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  • KENYA: SERC tackles Nairobi’s air pollution, using solar tricycles
  • Tunisia grants licences to 120 MW of wind projects
  • ADFD funds renewable energy projects in Togo and Liberia
  • SEYCHELLES: New 5 MW solar park to be built in Romainville
  • MOROCCO: Renewable energy will bring rural electrification to 99.85%
  • Obama fund showers Kenyan green energy Sh650 million in grants
  • GABON: AfDB finances construction of two hydroelectric power plants
  • Great Lakes Africa Energy completes construction of 24MW Kabulasoke Solar Power Park in Uganda
  • Tanzania allocates US $8.7m for Lake Ngozi geothermal project
  • UK Adds £100 Million for Renewable Energy Projects in Africa
  • City to set up Sh20bn plant to clear waste, generate energy
  • World Bank lauds Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania policies for off-grid power
  • IVORY COAST: 60 villages connected to Soubré hydroelectric power plant
  • Uganda adds 112MW to national grid to ease outages
  • Western Kenya to receive geothermal power from September next year – Ketraco
  • Kenya: Investors Turn Kenya's Troublesome Invasive Water Hyacinth Into Cheap Fuel
  • Ethiopia: Biodiesel Refinery Plant to Start Production
  • DBSA energises local Independent Power Producers
  • BURKINA FASO: Green Climate Fund finances rural electrification
  • GE Renewable Energy and EFS to support onshore wind project in Kenya
  • Tanzania: FMO backs $32.5m electrification facility
  • SENEGAL: US grant of $550 million to improve access to electricity

  • KENYA: SERC tackles Nairobi’s air pollution, using solar tricycles

    In Nairobi, the Strathmore Energy Research Centre (SERC) produces and sells solar-powered tricycles. The objective is to do business and above all to fight against air pollution affecting Kenya's capital. In Nairobi, pollution from the motorcycle fleet is in addition to a situation already comparable to some Asian cities. “A motorcycle can produce up to 300 times more hydrocarbon emissions and 10 to 50 times more particles than an average gasoline car,” explains W. David Rubia, head of the Air Quality and Mobility Programme at the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment). It is in this context that a Nairobi-based company decided to tackle this pollution problem by manufacturing solar-powered tricycles. The tricycle, offered by Strathmore Energy Research Centre (SERC), is equipped with an electric battery, which is permanently charged by a solar panel that also serves as a roof for these three wheels. “The battery, when properly charged, can travel 50 kilometres,” explains Ignatius Maranga, an engineer and renewable energy researcher at SERC. If the sun level is not favourable, the driver can go home and charge the battery from a convenient socket.

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    Tunisia grants licences to 120 MW of wind projects

    Tunisia’s Ministry of Industry and Small and Medium Enterprises has awarded licences to four onshore wind projects totalling 120 MW under its authorisation scheme for projects in the renewables sector. The projects represent a combined investment of TND 400 million (USD 134.5m/EUR 117.6m), Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP) reports. Winners in the competition are four companies, all of them foreign players, which will build wind farms of 30 MW each. Germany’s ABO Wind AG, Netherlands-based UPC Tunisia Renewables and French firms Lucia Holding and VSB Energies Nouvelles secured in principle approvals for their projects. The proposed plants will be installed in the governorates of Ben Arous and Bizerte. In a separate statement, ABO Wind confirmed its 30-MW award. The German developer said it is concluding a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with state-owned Societe tunisienne de l'electricite et du gaz (STEG). Its proposal is to install the wind park near the city of Mornag, using Siemens Gamesa SG145 turbines with capacities of 4.2 MW and 4.5 MW. Commissioning is scheduled for 2021.

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    ADFD funds renewable energy projects in Togo and Liberia

    The Abu Dhabi Development Fund (ADFD) has announced that it will finance three renewable energy projects in developing countries, including two in West Africa: Togo and Liberia. The funding will be provided through a mechanism set up in partnership with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). For Togo, the authorities will receive $15 million. The sum is intended to finance the construction of a 30 MW solar park. According to the ADFD, the project aims to provide clean and reliable energy to about 700,000 customers, households and small businesses. It will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 9,200 tonnes per year. The other country concerned by the ADFD loan is Liberia. The United Arab Emirates financial institution has decided to invest $8 million in the project. It will be used to finance the construction of a hydroelectric dam on the Gee River in the east of the country. The project will provide 2.5 MW. Enough energy to power 30,000 people, according to the ADFD.

