Water hyacinth (which is often mistaken for water lily) is a highly problematic invasive species outside its native range. They could grow up to 7.28 tons per hectare per day, which is so much faster than the growth cycle of most plants and trees. Its rapid proliferation displaces native plants and animals, clog canals, interfere with irrigation, cause flood, and even impede river transportation.
That’s where entrepreneur Jackie Yap saw an opportunity. He first learned about the water hyacinth crisis when he was a renewable engineering Ph.D. student in his native Malaysia. He planned to work in a power plant after finishing his studies, but he felt compelled to do more hands-on work.
The water hyacinth problem presented a perfect opportunity to do that. In 2015, he founded HiGi Energy, a startup currently based in Taytay, Rizal, which produces a clean energy briquette made from a very unlikely material: water hyacinth.
“HiGi’s solution is to convert water hyacinth into solid biofuel briquettes that can be used for household and commercial cooking, industrial heating, and potentially power generation. The production of briquettes is sustainable and easy to make, as there is abundant supply of the fast-growing plant,” said Yap, the startup’s Chief Executive Officer. HiGi’s product is 4 times more efficient and 10 times cleaner than traditional methods of using coal. Our lily briquettes are relatively smokeless compared to conventional lump charcoal and can provide heat for over 90 minutes
HiGi Energy employs local workers to gather the water hyacinth, which is then processed using eco-friendly practices in Philippines-based factories. When weather permits, they use air drying to reduce the amount of machine energy needed in production.
Since its foundation, HiGi has received a number of international awards and recognitions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *