Norden Pines briquette plant opens in Bhutan
In a rural farming province of Bhutan, a programme is under way to provide an alternative source of energy and protect the environment.
Bumthang Province is home to two national parks: Thrumshingla and Jigme Singye Wangchuck. It stands in the middle of a corridor linking the two areas of native forest that serve as a rich biodiversity area, including several globally threatened and unique species. But, for Bhutan, the main source of domestic heating is timber. Due to its high altitude, Bhutan’s per capita use of wood in energy consumption is one of the highest in the world.
Norden Pines, a CEPF grant recipient in Bhutan, has come up with an alternative. Seeking to protect and maintain this key corridor within the Bhutan Biological Conservation Complex, it has created a factory for the manufacture of briquettes. The material comes from sawdust and other wood by-products accumulated from timber already harvested for other purposes and from agricultural waste.
The aim is for the briquettes to mitigate and ultimately replace demand for wood for fuel from the forests.
Tashi Wangdi, proprietor of Norden Pines, says the briquettes offer many advantages over firewood. The briquettes are environmentally friendlier, produce more heat and more efficiently, are cleaner and easier to handle and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, thereby helping to combat global climate change.
The plant was recently inaugurated by Bumthang Governor Karma Tshering and CEPF Executive Director Jorgen Thomsen.
Since its opening day of production, the factory is producing nearly 2,000 kilograms of briquettes a day. Demand for the product is climbing, up to 500 kilograms a day in just a matter of weeks. Wangdi says he thinks he will have to add a second shift later this year to meet the rising demand.
For more information
Country Coordinator, Bhutan
WWF Bhutan Program, Thimpu
CEPF – Eastern Himalayas
WWF Nepal Programme Office, Kathmandu
The grant that Norden Pines received for its plant is part of the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund's (CEPF) strategy to conserve key biodiversity areas in the Eastern Himalayas. CEPF is a joint initiative of Conservation International (CI), l’Agence Française de Développement, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank. In the Eastern Himalayas region, WWF leads the regional team responsible for facilitating, coordinating and monitoring grants for CEPF-supported conservation projects.