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Biomass Briquettes: A Sustainable Renewable Energy Source


Biomass Briquettes
Biomass Briquettes

Definition of Biomass Briquettes

Biomass briquettes are compacted blocks or logs of biomass materials that have been processed and compressed under high pressure to form a solid fuel source. Biomass briquettes are a type of renewable energy source and a form of solid biofuel. They are made from compressed organic materials, typically agricultural residues or waste biomass, such as sawdust, wood chips, rice husks, peanut shells, and other similar materials that would otherwise be discarded or left to decompose. The process of creating biomass briquettes involves breaking down the raw biomass material, compressing it under high pressure, and forming it into a dense and uniform shape without using any binding agents or chemicals. The resulting briquettes are dense, uniform in shape, and have a higher energy content compared to the original raw biomass.


How the Biomass Briquettes are made?

Process of Biomass Briquettes (Kpalo et. al. 2020)
Process of Biomass Briquettes (Kpalo et. al. 2020)

1. Collection of Raw Materials

Agricultural residues like crop stalks, husks, and shells, as well as wood waste like sawdust and wood shavings, are collected as the primary raw materials.

2. Preparation

The collected biomass materials are dried to reduce their moisture content. Excess moisture can prevent effective compression and lead to poor-quality briquettes.

3. Size Reduction

The dried materials are then chopped, shredded, or ground to reduce their particle size. This helps in achieving uniformity and consistency in the final briquettes.

4. Mixing (Optional)

Sometimes, different biomass materials are mixed together to create a blend that offers desirable burning characteristics and energy content.

5. Compression

The prepared biomass material is fed into a briquette machine, which applies high pressure to compress the material into compact briquettes. No binding agents or chemicals are usually added, as the natural lignin in the biomass helps hold the briquettes together.

6. Cooling and Packing

The freshly compressed briquettes might be cooled to room temperature and then packaged for storage or distribution.


Applications of Biomass Briquettes

Applications of Biomass Briquettes
Applications of Biomass Briquettes

1. Heating

Biomass briquettes are often used as a source of heat for residential, commercial, and industrial spaces. They can be burned in stoves, boilers, and furnaces to generate warmth, making them an effective alternative to traditional fossil fuels.

2. Cooking

In areas where traditional cooking fuels like firewood or charcoal are commonly used, biomass briquettes provide a cleaner and more sustainable option. They can be used in specially designed cookstoves for preparing meals and reducing indoor air pollution.

3. Industrial Processes

Industries that require heat for various processes, such as drying, curing, or steam generation, can use biomass briquettes as a cost-effective and environmentally friendly energy source.

4. Power Generation

Biomass briquettes can be used to produce electricity through combustion or gasification processes. This makes them suitable for small-scale power generation projects in off-grid or rural areas.


Significance of Biomass Briquettes

1. Environmental Benefits

Biomass briquettes are considered environmentally friendly because they make use of waste materials that would otherwise be disposed of in landfills or burned openly, contributing to pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. By converting these waste materials into briquettes, the carbon footprint and waste generation can be reduced.

2. Renewable Energy Source

Biomass briquettes serve as a renewable source of energy, as the raw materials are replenished through natural processes like agricultural activities.

3. Higher Energy Density

Due to the compression process, biomass briquettes have a higher energy density compared to the loose biomass materials they are made from. This means that they can produce more heat when burned, making them suitable for heating and cooking applications.

4. Reduced Emissions

Burning biomass briquettes typically results in lower emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases compared to burning loose biomass materials or traditional fossil fuels ad thus helping in mitigating climate change.

Materials of Biomass Briquettes
Materials of Biomass Briquettes


It's important to note that the choice of materials depends on various factors, including their availability, local conditions, and the specific application of biomass briquettes. The materials need to have the right moisture content and size distribution to ensure successful briquette production. Additionally, the quality of the briquettes can be influenced by factors like the natural lignin content of the materials and the pressure applied during the briquetting process.


1. Sawdust :Sawdust is a byproduct of wood processing.

2. Wood Chips & Shavings : Byproducts of wood processing.

3. Crop Residues : Rice husks, wheat straw, corn stalks, sugarcane bagasse, etc.

4. Forest Residues : Leaves, branches, bark & other residues from forestry operations.

5. Coffee Husks : Husks left over from coffee bean processing.

6. Nut Shells : Shells from nuts like coconut, peanut, and almonds.

7. Straw : Straw from cereal crops like wheat, barley, and oats.

8. Grass Clippings : Lawn and grass clippings.

9. Paper and Cardboard : Waste paper, cardboard, and paper pulp.

10. Biodegradable Waste

11. Animal Manure


References

  1. Kpalo, Sunday & Zainuddin, Mohamad & Manaf, Latifah & Roslan, Ahmad. (2020). A Review of Technical and Economic Aspects of Biomass Briquetting. Sustainability. 12. 4609. 10.3390/su12114609.


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