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Biomass Charcoal Briquetting

Techniques for making biomass charcoal briquettes are described here.

The agricultural residues are produced abundantly after harvest of each crop in our villages. Most of these residues are burnt in the open field. However using Biomass Charcoal Briquetting technologies, these residues, can be used for generating an alternative fuel which is cost effective and environmentally friendly. It can also add income to the family.

What is briquetting

Briquetting is the process of converting low bulk density biomass into high density and energy concentrated fuel briquettes.


There are two different methods of charcoal making.

1. Direct method - The direct method is to heat and form an incomplete combustion of the organic matter that results in the formation of charcoal.

2. Indirect method - In the indirect method an external heat source is used to "burn" organic matter kept in a closed but vented airless chamber. The indirect method results in production of high quality charcoal with less smoke and pollutants.

MCRC’s method of charcoal briquetting


  • Locally available biomass (eg casuarina leaf litter, sugarcane trash, rice husk, coir pith, groundnut shells, etc)
  • Carbonizing chamber (furnace )
  • Binder (starch or cassava flour)
  • Mini Briquetting machine (10kg/hr)
  • Step-wise process of charcoal making

    i.  Collection of biomass - Collect the locally available biomass, sort them, chop the large-size raw materials into smaller pieces and dry at sunlight.

    ii.  Carbonization

  • Designing the Furnace
    • Outer drum : A 200 lits. metal oil drum with the top cut out and a 12" width x 10" height hole cut in the lower side
    • Two iron rids (8”) has to be fixed at the bottom of the metal drum running parallel from one side to the other side. This iron rods act as base to support the stainless steel inner drum.
    • Inner drum : A 100lits stainless steel drum with proper lids and six (3/8") holes at the bottom.
    • The inner drum is placed into the larger drum.
  • Carbonizing the biomass
    • The biomass is tightly packed into the inner drum and fired for 45minutes to 1hr (Depending upon the biomass) using biomass.
    • After firing, the carbonized biomass in the inner drum has to collected and weighed. In this method 30 % of carbonized char can be obtained.

    iii. Preparation of binder

    The binder material is used for strengthening the briquettes For every 100 kg of total weight of carbonized charcoal powder, prepare a binder mixture by adding 5 to 6 kg of starch or cassava flour to 60 - 100 litres of water (based on the weight of the raw materials) .

    iv. Mixing

    Mix such that every particle of carbonised charcoal material is coated with binder. It will enhance charcoal adhesion and produce identical briquettes.

    v. Briquetting

    The charcoal mixture is made into briquettes either manually or using machines. Pour the mixture directly into the briquetting mould / machine to form uniform-sized briquettes.

    vi. Drying and Packaging

    Collect the briquettes in a tray, dry them under the sunlight, pack them in plastic bags and seal General

    Characteristics of briquettes

  • Moisture : 7.1% - 7.8%
  • Volatile Matter : 13.0% - 13.5%
  • Fixed Carbon : 81.0% - 83.0%
  • Ash : 3.7% - 7.7%
  • Sulfur : 0.0%
  • Heating Value : 7,100 - 7,300 kcal/kg
  • Density : 970kg/m3
  • Advantages of the technology

    • Smokeless: The charcoal briquettes burn without any smoke during ignition and burning.
    • Low Ash content: Minimum residual ash is formed (less than 5% of the original weight of the charcoal).
    • Higher Fixed Carbon & calorific value: Normally the concentration of fixed carbon will be about 82%. The calorific value of charcoal briquettes is 7500 Kcal/KG.
    • Odourless: The biomass charcoal briquette contains minimum evaporative substances, thus eliminating the possibility of odour.
    • Longer burning hours: Two times longer burning hours compared to hardwood charcoal.
    • Sparkless: These charcoal briquettes will not produce sparks as compared to hardwood charcoal.
    • Less crack & better strength: Less crack & better strength make the charcoal burn for a long time.

    Source :
    Biomass charcoal briquetting - An alternative energy based income generation by rural people
    Shri AMM Murugappa Chettiar Research Centre
    , Taramani, Chennai - 600 113 Tamilnadu, India.
    Phone: 044-22430937, Fax 044-22434268, E.Mail : energy@mcrc.murugappa.org

    Fuaad Mansur Aug 31, 2018 09:00 PM

    Dear Sirs
    i am running a biomass briquette plant in UAE using using corn starch as a binder in a percentage of 7% of carbon powder weight by preparing a gelatin starch by mixing with water at around 80 degrees centigrade. Problem that I have is cracking of final briquettes during drying. Can you kindly advice for the reason of cracking in final product?
    You will be more kind if you may keep contact by my email: eng.*******@recyclingconsult.com
    Best regards.

    p k jha Jul 13, 2016 02:17 PM

    dear sir
    i am running a biomass briquetting plant at bareilly uttar pradesh. i am intrested to start the charcoal briquettes manufacturing commercially. i shall be very greatfull to you if you help me to do this.

    sakthi Aug 11, 2014 10:42 AM

    Dear sir,

    Thank you for details.

    We need to know what are the schemes available with us, while starting a new large manufacturing unit Under SSI.

    Like subsidy and offers provided by state and central gov. for educated youths.


    Waiting for your valuable reply.

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