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    SEYCHELLES: New 5 MW solar park to be built in Romainville

    Public Utilities Company (PUC), the Seychelles company in charge of electricity production and distribution, will build a 5 MW solar park on Romainville Island. It should help the archipelago save more than $1 million a year. Almost two months ago, Sustainable Power Solutions (SPS), a South African-based company, commissioned a 750 kWp off-grid service on Alphonse Island. A few months earlier, the authorities launched the construction of a floating solar park in Lagoon du “Rocher”, on the Mamelle Island. It should produce 5.8 GW per year. The government is maintaining its efforts with the construction of a solar park on Romainville Island, off the main island of Mahé. The project is being carried out by Public Utilities Company (PUC), the company in charge of electricity production and distribution. Romainville is an artificial island. There is a small park of five wind turbines. Not far from there, PUC will install the 14,850 solar panels needed to produce energy. The company estimates that the facility will occupy half of the island… On site, the public company’s employees are currently clearing the surface for the start of installation work, which is expected to take five months.

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    MOROCCO: Renewable energy will bring rural electrification to 99.85%

    The Moroccan government recently presented in Rabat its main renewable energy development projects for the period 2019-2021. The programme provides coverage for approximately 1,047 villages with 27,699 housing units over the period 2018-2020. Rural electrification will then have reached 99.85%. The Minister of Energy, Mines and Sustainable Development, Aziz Rabbah, also indicated that an electronic portal has been set up for the publication of eligible sites for renewable electricity projects, in order to make them available to investors. This is because his department’s programme provides for the development of an additional capacity of approximately 6,014.5 megawatts (MW) between 2018-2023, in order to meet the demand for electrical energy, which is expected to increase by 3.7% on average annually over the same period. At the end of 2018, Morocco increased the share of renewable energies in its national electricity mix to 35%. In his presentation to the press, Minister Aziz Rabbah gave an overview of PERG from its launch in 1996 to the end of October 2018. Through the PERG programme, 44,001 villages were connected to the national electricity grid, providing 2,173,509 homes with electricity and 19,438 homes with individual photovoltaic panels.

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    Obama fund showers Kenyan green energy Sh650 million in grants

    Former US President Barack Obama’s Power Africa initiative has showered Kenyan green energy projects with grants totalling Sh650 million in efforts to speed up electrification. While still President, Mr Obama launched Power Africa as a policy tool to unlock and activate investments in the continent’s energy space as a way of driving out energy poverty. “Through the US Trade and Development Agency, Power Africa has provided grants and assistance worth $6.5 million (Sh650 million) to support development of eight new energy projects totalling 281 MW in Kenya,” the agency said. The initiative rallies like-minded institutions and private investors towards energy financing and development in Africa, through implementation of new green projects and upgrade of existing ones for optimal output. In April 2017, for instance, Power Africa, awarded power producer KenGen a grant of Sh50 million ($500,000) to deploy new equipment at its Olkaria geothermal power plants geared towards tapping more electricity from steam wells.

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    GABON: AfDB finances construction of two hydroelectric power plants

    The African Development Bank and the GPC-Eranove Consortium have signed a letter of intent to finance the construction of the Ngoulmendjim (73 MW) and Dibwangui (15 MW) hydropower plants in Gabon. The AfDB wants to finance the construction of the Ngoulmendjim and Dibwangui hydroelectric power plants. On January 4, 2019, the bank signed a letter of intent to finance, in which it undertakes to be a co-arranger and co-lender of funds for these projects. The Bank will pay €160 million to Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) for the construction of these power plants. A project led by Gabon Power Company, the energy holding company created by the Fonds gabonais d’Investissements stratégiques (FGIS) and whose purpose is to contribute to the financing of energy projects in Gabon. The Ngoulmendjim dam site will be built on the Nkomo River in the estuary province, 125 km from Libreville, the Gabonese capital. In addition to its 73 MW generating capacity, the dam will have an annual production capacity of approximately 500 GWh.

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    Great Lakes Africa Energy completes construction of 24MW Kabulasoke Solar Power Park in Uganda

    Great Lakes Africa Energy (GLAE) a United Kingdom registered, sub-Sahara focused energy solutions provider has announced the completion of the development of a US$ 25million solar power generating plant in Uganda. Acting as the lead financial and technical investor, GLAE is part of a development consortium comprising of Uganda’s Xsabo Power Limited which has been working to deliver the 24MW Kabulasoke Solar Power Park in conjunction with the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited. In Uganda, over the festive season, the project development teams burnt the midnight oil to complete critical commissioning tests on Christmas day, managing to achieve the project Commercial Operations Start Date (COD), ahead of the New Year. The successful completion of the pilot commissioning tests now paves the way for the Kabulasoke Solar Power Park official commissioning on the Ugandan power grid for onward distribution to power consumers in coming days. According to GLAE Director, Michael Kearns, the Commercial Operations Start Date (COD) for the project, was achieved on Sunday, December 30th 2018 and duly confirmed by (UETCL), as per terms of a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Government of the Republic of Uganda.

