Firewood and firewood charcoal account for a significant proportion of the fuel used by both households and businesses in many developing contexts – for example in Burkina Faso it is around 80%. At the same time these same contexts can be experiencing high levels of deforestation. This can also mean that people, typically women, spend increasing amounts of their day collecting firewood as sources get more and more scarce and difficult to find.
Briquetting allows waste biomass material to be used as a fuel that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to combust. Briquettes can be made from a variety of dry biomass sources, such as sawdust, straw and husk. Different techniques are available and need to be carefully considered to arrive at a locally appropriate, economic and even profitable solution – e.g. choices have to be made with regard to the most suitable briquette manufacturing equipment and binding agents (if required), as well as with regard to factors such as the appearance and sizing of briquettes that are critical to gaining consumer acceptance.
Briquetting can be used as a way to help tackle deforestation by displacing the use of firewood or firewood charcoal as a fuel, and briquettes can be consumed or sold to generate an income.
Briquetting using shea and cashew waste streams
Fullwell Transform has partnered with Projets Solidaires to make briquettes out of de-oiled shea cake and using Cashew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL) as a binding agent.
De-oiled shea kernel cake burns well, but due to its loose form it is difficult to be used in domestic contexts. So even if families have easy access to this resource, it is not utilised so firewood and firewood charcoal are still burnt in place of such potential fuel.
Briquetting the de-oiled cake allows for the densification of this biomass, thus producing thick, cylindrical-shape pieces burning at an acceptable rate for domestic uses.