The Green Charcoal from a Filipino Entomologist

Gonzalo Catan, a Seventy-year-old Filipino entomologist, is endorsing the use of unnecessary plant wastes as an efficient and green fuel source. Catan, the Executive Vice President of Mapecon Philippines Inc., stated that the green charcoal will resolve the garbage problem and energy crisis in the country, mainly in small and distant communities who are not reached by electricity. He developed the green charcoal after his many years of research in the field of entomology.

Mapecon’s subsidiary company, Mapecon Green Charcoal Philippines Inc. (MGCPI) produces green charcoal, activated carbon and organic fertilizer coming from plant waste and a unique set of microorganisms, called MBA 51. Green charcoal is environment-friendly because it only contains biodegradable waste from water lilies, banana peelings, coconut waste, and other plant wastes. Catan explained that Green charcoal can generate heat from 6,500 kilo calories (Kcal) to 7,000 Kcal like a steaming thermal coal so it can run power plants and power an entire city as large as Davao that has 700 tons of waste from fruit peelings. Catan is known as the father of green charcoal in the Philippines. He started his own pest control company when he was 26. According from his life story, he accidentally discovered green charcoal in 1995 when he had placed some organic fertilizer in a can, then after few days, someone threw a lit cigarette into the can. He observed that the substance glowed nicely.

According to Catan, he continued the research because he knows his invention could help Filipinos who need to walk many kilometers just to buy kerosene for lamps or firewood just to light their homes. This would save us money from importing costly fossil fuels that harm the environment.

He developed a machine called Organic Kooking to endorse the product. This is a hydrogen fuel generator system that uses green charcoal as its fuel. Aristocrat restaurant is one of the 70 restaurants which uses the machine. MGCPI chief operating officer Hector Venzuela patented green charcoal generator system only emits oxygen from splitting water components while gas ranges emit carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. The system can supply the power needs of agricultural plantation cooperatives, municipal halls, real estate development and small communities and towns which will consume only five megawatts. Venzuela stated that you need to buy the generator set (that costs over P1 million) exclusively imported from a manufacturer in America. A flexible paying scheme with cooperatives is allowed. Mapecon has 3.4 hectares of land in Laguna where 40 workers process green charcoal, vermicast fertilizer, and activated carbon.

This green charcoal is my contribution to the Philippines and with the looming power crisis, I hope government agencies, cooperatives and private entities will see the benefits of adopting this technology, said Catan.