Creating dense, compacted briquettes out of loose biomass wastes like industrial, forestry, or agricultural waste is known as briquetting. Typically, a briquetting machine is used for this, which applies pressure to the material and binds it together to form a solid briquette. Briquettes can be employed for various purposes, such as power generation and manufacturing. They can also be used as fuel for cooking or heating.
Briquetting is a process of converting waste materials into fuels that are usually packaged in a compact shape for easy transportation. Briquetting offers various advantages, including reducing waste volume, boosting combustion efficiency, increasing calorific value, and lowering storage and shipping costs.
Briquetting can be done using various materials, including agricultural waste, forestry waste, coal dust, metal scraps, etc. Briquetting can also be done with or without binders, depending on the material and desired briquette qualities.
This blog will discuss briquettes' processes, types, and applications in detail.
Did you know? The first patent for the briquetting machine was filed in the United States in 1865 by William E. Otis, who envisioned using his invention to compress sawdust and other waste materials into briquettes for use as fuel.
Briquetting is a simple, cost-effective way to recycle waste to produce renewable energy. Briquettes can be used for cooking, heating, power generation, or industrial applications.
Briquetting can also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation by replacing fossil fuels and wood with biomass.
The briquette process consists of the following steps:
Step-1: Gathering Biomass Waste Material
The first step is to collect waste materials that can be briquetted. These include rice straws, wheat straws, cotton stalks, corn stalks, sugar cane waste or baggage, fruit branches, etc. These materials should be dry and contaminants-free.
Waste material is crushed into small pieces using a hammer mill or crusher. The size of the pieces should be uniform and suitable for compression. The crushing process also reduces the material's moisture content and makes it more compact.
Step-3: Compressing to Form a Briquette
This step involves applying high pressure and temperature to the crushed material to form a compact and dense briquette. Compressing can be done using a piston press, a screw press, or a roller press.
The briquette should have a consistent density and shape for better handling and storage. Binders such as clay, starch, or molasses are sometimes added to improve the briquette's durability and strength.
Step-4: Drying the Briquette
This step involves removing excess moisture from the briquette to increase its calorific value and shelf life. The drying can be done using sun, artificial, or kiln drying.
The dried briquettes should have a moisture content of less than 10%.
Advantages of Briquetting Over Direct Burning
Some of the advantages of briquetting over direct burning are:
Briquettes are cheaper than other energy sources, like fuel oil, propane and natural gas. They also reduce the transportation and storage costs of biomass waste material.
Briquettes produce less smoke, soot, carbon deposits and greenhouse gases than directly burning biomass waste material. They also prevent deforestation and soil erosion by utilising agricultural residues.
3. Easy to Make, Use and Store
Briquette machines can produce briquettes from a variety of flammable materials. They are easy to use and store due to their small shape and size.
They also have a longer shelf life than biomass waste.
Briquettes burn slowly and steadily in a controlled manner. They have a low moisture content and high calorific value, making them suitable for various applications.
They also have a consistent density and shape that improves combustion efficiency.
Types of Briquetting Processes
Here are the various briquetting processes:
1. Rice Straw Briquetting
Rice straw is a rice by-product usually burned or dumped after harvesting. Rice straw briquettes can be used for cooking and heating in households and industries.
The briquette process involves shredding, drying, and compressing straw into cylindrical blocks using a screw or piston press. The briquettes have a high heating value, low ash content, and low moisture content.
2. Wheat Straw Briquetting
Wheat straw is another agricultural waste that can be converted into briquettes for fuel. The briquetting process of wheat straw is similar to that of rice straw.
However, wheat straw may require more binder to increase its durability and strength.
3. Cotton Stalks Briquetting
Cotton stalks are the residues left after harvesting cotton. They are usually burned or left to decay in the fields, causing air pollution and soil degradation.
Briquetting cotton stalks can help utilise this waste material and produce clean and efficient fuel
4. Corn Stalks Briquetting
Corn stalks are the stems of corn plants left after harvesting grains. They are usually used as animal feed or fertiliser but can be briquetted for fuel.
5. Sugarcane Waste Briquetting
Sugar cane waste or bagasse is the fibrous residue left after extracting juice from sugar cane. It is usually burned or used as a raw material for paper making, but it can also be briquetted into fuel.
Applications of Briquetting
Briquetting has many applications in different sectors, such as:
Many households use briquettes for cooking, space, and water heating. Briquettes are cheaper, cleaner, and more convenient than traditional fuels.
They also produce less smoke and ash, which reduces indoor air pollution and health problems.
2. Ceramic Production
Ceramic industries use briquettes for tile making, brick kilns, and pot firing. Briquettes provide a uniform, consistent heat source that improves ceramic quality and production.
Farmers and agro-industries use briquettes for crop and animal feed drying. Briquettes are made from agricultural waste, such as rice husks, straws, bagasse, etc., which are abundant and renewable.
4. Iron and Steel Industry
The iron and steel industry uses briquettes to agglomerate iron ore fines and steel mill wastes. Briquettes enhance the metallurgical properties and performance of iron ore and steel products.
5. Power Generation
The power generation sector uses briquettes for the production of electricity from biomass. Briquettes are a viable heat and power generation alternative to coal and other fossil fuels.
They have a high calorific value, little moisture, and little ash. They also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel dependence.
Various Challenges in Briquetting
Briquetting is a promising technology for waste management and renewable energy production, but it also faces some challenges in different aspects, such as:
1. Technical Challenges
Briquetting requires proper equipment and an understanding of the quality and performance of the briquettes. Some technical challenges include selecting suitable raw materials, the feedstock's moisture content and particle size, the choice of binder and additives, the design and operation of the briquetting machine, the drying and storage of the briquettes, etc.
These factors affect the briquettes' durability, strength, density, heating value, combustion efficiency, and environmental impact.
2. Social Challenges
Briquetting faces social challenges regarding awareness, acceptance, and adoption by the general public. Awareness of briquetting as a viable alternative to traditional fuels is still low among people.
However, briquetting may also involve social issues, such as land tenure rights, health and safety risks, etc.
3. Logistical Challenges
Briquetting involves various logistical challenges regarding the collection, transportation, storage, and distribution of biomass feedstock and briquettes. These challenges affect quality briquette availability.
Briquetting offers several advantages, including reducing waste volume and weight, boosting calorific value, enhancing combustion efficiency, and protecting the environment from pollution and deforestation. Briquetting uses various biomass materials such as rice husks, sawdust, and cotton stalks.
These sources have high calorific value ensuring a high heat at completely low biomass. Briquettes are used in various stoves, boilers, furnaces, and other heating applications instead of wood, coal, or charcoal.
Briquetting is a great method for reusing garbage, but it is also a source of revenue for farmers and businesses that can sell briquettes in the market. Briquetting is a promising technology that can help rural communities develop sustainably and minimise their reliance on fossil fuels.
This produces a lot of harmful pollution in the air.
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