Fentons signs MOU with Canadian firm for energy system for tea factories

Fentons Ltd., the old established engineering firm, has entered into a memorandum of understanding with a Canadian company, Malahat Energy Corporation, for a project involving the conversion of plantation waste into electrical energy.

"Basically what we are trying to do is to maximise the use of waste heat in tea manufacture," Mr. R. I. Senaratne of Fentons explained. "The inputs will be no different, but they will be used more efficiently."

Malahat has sought a patent for a biofuel system enabling delivery of low cost power to high energy consuming industries. This system converts biomass wastes such as wood residues to thermal and electrical energy at a fraction of prevailing prices, it is claimed.

According to a Malahat announcement, they have a joint venture agreement in principle with Fentons to be known as FM Energy Corporation Ltd.

Fenton’s Senaratne said that at present the agreement is limited to a MOU. More research and development is necessary to maximise use of waste heat generated in converting timber to gas for the tea manufacturing process.

India has done a lot of work on gassifying fuelwood but a problem was residue left in the electricity generators by the gas. Malahat claimed that their process left no residues. This has to be tested out.

He estimated that the hardware to produce 200 kw of electricity, sufficient for a tea factory, would cost about Rs. 20 mn. with a further Rs. 5 mn. for the necessary design work to maximise waste heat use.

"But as we go along the learning curve, it’ll be possible to reduce the total cost to about Rs. 15 mn.," he said.

He also said that some experiments are being conducted here on fuelwood with a view to finding the most economic type of tree giving the most calories of energy.