Every year, millions of tons of agricultural waste and forest residue are generated. These are either wasted or burned inefficiently in their loose form, causing air pollution. Handling and transportation of these materials are difficult due to their low bulk density. These wastes can provide a renewable source of energy by being converted into high-density fuel briquettes without the addition of any binder.

What is Biomass?

Biomass can also refer to our newest source of renewable energy and the best way to recycle biological matter. All plants, including those from the sea and other water bodies, are considered biomass. Though, the term refers to what they leave behind that we do not use for food or materials. For example, straw, corncobs, husks, animal waste, garbage and other things that we usually throw away and forget about.

These materials are not useless, as most people believe them to be. Although they are leftover pieces from industrial processes and natural waste, they can be used for many different purposes. And though most people wouldn’t think it, these are the keys to creating a better world and a better future.

Biomass is all of the matter that is organic, contains carbon and has gone through photosynthesis and other processes. Biomass is mostly made up of plants that make use of the light from the sun to create energy through photosynthesis. Many developing countries produce huge quantities of agro residues, but they are used inefficiently, causing extensive pollution to the environment.

The major residues are rice husk, coffee husk, coir pith, jute sticks, bagasse, groundnut shells, mustard stalks and cotton stalks. Sawdust, a milling residue, is also available in huge quantities. Apart from the problems of transportation, storage and handling, the direct burning of loose biomass in conventional grates is associated with very low thermal efficiency and widespread air pollution. The conversion efficiencies are as low as 40% with particulate emissions in the flue gases in excess of 3000 mg/Nm In addition, a large percentage of unburnt carbonaceous ash has to be disposed of.

In the case of rice husk, this amounts to more than 40% of the feed burned. Most of this biomass goes to waste by being dumped into landfills and even burned, which causes air pollution. Instead of making use of the precious land that we have and polluting the air, we can use biomass to create energy and fuel, as well as feed and other agricultural necessities.

Biomass is definitely a great way to help fix our planet. It is completely natural, and we can use it for fuel, biomass and many other things. There are many ways that we can get this biomass and use it to its full capacity. First of all, we should collect the residue that comes from agricultural and forestry processes. This can be used for manure, fuel, and even feedstock. Industrial waste, such as used fuel, can be reused to create more fuel that can be used in other fields. The great thing about biomass is that it can be grown for our needs. Growing plants to use as biomass will not only give us biomass to use, but it will also help clean out our land and air resources.

Concept and Technology

The process of “BRIQUETTING” is the physical transformation of loose raw materials into a compact form. The form change results in a much higher specific density of the material, which increases its combustion efficiency as compared to the loose material.

Briquetting (compacting) biomass for fuel is one of the simplest forms of using biomass. The residue left from crops and harvesting can be used as fuel biomass. This way, none of it goes to waste.

Briquetting of the agro waste and husk could mitigate these pollution problems while at the same time making use of this important industrial/domestic energy resource. Moreover, loose production waste, such as dust or shavings, represents a considerable cost factor. By compressing this waste material into briquettes, we can decrease costs while reducing the mess and increasing safety.

By briquetting waste materials, volumes can be reduced by up to 90%. This creates a significant saving on transportation/handling/storage costs for later use as a heat source or simply for more convenient disposal. An additional advantage comes from briquetting flammable waste materials, such as fine dust particles that are often created from wood processing operations. Briquetting eliminates the dust from the air and the mess created when removing dust collection bags, further reducing the risk of sparks or fire.

In addition to this commercial aspect, the importance of this technology lies in conserving wood, a commodity extensively used in developing countries and leading to the widespread destruction of forests. The following agricultural and forest wastes and residues can easily be converted into fuel briquettes ie. “BIO COAL or WHITE COAL”.


Biomass densification, also known as briquetting of sawdust and other agro residues, has been practised for many years in several countries. In Japan sawdust briquettes, are known as ‘Ogalite‘, ‘Prest-o-log‘ technology of the United States, the ‘Glomera‘ method in Switzerland and the ‘Compress‘ method in West Germany.

