Water hyacinth, sp. eichhornia crassipes, in an invasive aquatic plant prevalent in tropical climatic region mainly in South East Asia, South Asia and the Amazon basin. The plant is fast growing and spread rapidly and blocks waterways causing major floods usually in rural communities where there is no coordinated effort of removal. Many rural communities in South East Asia and South Asia rely on traditional biomass for domestic cooking and heating in the form of harvested firewood from nearby forests. Traditional firewood combustion produces harmful smoke especially when used in confined spaces and subsequently lead to respiratory diseases. Access to cleaner fuel such as liquified petroleum gas (LPG) or compressed natural gas (CNG) is scarce, more so in island nations such as Indonesia and the Philippines. Water hyacinth was harvested and initially briquetted as an alternative to firewood as a social enterprise project for rural community in the Philippines. It was found to produce significantly less smoke compared to local forest wood. However, the community required a fuel that is smokeless as a viable alternative. A clean carborniser was then developed with volatile gases recirculation making it a cleaner process compared to traditional charcoal kiln. Eco-charcoal was produced from the water hyacinth plant and this resulted in a market accepted fuel for the rural community here. The ecocharcoal performed as good as local wood charcoal while being visibly smokeless during combustion. The social enterprise has experienced growth and employs local community to ensure social sustainability while serving the local market.

Keywords: social enterprise, water hyacinth, biochar, clean carbonisation, rural energy