Reviving a Proud Tradition
One Renewable proudly supports the European Union Access to Sustainable Energy Program (EU-ASEP), TeaM Energy Foundation Inc., the Department of Energy (DoE) to power up the pineapple decorticating machine that converts discarded leaves into high quality pineapple fiber. The project benefits at least 125 farmers in Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental who cultivate over 2,000 hectares of pineapple fields.
Pineapple cultivation in the Philippines goes a long way back to the Spanish colonial period. Pineapple silk was then the fabric of choice but was eventually replaced by cheap cotton which flooded markets worldwide in the 19th century and virtually wiped out entire weaving industries in places like Iloilo. However, the demand for fine, natural fibers that possess a smaller environmental footprint has helped to fuel the resurgence of pina fabric.
This Productive Use of Renewable Energy (PURE) project features a 4-kiloWatt (KW) solar photovoltaic system to power a 5-horse power decorticating machine that is designed to produce 10 kilograms of fiber every day or 60 kilograms per week, a huge improvement from the traditional method of separating the fiber by manually scraping the leaves with a coconut husk – a labor intensive process that yields only 15-18 pieces of fiber for every kilo of leaves. The project will not only provide incremental income to farmers but also re-establish the local economy and revive a unique Philippine weaving tradition.