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Student startup turns date seeds to charcoal

18 Apr 2021 By MOHAMMED TAHA

Cashing in on the large market for charcoal used in burning bukhoor, while keeping the environment and sustainability in consideration, an Omani startup called Fateel al Nakheel is making charcoal from date seeds.

Formed by ten students of the University of Technology and Applied Science in Muscat, the startup makes a high-grade charcoal called Fawwah.

Speaking to Muscat Daily, Al Baraa bin Khalfan al Badwi, one of the ten students, said, “The concept of the project emerged from work of one of our colleagues, Hauriya al Mahadur, CEO of the company, done on recycling date seeds.”

Research for the project was undertaken in the laboratory of the University of Technology and Applied Sciences over three months. 

“The charcoal is combustible and made of kernel and other parts of date seeds. It works with high efficiency for about two hours, sometimes even longer, and is free from unpleasant odours and harmful gases. The product has earned a certificate from the Centre of Quality and Standards at the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion endorsing that it’s made from 100 per cent natural materials,” Badwi said.

The main challenge for the team in developing the product was obtaining approvals to work in laboratories, besides sourcing funds and raw material for the research work. “But we work well as a team, with each member carrying out the task entrusted to him or her,” Badwi said, adding that the assistance they received from the Agricultural and Animal Research Centre was significant to their research work. 

“This product as an important alternative to the imported products currently used in order to support the country’s economy and Omani youths’ entrepreneurship,” Badwi added. 

He claimed the product will be a step towards saving the environment for future generations. “We hope to popularise its use, not just in Oman, and reduce reliance on chemical-based products.”

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