Divine Bamboo: Ugandan Startup Leading the Fight Against Deforestation with Innovative Briquette Making

Divine Bamboo: Ugandan Startup Leading the Fight Against Deforestation with Innovative Briquette Making
Divine Nabaweesi holds a bamboo seedling from her bamboo nursery bed. PHOTOS/Courtesy

A pioneering startup, Divine Bamboo, is making waves with its innovative approach to combating deforestation.

Led by founder and CEO, Divine Nabaweesei, the company is revolutionizing the way charcoal is produced and consumed, all while promoting environmental sustainability.

Nabaweesei's passion for nature and her commitment to addressing climate change and deforestation inspired the birth of Divine Bamboo.

She envisioned a solution that not only preserved the environment but also provided a sustainable livelihood for communities.

Nabaweesei affirms, "I wanted to start something that was premised on my passion for nature but would also be an instrument in the global fight against climate change and deforestation."

The core of Divine Bamboo's initiative lies in utilizing bamboo as a renewable raw material for briquette making.

By planting bamboo forests and harvesting them for production, the company addresses the pressing issue of deforestation head-on.

Nabaweesei explains, "It is not enough to just tell people not to cut down trees. People still need a livelihood, they still need to eat, they need to earn an income, so if we can give them an alternative in the form of bamboo, which grows fast, in three years they will be harvesting."

The production process involves harvesting, drying, and carbonizing the bamboo before it is transformed into briquettes.

Divine Bamboo plans to produce briquettes made entirely from bamboo as more farmers join the supply chain.

"The carbonizer is where bamboo is in a process without oxygen because if you allow oxygen, you will just have ash in the end. So, it is carbonized and then, after that, you have bamboo charcoal basically."

In addition to being environmentally friendly, Divine Bamboo's briquettes offer practical benefits. They are cost-effective, with two kilograms costing only half a dollar, and they burn for a longer duration compared to traditional charcoal.

"There is a growing number of people who are conscious about the environment, and so they don't feel comfortable using charcoal anymore, and they are happy if they can find an alternative." Nabaweesi notes.

Partnering with Ndejje University, Divine Bamboo conducted extensive research to optimize their briquette production. The innovative project yielded over 20 tonnes of briquettes during its pilot phase.

Furthermore, Divine Bamboo operates one of Uganda's largest bamboo nurseries, producing over 200,000 seedlings annually, contributing to environmental preservation and carbon sequestration.