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Student firm turns coffee beans residue into eco-friendly charcoal

5 May 2021 By MOHAMMED TAHA

Recycling the large amount of coffee beans residue generated in the sultanate, an Omani startup – Jathwa – has started making eco-friendly charcoal. 

Formed by students of different universities of Oman, the startup makes high-grade charcoal that can be used in barbecue grills and bukhoor burners. 

The team successfully produced charcoal in trail quantities as part of its project to participate in the Injaz Oman 2021 competition.

Speaking to Muscat Daily, Ahmed Taghlib al Barwani said, “Our team of 11 members is participating in the Injaz competition in which many other student companies representing several colleges and universities from Oman will vie for the title.”

After months of brainstorming, the team came up with eight project ideas. “We studied each one using SWOT analysis before finalising this. We immediately set to work and started our first trials in March 2020. Trials and testing continued for 11 months before we had the final product after solving numerous problems along the way.”

The Asrar al Aredh factory in the wilayat of Ibri gave the startup an opportunity to use its facility for free to make charcoal and conduct quality checks. 

“Initially, we were unable to find raw materials in the market. So we started searching for alternatives, in the process testing different raw materials before we got the perfect product. Besides, we lacked the scientific resources and specialists in this field of work. There were lots of questions that we needed answered. We had to rely mostly on trial and error and find our own answers,” Barwani said.

Elaborating on the need for such a product, he said, “In Oman we have only two factories that manufacture coal. Most of the local demand is fulfilled with imported coal.”

He noted that considering the amount of coffee consumed, the volume of coffee beans residue must undeniably be significant. 

“So our company is able to recycle a waste product to something the public needs,” Barwani said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us in many ways. In the manufacturing process, we needed some support from other companies and organisations, which we were unable to get. Secondly, it affected marketing and presentation opportunities. We couldn’t present the product to a large segment of people.”

The team’s plans for the future include a factory and setting up a network for collection of coffee beans residue from coffee shops and any other business that generate raw material for eco-friendly charcoal. 

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