Briquettes made on biomass are not a recent innovation. In 1865, the first briquetting machine for sale was created. It was employed to create fuel out of dried peat. Similar devices may now be used to create environmentally acceptable briquettes from hundreds of different organic sources. These days, recycled sawdust, bark, rice husks, straw, powdered nut shells, and even municipal trash are popular choices.
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Eco-friendly companies may find this to be a fantastic opportunity. The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in India has promoted the use of biomass briquettes as an environmentally friendly coal substitute due to growing concerns about air quality. Briquettes have been suggested as a better option than coal for tandoors, barbecues, open restaurants, dhabas, cremation, and religious purposes, among other uses.
We have collaborated with Artūrs Kasjanovs from Lekto Woodfuels to get further insight into contemporary wood fuel briquettes. Lekto, a UK-based company founded in 2016, was among the pioneers in the biomass briquette supply market to utilize contemporary e-commerce strategies for the then-stagnant wood fuel sector. This facilitated its rapid ascent to the top of the market.
First Advantage: Wood Briquettes Help Stop Deforestation
Experts at Lekto claim that wood briquettes are not only a fantastic substitute for coal but also far more environmentally beneficial than conventional firewood. Briquettes burn cleaner and more effectively than firewood because they are more energy dense and usually dry. However, that isn’t even the most crucial element.
Wood briquettes don’t require the cutting down of any trees, in contrast to the manufacture of firewood, which is connected to deforestation. This is so because firewood isn’t used to make wood briquettes. Rather, they are usually made from waste materials that are left behind after sawmilling.
Purchasing this waste material is far less expensive than using firewood to make sawdust or wood wool. This implies that companies have a strong financial incentive to recycle wood waste, which is a more environmentally beneficial option.
Second Advantage: Briquettes May Help Cut Down on Landfill Waste
Briquettes can be created from materials other than sawmill waste. A few substitute waste products that may be turned into fuel briquettes are as follows:
Waste of Tea. India produces a significant amount of waste tea since it is the second-largest producer of tea in the world. A large portion of this trash may be converted into biochar, which can then be compressed into briquettes with a 22–24 MJ/kg calorific value.
Sugarcane Waste. India’s sugar industry contributes significantly to the country’s economy, therefore sugarcane waste is plentiful and can be converted into low-cost, clean, environmentally friendly electricity.
Husks of rice. In many regions of the nation, burning rice husks poses a severe environmental risk. So much so that back in 2019, Punjabi officials approved the building of a facility to produce biofuel. Another method of recycling these rice husks is to make biomass briquettes.
Wheat Straw. Likewise with wheat straw. The excess straw from wheat production is frequently burnt, even though part of it may be used as animal bedding and feed. Straw can be used to produce premium briquettes that are around 33% more energy-dense than rice husk briquettes, therefore this is a lost opportunity.
waste from municipalities. India produces 62 million tons of municipal solid trash annually. A significant amount of this garbage may be turned into biomass briquettes rather than ending up in a landfill. Especially kitchen trash can be crushed up and compressed into briquettes, making it an ideal material for briquetting.
Third Advantage: The Production of Briquettes Brings Jobs to Rural Areas
An additional advantage is the generation of jobs within the sustainable energy industry. Small-scale producers who are situated near to the source of the waste material used in briquetting are usually the ones producing biomass briquettes. For those living in rural regions, this may assist generate much-needed year-round employment.
What number of jobs are we discussing here? a great range. Gathering and transporting the raw materials to the production site is the first step. The pressing rod that actually forms the briquette has to be maintained and run by someone. After that, the briquettes must be packed before being shipped to wholesale suppliers, which will eventually result in the creation of more jobs.
There may be many briquetting plants close to significant sources of raw waste material because each unit can only treat a certain quantity of raw materials. This increases the number of employment produced even further.
Advantage #4: Using Biomass Briquettes to Enhance Air Quality
Most people are aware that one of the main causes of air pollution is coal. However, fewer people are aware that a significant factor in India’s air quality issues is firewood that has not been properly dried.
Burning wood that has not been properly dried emits a wide range of dangerous substances into the atmosphere, many of which are poisonous and carcinogenic. When the moisture in the firewood logs reacts with the flames to produce smoke, several chemicals are produced.
Your biomass fuel will smoke less the less moisture it has. There will be less pollution produced as a result.
Burning freshly cut logs produces a lot of smoke since they are 50–70% moisture. Firewood that has been properly dried must have less than 20% moisture content. Both the environment’s health and your health are deemed to be safe at this level. Furthermore, briquettes are among the cleanest forms of biomass fuel since they often have less than 9% moisture in them.
Fifth Advantage: Biomass Briquettes Lessen Reliance on Fossil Fuels
In thermal power plants, biomass briquettes may be utilized to produce energy much like any other fuel that produces heat.
Biomass briquettes have the potential to lower the cost of electricity in rural regions when used in small power plants in place of coal and gas. It can also aid in lowering emissions connected to energy production and our reliance on fossil fuels.
Because solar and wind energy are currently too costly, using biomass briquettes to generate electricity might be the first step toward a more environmentally friendly and sustainable power source.