Development and evaluation of biomass-based alternative charcoal
Environmental issues resulting from production and application of wood charcoal can be addressed by using biomass briquettes as alternative. This research was undertaken to develop and evaluate briquette from jatropha, groundnut and melon seed residues. Samples of the briquette were formed from mixtures of 0.32-0.39 kg carbonised residues, 0.30-0.40 kg starch and 0.02- 0.04 kg water. Physical and mechanical properties of the briquette samples including calorific value, bulk density and breaking force were determined using standard methods. Box-Bekhen Design Methodology was used to determine the optimum briquette blend. The results showed that the optimal briquette blend gave values of 4711.87 kcal.kg–1 calorific value, 282.59 kg m–3 bulk density and 1.36 kN breaking force, with a desirability index of 61.5%. A comparative analysis of the properties of the optimal briquette with that of a wood charcoal indicates no significant difference (P<0.05). This implies that the briquette can serve as an alternative energy source for cooking in rural communities.
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