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ECOKRAFT technology in action for people in Haiti!




Haiti is one of the least developed countries in the world and the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The country's economy is weak and its political system unstable. The population suffers from pervasive violence and unemployment; malnutrition and undernourishment are widespread. The situation is also exacerbated by regular environmental disasters. With energy-efficient stoves and agroforestry, Caritas Switzerland, on behalf of the European Union, aims to mitigate the negative effects of climate change and give the people an economic perspective. François Baumgartner spoke with Alexander Angermaier, Procurement Specialist, Caritas Switzerland and Reinhold Eder, CEO and Chairman of the Board of ECOKRAFT AG about a recently realized pyrolysis stove workshop.



Mr. Angermaier, what does Caritas Switzerland stand for?


Angermaier: Caritas Switzerland prevents, alleviates and combats poverty in Switzerland and in more than 30 countries worldwide. Together with the network of regional Caritas organizations, Caritas Switzerland is committed to helping people who are affected by poverty in Switzerland: Families, single parents, the unemployed, the working poor. Caritas cares for asylum seekers and refugees and provides legal advice. In addition, it arranges volunteers for social missions. Furthermore, Caritas provides emergency aid in disasters worldwide and is involved in reconstruction. Through its development cooperation projects, we are active in the areas of food security, water, climate protection and disaster prevention, migration, education and income generation for children and adults. Caritas Switzerland is an independent association based in Lucerne. The relief organization is a member of the international Caritas network. This comprises organizations in 165 countries worldwide.



How did the contact with ECOKRAFT come about?


Angermaier: The business contact with ECOKRAFT has existed for quite some time. We had already purchased a machine from ECOKRAFT AG for a project in Tajikistan. Sheep wool is successfully pelletized there. The reason: ECOKRAFT was able to meet all requirements and certifications. The service and quality management were convincing.


Eder: We focus on sustainable and robust business relationships also in the business field of development aid. For us it is always a matter of the heart to be able to get involved in the charitable environment with such projects. We are therefore pleased to be able to cooperate successfully with a strong partner such as Caritas Switzerland and to be able to implement challenging project plans.

"Projects in this area are always officially put out to tender. This also took place for the project in Haiti. ECOKRAFT was able to win again with the relevant certificates, and the price-performance ratio."

Alexander Angermaier, Procurement Department Caritas Switzerland



What all had to be clarified in advance for the implementation of the development aid project in Haiti?


Eder: Our advantage is that our technology is modular and can be adapted very flexibly to the given structures on site. Furthermore, the often complex security regulations in a politically unstable country must be observed. Foreign language skills are also very important. We have to get better at this.


Angermaier: Projects in this area are always officially put out to tender. This also took place for the project in Haiti. ECOKRAFT once again came out on top with the relevant certificates, consulting expertise and price-performance ratio. We also had to determine the location for the entire plant. This also included clarifying the power supply.



Mr. Eder, what is special about this ECOKRAFT plant?


Eder: An SM 200 granulator and an RP 15 pellet mill are used to process the biomass into heating pellets. The SM 200 granulator is ideally suited for a wide variety of materials. The favorable purchase price, the robust, split steel and welded housing, the good cleaning possibility as well as the easy knife and screen change distinguish this granulator. The rotor knives are arranged according to the latest V-cut technology, which always ensures a high-quality ground material. The RP15, on the other hand, is specially designed for fine-grained biomasses. Therefore, sugarcane bagasse can be pelletized very well. Both plants have also been adapted to the existing Haitian power grid, so that a 32 amp power plug is fully sufficient. All of this makes for easy handling and maintenance of the machines and a low power requirement of 15 kw/h maximum.



So what does the new workshop contribute to?


Angermeier: We manufacture these pyrolysis stoves in the workshop. These are then sold to households. The stoves also require pellets. Previously, we heated with coal, which was CO2 intensive. Now we heat with pellets, which are produced from environmentally friendly sugar cane bagasse with a gasification plant. The biochar, which is produced as a pyrolysis residue, can then be used to improve the soil. The compost-enriched plant charcoal, which is incorporated into the soil, increases soil fertility, acts as a simple CO2 reservoir and thus makes an active contribution to environmental protection on site. This is what we call decentralized, environmentally friendly and sustainable energy supply.


Eder: The complete machine for producing the pellets requires extremely little energy and is very easy to operate. This means that households can once again prepare a hot meal autonomously. It also generates new income opportunities for people. At the same time, the existing resources of the land can be used. This prevents further deforestation and the associated soil erosion and supports efforts to reforest local forests.



Why did you choose ECOKRAFT and how do you evaluate the joint cooperation?


Angermaier: On the whole, the cooperation went quite well. However, the projects are very demanding. Intercultural communication is always very important.


Eder: Caritas Switzerland impresses with a high level of professionalism in terms of implementing demanding projects in development aid....and on a scale of 1 to 10?


Angermaier: A 7. Are you satisfied with that?


Eder: Absolutely. We would rate the cooperation with a 9 and would be very happy about further project plans.

Is there a global trend and further examples of the implementation of such success stories?


Angermaier: The recycling of waste products will become increasingly important. This is already something new that we are currently experiencing in climate projects. Moreover, the technology will certainly become more important in the industrial context as well.


Eder: We see that in exactly the same way.


"Caritas Switzerland impresses with a high level of professionalism with regard to the implementation of challenging project plans in development aid."

Reinhold Eder, CEO and Chairman of the Board ECOKRAFT AG.



Mr. Angermaier, based on the experience you have gained, would you recommend ECOKRAFT AG for similar projects and why?


Angermaier: Definitely. Above all, we find that the test pelleting at ECOKRAFT contributes to positive decision making. The aforementioned test run helps the customer and client to build up trust, with which the investment decision for such a plant technology can be better justified.



And where do we go from here?


Angermaier: Development cooperation with other countries will continue to be a focus of our holistic commitment in the future. In addition, we already have the next project for Uganda on our radar. I think that we will certainly approach ECOKRAFT again. Because: We simply appreciate the flexibility and the demand for quality.


Eder: And we will continue to make a substantial contribution to further development cooperation projects with new innovations. The use of our technologies in a region strained by environmental disasters, such as Haiti, opens up a small economic and at the same time environmentally friendly perspective for people.


For more information please visit: https://www.caritas.ch/de/startseite.html



IHK Magazin November 2018
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Deggendorfer Zeitung vom 13 Dezember 2018
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