal/year.

The shells are collected from copra production centers, cleaned and air-dried in the sun. To make charcoal, the rural farmers were already taught to use kilns made of second hand 200 liter oil drums. In west Kalimantan Siantan has been the pioneer and responsible for introducing this simple technology, in an effort to generate supplemental income. On an average season Siantan purchases raw materials from about 80 to 100 families (charcoal maker groups) in West Kalimantan.

Not having access to good roads, most of the coconut shell charcoal is delivered to the Siantan's factory in Pontianak in small boats, where it is processed further. Here the process is again entirely non-polluting. The charcoal is ground and mixed with vegetable-based binder and water to make ‘dough’ and then extrude and cut into square briquettes. It’s then dried in the oven, reaching a low humidity of less than 8%.

Not a single tree is cut to make this product

For the export market the briquettes are packed in recyclable paper carton. This is a ‘non-timber forest product’ harvested and processed in ‘non-destructive, non-polluting’ methods. And since the rural farmers/inhabitants are benefiting this activity, they’re concerned enough to care for the coconut plantation and forest in the areas. By minimizing the necessity for people exploiting the forest, as an integrated whole, hopefully the existing flora, fauna and wild life can also be protected.