Pyropower is a social start-up established in 2019 to promote, develop, and popularise a biochar-based economy in rural areas of Southeast Asia. Pyropower brings the idea of turning organic waste streams into a new, valuable material, called biochar.
Biochar is a carbon residue from the carbonization process of organic matter in anaerobic conditions. Biochar is a material whose myriad of applications have not yet reached their full potential. Currently, biochar’s applications are mostly in the agricultural sector by restoring soil quality. One of biochar’s most important applications is its ability to sequester CO2 for soil condition improvement on damaged croplands around the world.
Pyropower’s mission is to provide affordable pyrolysis technology and enable a biocharbased circular economy in the rural communities of Southeast Asia. We are looking into a large untapped market at in the bottom of the pyramid of the coffee growing industry. About 80% of the world’s coffee is produced by 25 million smallholder farmers, and Indonesia represents a big chunk of this supply. As the world’s fourth largest producer, 1.5 million Indonesian smallholder coffee farmers produce over 600 thousand tonnes of coffee per year.
There is a huge environmental and social problem at the smallholder farm level. Currently, 60% of coffee cherry is wasted, amounting to an emission of at least 200,000 tons CO2eq per year in addition to water and other pollutions. Furthermore, the productivity of farmers in Indonesia is relatively low, with the causes mainly from poor agricultural and postharvest processes such as lack of coffee beans drying. The latter is further exacerbated by the effect of climate change that causes higher and irregular rainfall patterns, which made it very difficult for farmers to dry their coffee beans. This in turn decreases their final yield and therefore reduces their potential income. As a result, farmers could suffer months of food shortages because of their dependency on low incomes.
Pyropower has three key strategies:
- to develop and sell affordable pyrolysis reactors;
- promote innovation and sales of biochar-based products;
- hire, train, and promote employees (including women) from the local community.
Altogether, these will create a self-sustaining biochar-based circular economy in rural Indonesia.
Pyropower’s value chain consists of 4 key processes:
- product development, partner identification, and pricing;
- product supply;
- biochar product creation, sales, and application in rural setting.
Pyropower derives revenue from (1) product sales and (2) carbon credits from biochar application. Its main expenses include (1) product costs, (2) sales and marketing, and (3) training and education.