Kaluma Katembo recently had the opportunity to visit the operations of Congo Nishati Mpya (CNM – Congo New Energy) and to provide a report.

Good progress has been made and there are several customers now using the briquettes produced by CNM.  The challenge has been to perfect the quality of the product.  Richard Kasereka, General Manager, has been experimenting to determine the best combination of available organic material inputs for a given output.  Charcoal fines may produce the best long lasting coals, but higher portions of wood inputs will provide faster lighting and initially hotter fires but shorter cooking times.  The agreed goal was to improve the product quality before expanding production.

GM Richard Kasereka mixing a wood slurry into charcoal fines

Kaluma reports that the market for the briquettes is quite strong once a consistent quality briquette is developed. Each of the three presses are capable of supporting up to five employees. (Two gathering materials, two working the press and one providing customer delivery and administration.) He discussed with several leaders in the area the concept of joining an Advisory Board for CNM which will oversee effective governance for the operations and provide guidance for additional expansion.

Recent production of wood briquettes drying in front of the Congo Nishati Mpya production shed

The rainy environment of Butembo has been frustrating as it delays the adequate drying of briquettes. The more northern Congo cities of Beni and Bunia may provide good locations for expansion as they are both at lower altitudes, dryer and hotter. It was encouraging to learn of the commitment of those in Congo working on the project and the unrelenting support of CSCODI. With their commitment and perseverance, we continue to have strong confidence in the strong success of this venture.