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    Tanzania allocates US $8.7m for Lake Ngozi geothermal project

    The government of Tanzania has set aside US $8.7m in the 2018/ 2019 fiscal year for the Lake Ngozi geothermal project in Mbeya region. The chairman of the Tanzania Geothermal Development Company (TGDC), Beatus Segeja confirmed the reports during his visit in Lake Ngozi and said the government was in collaboration with the country’s electric supply company to see through the progress of the construction works. “Company Limited (TANESCO) and other development partners have come together to implement the project. In order to boost the budget, we will also engage other stakeholder,” said Beatus Segeja. The first geothermal project in the country is expected to produce 200MW of power from geothermal energy resources by 2025. Currently, there are 50 areas that are considered to have potential for geothermal development. Talamayeri Njukava, TGDC technical director said that a team of experts had proven that Lake Ngozi was fit enough for geothermal power generation. The lake will be a geothermal source together with other regions such as Songwe, Mbaka and Kiejo.

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    UK Adds £100 Million for Renewable Energy Projects in Africa

    The UK government announced at the COP24 event in Poland an extra £100 million of renewable energy funding for the Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP) in Africa. This funding will give Sub-Saharan Africa’s small to medium-scale renewable energy sector a major boost and should enable REPP to support the financing of up to 40 more projects across the region from 2019-2023 – providing improved or first-time electricity access to around 2.4m people per year. The new funding is also expected to unlock an extra £156 million of private finance into renewable energy markets in Africa by 2023. REPP is already supporting 18 renewable energy projects across 11 African countries, employing seven different technologies, from solar home systems and PV mini-grids to biomass and run-of-river hydro. Over the projects’ 25-year lifespans, they are together expected to provide improved or first-time energy access to 4.5m people, increase capacity from clean energy by 194MW while creating 8,000 jobs during development and operation.

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    City to set up Sh20bn plant to clear waste, generate energy

    The construction of the much-awaited Sh20 billion power plant at Dandora dumpsite to help manage the thousands of tons of waste generated daily in the city will begin in June. The county government yesterday said it is still receiving proposals from 26 shortlisted private investors that had expressed interest in the project. “More than 60 investors had expressed interest but we shortlisted 26 and asked them to write proposal detailing the technology they have and how they intend to implement it,” Environment director David Makori said. Makori said that the shortlisted investors have until the end of the month to submit the proposal. He said that evaluations before the tender is awarded to the best firm. “We are looking for a firm that will offer best technology and has finances to do the work. In three months, we should be done with all the documentations,” he said. The plant will recycle waste and use garbage to produce and supply electricity in the city. Makori said that the plant is expected to produce 40 mega watts of clean, renewal energy per day which will connected to the national grid.

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    World Bank lauds Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania policies for off-grid power

    The World Bank has paid special recognition to Ethiopia and Kenya as having the best set of policies on the continent geared towards providing off-grid power solutions to remote villages. These eastern Africa nations have in recent years been championing connections through off-grid solutions such as mini grids and solar kits, largely implemented by private investors. This is seen to provide the nations with the shortest, cost-effective route towards universal electricity access. “Sub-Saharan African countries have registered strong progress, especially since 2015, in particular on policies and regulations for mini grids and standalone systems. This effort is mainly driven by Ethiopia, which has the most comprehensive energy-access-enabling environment on the continent, followed by Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa,” the World Bank says in its report dubbed Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy (RISE).

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    IVORY COAST: 60 villages connected to Soubré hydroelectric power plant

    The Ivorian authorities officially connected 60 villages to the Soubré hydroelectric power plant in the west of the country on December 7, 2018. In the coming months, 190 other rural communities will be connected as well. As a result, 3000 tonnes of greenhouse gases will be reduced per year. The symbolic power-up ceremony for these first 60 localities was presided over on December 7, 2018 by the Ivorian Prime Minister, Amadou Gon Coulibaly. It is part of the rural electrification component of the Transmission and Distribution Network Upgrading Project (Pretd), which involves the construction of high-voltage transmission lines from the Soubré power plant to the cities of San Pedro, Duékoué and Zagné. Then the extension of Soubré and San Pedro substations and the construction of new substations in Duékoué and Zagné. The project financed to the tune of €137.82 million by the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group will provide electricity to people in 252 rural localities in the Mountain District, including 42 in Cavally region, 82 in Guémon region and 128 in Tonkpi region. In addition, the strengthening of the networks in the west of the country will also allow the shutdown of the thermal power plants currently running on fuel oil in the region, as well as an estimated annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 3000 tonnes.

