Transform a harmful plant into a source of energy? This is the successful challenge of the Higher Institute of Technological Education of Rosso in Mauritania, the Diawling National Park and a French development NGO, GRET. These three actors received the Convergences 2015 prize at the beginning of September. Each year, it rewards projects with a strong social or environmental impact.
Originally, there is the Typha, an invasive and harmful plant that carpets at great speed to the mouth of the Senegal River, for fifteen years. Not only does it affect the quality of water, it also prevents the growth of other plants, reduces areas of agricultural production and causes pockets of stagnant water for the proliferation of mosquitoes and many other parasites. Impossible to stop the invasion: it repels even if it is torn, cut or burned. Failing to eradicate it, the researchers racked their brains to find it useful. Bingo. They have developed a method to turn this plant into bio-coal. A fuel that reduces the production of greenhouse gases, since the CO2 it releases is partly reassimilated by the environment. Not insignificant when we know that 90% of Mauritanian households use charcoal for cooking.