Toronto Group is a manufacturer of high-quality charcoal, using biomass obtained from the harvesting of alien invasive vegetation from the catchment areas of the Western Cape Province in South Africa. The removal of this alien vegetation results in the improvement of stream and river flows, thus obviating the need for investment in more costly water supply measures.
HeadquartersMilnerton, Cape Town, 7446, South Africa
Toronto Group is based in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, and is the biggest producer of high-quality, export-grade charcoal in Africa.
Its 10 000 tonne per annum production facility is a first of a kind, and uses innovative locally-developed carbonisers. The plant has very low emissions, which are well below those required in terms of the national environmental standards.
The biomass being used in the Group's plant is sourced from the harvesting of alien eucalyptus and acacia species, which are having a detrimental effect on the flow of water in streams and rivers, in a region which is beginning to feel the effects of reduced rainfall and more frequent droughts.
The charcoal being produced is of very high quality, and meets all the standards required by the European restaurant and barbecue charcoal markets.
The plant draws the power required for the process from a solar PV and battery system, mounted on its roof. A larger solar PV power plant will be developed in the future, on adjacent land, to supply power to surrounding farmers.
In addition to the charcoal, fines, which are an inevitable by-product of charcoal production, are applied as bio-char in the Western Cape's important agricultural sector, not only improving the soil's carbon content, but also acting as long-term carbon store.
It is Toronto Group's intention to expand its activities into other parts of South Africa, and in time, into Africa, where charcoal is still an important household fuel, but is generally produced very inefficiently, and resulting in widespread deforestation.