Biomass Briquetting Equipment
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Briquetting technology in India

There is a huge current and growing demand to fond alternative clean energy sources that meet new legislation requirements to reduce emissions from fossil fuels. Agro Waste as sources of energy in India shows great potential. The process of briquetting is the physical transformation of loose raw material mostly made of agro waste like rice husks, bagasse, ground nut shells and other organic material like municipal solid waste into high density fuel briquettes through a compacting process. The resultant form change increased the calorific value of the product as compared to loose material. I would like to talk about the issues connected with the production and use of briquettes and highlights the huge untapped potential of its possible wide spread use.
 
Energy is the key factor in economic development of a country. Global energy is rising very rapidly, and as emerging markets continues to grow, the world will continue to see energy demand skyrocket. Both the investors and governments have been exploring solutions, such as efficiency measures and renewable energy generation as a way to satiate that exploding demand.

Households in rural India are highly dependent on firewood as their main source of energy, partly because non-biofuels tend to be expensive, and access to affordable fuel alternatives to coal, gas, kerosene and electricity for cooking and heating in limited.
Production and consumption of almost any type of energy have environmental impacts. Harvesting of fuel wood, in particular, contributes to deforestation, soil erosion, and desertification. Use of fuel wood as an energy source can also contribute to accumulation of CO2, the main greenhouse gas, both because burning fuel wood produces CO2, and because deforestation destroys an important CO2 sink.

ZBJ-ZT Briquette Machine

Biomass energy currently plays a major role in meeting the present energy needs of developing countries.Generally, biomass can be defined as renewable organic materials that contain energy in a chemical form that can be converted to fuel. Biomass includes all kinds of vegetative and organic waste. Good examples of biomass are
1. agriculture waste left behind in fields after harvesting
2. plant material left in the forest after collection of timber
3. bagasse in the sugar industry
4. rice husk in rice mills
5. sawdust in timber mills
6. groundnut shells
7. municipal solid waste
8. energy crops that are separately cultivated for their fuel content.
Biomass energy already provides the main source of energy for hearing and cooking for many millions of people in rural communities. Where adequate sources of biomass raw materials are available—for example from crop or forest residues—then these can also be used to generate electricity.
 
The briquetting system
Due to their heterogeneous nature, biomass materials process inherently low bulk densities, and uneven and troublesome characteristics thus, it is difficult to efficiently handle large quantities of most feed stocks. The process of compaction of residues into a product of higher density than the original raw material is known as densification or briquetting. By briquetting, voluminous biomasses are compacted and given a definite shape and size. Densification has aroused a great deal of interest in developing countries all over the world latterly as a technique for upgrading of residues as energy sources. Converting residues into a densified form has the following advantages:
1.  the process increase the net calorific value per unit volume
2.  densified product is easy to transport and store
3.  the process helps to solve the problem of residue disposal
4.  the fuel produced is uniform in size and quality
 
A brief history of briquetting in India
Since the beginning of the 1980s there have been three different types of briquetting technologies introduced into India—PARU, screw extruder and piston press.

Raw material
Briquettes can be made from anything that burns without producing toxic ash or fumes. The raw material requires sufficient storage space thereby increasing the capital cost of briquetting projects. Moisture content is the most important parameter of the raw material, while equally importantly are the particle size and contamination by extraneous material like stones. The choice of raw material has significant influence on the viability of the plant.

Marketing
The main problem associated with marketing is the seasonal requirements of briquette by the end users like brick kiln and tea industries. The local market for biomass briquettes includes industrial users most of which are processing plants that have boiler. Briquettes sold in supermarkets are usually used for household purpose like barbecuing and roasting. Apparently, there is a low demand for the product due to
1.  low level of awareness about the product and
2. lower price and abundant supply of fuel wood and charcoal. 

Problems
In India, most of the units are family concerns. Lack of professional management of the plant has been identified as a major drawback impending the commercial success of this technology. The two most common found in India at present are the piston press and the screw press. The piston press produces briquettes that are prone to breaking. The screw press produces briquettes that are stronger in terms of mechanical strength and resistance to moisture absorption, which are important parameters for transport, handling and storage. Screw press briquettes have better combustion characteristics than the piston press and they can be converted into charcoal giving them a wider market potential.

Conclusion
The technique for Briquetting is not complex in the sense that it does not demand microelectronics or highly sophisticated operating conditions or techniques. It uses local materials as process inputs, and the equipment can be made in standard engineering workshops. Briquetting can therefore be considered as a particularly appropriate technology for indigenous production and use in rural areas of a developing country such as India.

Another advantage of biomass includes the fact that most biomass materials have acted as a carbon sink while growing. When trees and plants grow, they absorb carbon from the atmosphere and are a natural carbon sink as long as they are alive and growing. Biomass energy is also much cleaner to use, because greenhouse gases are reduced significantly. This means that bio energy use may help slow down global warming, and minimize air pollution. Biomass alternative energy may be one of the most commonly used energy sources of the future. This is because the world will always have municipal waste and waste food, and unless these biomass sources are used for energy they will end up taking space in a landfill somewhere and causing an increase in greenhouse gases and air pollution.


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