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    Uganda adds 112MW to national grid to ease outages

    Uganda’s energy sector added to its energy generation surplus this year as new power stations went live. Meanwhile user demand projections have increased but rising power tariffs have denied several people access to electricity, while transmission and distribution challenges mean power blackouts remain a key feature in many households. The country’s installed generation capacity is estimated at 960 megawatts while active generation capacity stands at 700 megawatts according to energy industry sources. This scenario points to idle generation capacity suffered by the large hydro power plants and small thermal generation facilities. In comparison, the country’s peak power demand levels have grossed 640 megawatts this year, a figure that translates into a modest surplus of 60MW on the national grid.

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    Western Kenya to receive geothermal power from September next year – Ketraco

    Western Kenya will for the first time be fed with cheap and clean geothermal energy next year with the completion of a transmission line connecting the region to Olkaria steam fields in Rift Valley. The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco), the developer of the 290km high voltage line, said construction is nearly three quarters complete. The project is estimated to cost Sh9.5 billion ($94.7 million). Western Kenya has been relying on expensive electricity from gas turbine power station fuelled by kerosene at Muhoroni in Kisumu, alongside costly imports from neighbouring Uganda. The Olkaria-Lessos-Kisumu line runs from Naivasha steam fields through Eldoret to the lakeside city of Kisumu.

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    Kenya: Investors Turn Kenya's Troublesome Invasive Water Hyacinth Into Cheap Fuel

    Currently 30 square kilometres of Lake Victoria, which stretches to approximately 375 kilometres and links Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda, is covered with the evasive water hyacinth that has paralysed transport in the area. But scientists are harvesting and fermenting the weed, and one intrepid chemistry teacher has built a business out of it. The presence of water hyacinth on the lake is concerning. Late last year, Margaret Kidany, one of the people involved in conserving Lake Victoria's beaches, said the lake's water levels might drop by 60 percent if the weed is not controlled. If it is not eliminated, it will kill the livelihoods of thousands of households that rely on the lake for an income. However, the Centre for Innovation Science and Technology in Africa, founded by former chemistry teacher Richard Arwa, is making the best out of the invasive water hyacinth. Funded in its start-up stages by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the innovation company, which employs six people and serves 560 households, manufactures ethanol from the weed. This is proving a cheaper source of clean fuel for many of the locals while at the same time preserving the lake. The process they use is a simple one.

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    Ethiopia: Biodiesel Refinery Plant to Start Production

    A biodiesel refinery plant that has a capacity to produce 12,000 liters of biodiesel per day will start operation soon in Adama industrial zone. The plant owned by a company named API is waiting approvals from the Ministry of Finance and Ethiopian Standards Agency to start production, company CEO, Marcos Bitew said.The company that will use Jatropha tree to produce the diesel is working in collaboration with farmers who cultivate the tree to meet its demands for raw material. API is working with farmers who are developing jatropha tree on 1.4 million hectares of land. The company that targeted to increase its production capacity within few years has plans to build additional nine plants. By 2025, the company will have 10 refinery plants and its production capacity reach 730 million liters per year, according to the CEO. The refineries are expected to cost API 250 million USD. The refineries are expected to create more than 10,000 jobs within the next 10 to 12 years, he said. Since the company gets the tree from individual farmers who developed the tree by their own, API will use a digital payment platform to pay its suppliers.

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    DBSA energises local Independent Power Producers

    In South Africa's Northern Cape, the 100MW Ilanga CSP 1 power plant, which came into operation on 30 November 2018, will produce enough clean energy to serve around 100,000 South African households and will displace over 340,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. The flexible power plant uses parabolic trough technology which allows it to operate during the daytime and continue for up to 5 hours at full load after sunset. This is the first CSP project in the country to be developed by local players. Conceived in 2009, the project is owned by Karoshoek Solar One, a consortium consisting of Emvelo, PIC, IDC, Karoshoek SDI Trust, Grazigystix and HCI. The R11 billion Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) facility took exactly three years to build and was completed on time and on budget. According to construction partner Dankocom EPC, the project clocked over 6 million working hours on site. 85% of the working hours clocked were by South Africans, most of them from local communities.

