Ludmila Abramciuc: We all started in garages but, thanks to the EU, we reached a new qualitative level
Ludmila Abramciuc and her husband Ivan Damaschin launched their business in 2008, back when biofuel was a novelty in Moldova and a market for it didn’t exist. Now, in 2017, they can produce enough biofuel to heat almost 80 schools. “If back when we were starting up our business, people were asking what briquettes were, now consumers know the types of briquettes and thoroughly choose the product that suits them best”, says Ludmila Abramciuc.
The family company “Ecobricheta” LTD is located in Balti municipality and provides biofuel for the northern part of the country. During 9 years, the company has changed several locations, and this year bought a 5,000 square meters’ workshop in one of the industrial areas of the city. Now, they are adapting the new building to the production process, setting up storage spaces for raw materials and finished products, positioning briquette production lines, which need wide spaces and solid flooring.
Currently, “Ecobricheta” has three briquette production lines operating at the same time, and they expect their number to grow. 30 of the company’s employees or subcontracted staff deal with waste transformation into biofuel and its delivery to the beneficiary.
Ludmila Abramciuc and her husband Ivan Damaschin are beneficiaries of the Energy and Biomass Project Leasing Programme, thanks to which they have benefited from biofuel production equipment from European funds, with the possibility of paying for it in installments, with 0% VAT, bank fees and other charges.
“Ecobricheta” LTS targeted from the very beginning household consumers. “Unlike our colleagues, other producers of briquettes, who chose to work with public institutions, we went to villages, gradually informed people and created a loyal customers network”, says Ludmila Abramciuc. More than half of Moldovan families use individual heating stoves, and briquettes have a 50% higher yield than firewood, with a consumption of over 130 thousand tons in 2015. By replacing firewood with briquettes, consumers not only reduce their costs, but also reduce deforestation.
Concerned with environmental issues, the two business partners have expanded their business into a related area – recycling of rubber wastes. The equipment has been purchased and tested; it will produce biogas through pyrolysis and it will be used to dry raw material for briquettes – wood sawdust and sunflower husks.
Now, “Ecobricheta” LTD buys sunflower residuals from farmers and oil factories from Balti, Nisporeni and Ciadir-Lunga. However, with growing demand, the price for raw materials goes up as well – if three years ago, a ton of sunflower husks costed 400 lei, now it is three times higher, 1300 lei. That is why the two producers are forced to import raw materials from Ukraine, and in the future they intend to produce it themselves. They rented 62 ha of agricultural land where they will plant energy willows, a plant that grows up to 3 cm per day and generates cca 25 tons of wooden mass per ha. This will generate a big part of the necessary raw materials.
Thanks to trainings and study visits to European countries, organized by the Energy and Biomass Project, they understood that knowledge was at the center of everything, told Ludmila Abramciuc: “All biofuel producers began their activity in garages and abandoned industrial spaces; the majority didn’t have plans for businesses or a clear vision of the business. However, we saw how automated and well-organized such productions are in the EU and we invested to reach a new qualitative level”.
The Moldova Energy and Biomass Project, in its second stage, is a three-year long project implemented between 2015 and 2017. The project has a total budget of 9.41 million Euro granted by the European Union and it is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme. It continues the first stage of the project, implemented during 2011-2014, with a total budget of 14.56 million Euro, granted by the European Union (14 million Euro) and UNDP (560,000 Euro).
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Notes for editors:
Briquette – type of solid fuel in form of briquettes, obtained by pressing at a high temperature certain types of vegetal residues and with certain humidity. When producing briquettes only natural ligament is used – lignin, found in vegetable residues.
Rubber pyrolysis – high temperature rubber processing, without oxygen access. As a result, two fractions were obtained: of liquid fuel and one of gas, without releasing emissions into the atmosphere. The liquid part can be used as an additive for unleaded petrol or as diesel fuel with better parameters than the existing one, while the gas can be bottled. Both liquid and gaseous fuel can be used as heating sources.
Pellets – type of solid fuel, from vegetables residues, shaped as grains.