At present high pressure technologies: ram or piston press is used for briquetting. While the briquettes produced by a piston press are completely solid. Reciprocating ram/piston press technology

Worldwide, ram or piston press technologies are being used for the briquetting of sawdust and locally available agro-residues. Although the importance of biomass briquettes as a substitute fuel for wood, coal and lignite is well recognized.

Product Specification

The fuel briquette is black/brown in colour. When agro-waste of cellular nature is briquettes, it produces low-cost, high-calorific value fuel which can form a good substitute for wood and coal. This implies the conversion of waste into a useful energy source. The end product has the following typical approximate analysis:

Benefits of Biomass Briquettes

Biomass briquettes offer many benefits over traditional fuels like coal, fuel oil, natural gas and propane as well as over the pre-compacted raw materials: wood chips, paper, greenwood, nut shells, and various husks, fines and fibres. You can’t afford NOT to consider a briquetting system for your operation!

  1. Cost

The purchase price of biomass briquettes is less than that of natural gas, propane and fuel oil. Coal is a bit lower in price, but ultimately it is not cheaper because of the many benefits of biomass briquettes, as discussed below.

  1. Storage and Handling

Compacting biomass waste into briquettes reduces the volume by 10 times, making it much easier to store and transport than loose biomass waste. Other fuel types tend to be difficult to handle and are hazardous. Briquettes can be produced in a variety of sizes and have a long shelf-life.

  1. Pollution

Briquettes are immeasurably cleaner than the other fuel alternatives – especially coal! Therefore, government incentives that support briquetting systems and production along with disincentives for coal use make briquetting solutions extremely attractive. Plus, they don’t create dust.

  1. Efficiency

Briquettes burn in a controlled manner, slowly and efficiently. They burn well in boilers and burners. More and more, utility companies are using biomass briquettes to supplement or replace coal as a solid fuel source.

Uses & Applications of Biomass Briquettes “Bio-Coal & White Coal”

Briquetted fuel can be used by the industrial, commercial and household sectors. It is ideally suited for use in the following areas:

Calorific Values of Raw Material

Comparison of Biomass Briquettes with other Fossil Fuels

Briquettes is an Ideal Fuel

  • Eco friendly and Renewable Energy fuel.
  • Economical and cheaper than other solid fuels i.e. Coal and Wood.
  • Pollution free because there is no sulfur or any hazardous material.
  • Lower than content 2 to 5%. There is no fly ash when burn.
  • Consistent high burning efficiency due to the low moisture.
  • Contain high density and higher Fix Carbon value.
  • Easy for transportation, feeding and combustion due to its unique shape.
  • Combustion is more uniform compared to other coal.
  • Demandable market due to high rise in fossil fuels price.

End users of Briquettes

  • Gasifies System Application
  • Ceramic Industries
  • Solvent Extraction Plant
  • Chemical Industries
  • Dying Units
  • Milk Plants
  • Food Processing Units
  • Vegetable Plant
  • Textile Units
  • Spinning Mill
  • Lamination Industries
  • Leather Industries
  • Rubber Industries
  • Biomass Based Power Plant
  • Brick Making Units
  • Other industrial thermal Applications

Moisture Content in Different Raw Material

  • Raw Material Moisture Content
  • Cotton Stalk 10 – 20%
  • Wood Chips 10 – 60%
  • Sawdust 15 – 60%
  • Switchgrass 30 – 70%
  • Sweet Sorghum 20 – 70%
  • Maize Silage 65 – 75%
  • Bagasse 40 – 60%
  • Straw 20 – 30%

Type of Unit Working Season


Hasmukh Patel

(Global Agrotech Engineering)

  • Er R.Gopalakrishna FIE
    September 19, 2023 at 7:52 am

    Very useful points and distas USEteful u to operators and site engineers

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