By Neo Kolane
Keneuoe Rantalane is trying her luck at venturing into making charcoal briquettes, after she realised that several restaurant businesses are now using the material to cook.
According to experts, charcoal briquettes are made of leftover bits of wood and sawdust mixed with additives and compressed to give them their defining pillow shape.
Rantalane told theReporter that many local restaurants are now using charcoal for cooking instead of wood imported from South Africa and Namibia.
She said another reason for her invention is that if people from outside know what Basotho need, why can’t Basotho know what the country needs.
Rantalane’s charcoal burns for roughly three hours compared to two hours for foreign brands. Her charcoal does not emit smoke like the one imported from outside the country.
The Bachelor of Science Chemical technology student who is in her fifth year of study says she makes a charcoal briquette with wholes because it helps oxygen to circulate sparking a complete combustion that is effective.
She explains that her charcoal briquette remains at a steady temperature for a longer period hence it burns longer.
She currently works at the chemistry laboratory at the National University of Lesotho (NUL) where she schools.
The 23-year old inventor says her product is ready for the market, but she cannot supply supermarkets because her production will be low due to the equipment she uses.
She is yet to write business proposals for investments.
“I want to supply the whole country with the charcoal briquette that does not give off smoke, which will be used for fire places.
“Also there are companies that produce charcoal. Those companies have powder that they use while I use that powder to make my charcoal briquettes.
“My raw materials are wood and clay, which helps with binding the charcoal briquette into the doughnut shape. It also absorbs heat then releases it slowly.,” she explained.
She added clearly: “It maintains the shape of the charcoal briquette because of its melting point. When I don’t have wood, I use charcoal powder from other companies,” Rantalane said.
Hailing from Pitseng in Leribe district, she said her aim is to open a business; she will not use wood only but also some waste paper to manufacture to make charcoal briquette.
She has not yet found a place where she will fully implement her project after she graduates, but it cannot be at school. She needs a bigger space to work from.
She also explains that for her business to grow, she is willing to find investors who can pump money into her invention.
Rantalane can be contacted on 53479697.