Sri Lanka tea firms urged to grow own energy

Sept 1, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s tea plantations companies have been urged to grow their own fuel as a means of reducing costs at a time when fossil fuel prices are escalating. Growing crops like gliricidia would not only provide a cheap source of firewood to meet energy requirements but also nutrients for the soil in which tea bushes grow, said Parakrama Jayasinghe, President of the Bio Energy Association of Sri Lanka.

Planters and tea factory managers need not be concerned the use of firewood would affect the quality of made tea, Jayasinghe told the Colombo International Tea Convention organized by the Colombo Tea Traders’ Association and the Sri Lanka Tea Board to mark the 140th anniversary of the Ceylon tea industry.

Those who made the switch from fossil fuels to fire wood have found quality does not suffer, said Jayasinghe, who is also Director of Engineering at activated carbon maker Haycarb, a firm using fuel wood fired generators for energy.

But Jayasinghe said there appeared to be inadequate appreciation of the potential of wood as a source of energy with a lack of dissemination of the considerable available information.

“Growing your own fuel is