Development and performance evaluation of an electrically operated biomass briquetting machine
Biomass are available in large quantities in Nigeria and other developing countries as sawdust, ricehusks, wood-shavings, coconut fibers, palm fruit fibers and other agricultural waste. The utilization of this biomass in their pulverized form as fuel is difficult because of their low bulk density, low thermal efficiency and excessive amount of smoke generated when burnt. One of the ways of improving the thermal values of pulverized biomass is to compress it into briquettes. Such briquettes will provide a viable alternative fuel source for cooking, heating, drying of grains, e.t.c. and hence reduce the dependence on wood, kerosene and other petroleum products. An electrically operated biomass briquetting machine was developed and its performance evaluated. The machine consisted of a hydraulic pump, a hydraulic jack, nine piston rams attached to a movable lower compression plate, nine fixed moulds, an upper compression plate and two helical springs. When tested, the machine performed satisfactorily. The machine has the capacity for producing 198 briquettes/hr and an efficiency of 86.81%. The machine is easy to use as the user does not need any special training and skill. Furthermore, it can be maintained locally.
Keywords: Biomass, briquettes, alternative fuel, machine, machine