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    BURKINA FASO: Green Climate Fund finances rural electrification

    The Burkinabe rural electrification plan can finally be implemented, as half of the necessary funds are available. The amount of money just released by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) for the project called Yeleen (light in local language) amounts to €24.3 million. The project will combine photovoltaic solar energy production with optimised battery storage using smart mini grid functions to better match available solar energy to demand and limit night use. This will allow people to have full access to renewable energy and reduce CO2 emissions. The Yeleen plan has three components. However, the current GCF funding concerns the rural electrification component based on solar energy production, especially mini-grids and individual kits (productive use equipment). The component will be developed under the supervision of the Rural Electrification Agency of Burkina Faso (Aber). “The Yeleen project has strong potential for scaleability and replication in Burkina Faso and many sub-Saharan African countries. It provides a useful framework to encourage private sector-led rural electrification projects to increase access to electricity and accelerate investment in green energy. ”, said Pierre Telep, renewable energy specialist at the GCF.

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    GE Renewable Energy and EFS to support onshore wind project in Kenya

    GE Renewable Energy and GE Energy Financial Services (EFS) have agreed to provide technology and advisory support for an onshore wind project in Kenya. In July this year, the African unit of GE partnered with Kipeto Energy for the development of the Kipeto wind power project. Kipeto is a 100MW wind power project located south of Nairobi in Kajiado, and is reported to be the second largest wind energy project in the country. In partnership with GE EFS, GE Renewable Energy will provide 60 turbine units to the project that will generate enough energy to power approximately 40,000 homes in the region. The onshore wind project in Kenya is expected to begin its commercial operations in 2020. GE Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa Onshore Wind regional director Peter Wells said: “GE is incredibly proud to be a part of this exciting endeavour. “The Kipeto project is an important step forward in providing affordable, reliable clean energy to the region, and meeting Kenya’s renewable energy goals. We look forward to working with our partners on the journey for years to come.”

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    Tanzania: FMO backs $32.5m electrification facility

    In Tanzania, an estimated 145,500 households will soon have access to reliable and affordable power through the recent signing of a $32.5 million finance facility. FMO the Dutch development bank and lead financier, signed with ZOLA Electric and Symbiotics, an investment firm specialised in emerging, sustainable and inclusive finance on Monday. Bill Lenihan, Co-CEO, ZOLA Electric: “We are excited to announce this new investment from FMO and Symbiotics. It will allow us to connect more people in Tanzania, support the communities in which we operate and continue the development of our industry-leading power systems.” Chris Wurdemann, Vice President of Corporate Finance, ZOLA Electric continued: “ZOLA’s technologically advanced product offering and innovative business model have attracted an incredible group of strategic and capital partners. “FMO and Symbiotics join a roster of strategic and capital partners that is the strongest in the industry, including Tesla, Total, EDF, DBL Partners, Helios Investment Partners, GE Ventures and SunFunder.” Additionally, the investment is expected to create around 2,100 new jobs in off-grid solar.

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    SENEGAL: US grant of $550 million to improve access to electricity

    Senegal has concluded a $600 million agreement with the United States of America (USA) aimed mainly at improving the performance of its electricity sector. The two parties signed the agreement on December 10, 2018, providing a $550 million U.S. donation. Three projects will soon be launched in Senegal: the project to modernise and strengthen the distribution network of Senelec (Senegal’s national electricity distribution company), the project to widen access to electricity in rural and peri-urban areas and the project for a promising environment and capacity development in the electricity sector. They are the result of the partnership agreement signed by the Senegalese government and the government of the United States of America (USA) on Monday, December 10, 2018. The agreement will improve energy access conditions for more than 12 million Senegalese people. The Senegalese government will invest $50 million to carry out the project. A $550 million grant will be provided by the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. bilateral aid agency.

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    TUNISIA: Chanouf produces bio coal from waste

    Chanouf Farm specialises in the production of charcoal and other environmentally friendly heating materials. They serve as alternatives to conventional firewood whose production, linked to deforestation, has a strong impact on the environment. His name’s Murad Chanouf. Tunisia, his country of origin, sees him as a recycling hero. He has set up a farm named after him and has been transforming waste into fuel for the past 3 years. He uses bio-waste to produce flammable coal briquettes and charcoal to meet his challenge. The charcoal is produced in three stages: first, the waste (dead wood, bark and tree leaves) is collected; second, it is crushed, dried and pressed to form coal briquettes and charcoal. For Radwan Al-Ayadi, director of the start-up, the fuel “is cheaper than (ordinary) charcoal, gas or other energy sources. According to him, it is also 30% less humid than ordinary coal. Chanouf makes sure that nothing is lost.

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