Technology transfer :Energy from tea harvest residues through the use of pelleting machines, sustainable fertilizers from improved composting and use of biochar, biomass gasification plant, photovoltaic systems.
Local environment :Reduced logging, increased air quality through use of efficient stoves
Further advantages :Lower expenditure on domestic energy, additional income for workers on the tea plantations
Target group :Tea gardens in South Assam
Project partners :Jalinga Tea Company India

Climate-friendly tea cultivation

In pilot projects at the Jalinga Tea Garden in Assam, India, the Jalinga Climate Tea Research Foundation (JCTRF) is developing and testing climate-friendly ways of growing and processing tea, while promoting adaptation to changing climate conditions. The aim of the project is to establish a self-sustaining concept for the climate friendly and organic cultivation of tea that can be transferred to tea gardens all over Assam. To enable the tea gardens to afford the implementation of the concept, atmosfair provides a subsidy programme through the JCTRF. The foundation was established by atmosfair and the Jalinga Tea Company India especially for the project.

Assam is the largest tea growing region in the world. Energy production for drying the leaves as well as improving soil quality are key issues for tea cultivation. To address these, the project follows a comprehensive approach that uses existing resources and also involves the workers and their families. For the climate-friendly energy supply of the office buildings, solar energy will complement the energy mix of the tea garden.

From waste material to fuel

Currently, many crop residues remain unused every year. Their decay in local dumps produces the greenhouse gas methane. At the same time, tea plantation operators dry the tea leaves with coal, releasing CO2. The JCTRF is testing how plantation operators can use a pelleting machine to compress crop residues so that they can use them as fuel instead of fossil coal.

In addition, all employees on the plantation now use efficient wood gasification stoves registered under atmosfair’s stove project in India (see project page). The resulting biochar workers can sell to the tea plantation. There, it can replace conventional charcoal until it is possible to dry the tea leaves using pellets only. The sale of charcoal from the wood gasification stoves can thus serve as an additional source of income for the workers.

Biochar as a panacea for improving soil quality

The Jalinga tea garden has been using compost from a special composting method (Novcom compost) in combination with manure to fertilise the tea plants for more than 15 years. The research foundation now wants to explore whether this method can be improved even further. In addition, atmosfair is planning a series of tests with the composting experts in Jalinga to investigate whether tea plants benefit as much as other plants from the nutrient richness of the soil through co-composted or manure-enriched biochar from the efficient wood gasification stoves. Due to its special structure, biochar has a particularly large surface area to which nutrients bind, protecting them from being washed out by the rain.

Our partner

Jalinga Tea Company India Pvt Ltd. is a 3rd generation family business and has been cultivating a 650 hectare tea garden purely organically since 2004, without the use of conventional fertilizers and pesticides. For its efforts on the topic of sustainability, the Jalinga Tea Co. was awarded the “Sustainability Award” by the North American Tea Conference in 2018.

Your contact at atmosfair

Patrizia Pschera
Project Developer
M.Sc. Physical Engineering
+49 (0) 30 120 84 80 - 68