Ceylon Tobacco will pilot an effort to harvest energy off trees in a joint dendro power project with Lanka Transformers, due to get off ground in August.
The slender 'Gliricidia' trees are often grown on slopes and on hill contours by farmers to bind the soil and prevent erosion, but has huge potential as a fuel crop.
It takes about one and a half years for a plant to grow to maturity, with the top and side branches periodically harvested as fuel wood.
These are then cut into smaller wood chips, used to feed gasifiers where it is converted into gas that is used to generate electricity.
This process was used in the Scandinavian countries during the Second World War, using widely available wood instead of fuel oil.
This process of repeated harvest from a single tree could go on for many years, as only the side branches are lopped off when they reach about one or two inches in diameter.
Ceylon Tobacco will operate an out grower network of about 4000 farmers in the Walapane, Udu