Biomass briquettes – an alternative to fossil fuels

Biomass briquettes are a renewable source of energy and avoids adding fossil carbon to the atmosphere thereby making it eligible to earn Carbon Credits for its usage. A large number of companies are switching from furnace oil to biomass briquettes that are made from agricultural waste to save costs on boiler fuels. Plant biomass can be converted into charcoal briquettes by igniting the biomass under low oxygen conditions. These briquettes have higher calorific value and burning capacity than using plant biomass directly. APSCC team attended a workshop on an improved Biomass charcoal briquetting technology developed by MCRC, Chennai. The center carries out studies for the improvement and standardization of the technology and as a part of it different agricultural wastes such as Casuarina leaf litter, Prosaphis twigs, Ipomoea stem, Lantana camara stem, Eucalyptus leaves and coconut leaves were used as biomass source. Carbonization was carried out at different temperatures from 100°C to 600°C for optimizing the char yield and different cost effective binders such as starch, rice powder, clay etc. were also tried. The fuel briquettes produced through briquetting machines (calorific values – max.6500 kcal/kg and min.4500 kcal/kg) were tested at local teashops, laundry and small hotels in Chennai for alternative fuel. The biomass charcoal briquetting technology has been standardized at MCRC and disseminated to various beneficiaries such as farmers, individuals, unemployed people, NGOs and college students.

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