WEALTH FROM AGRO WASTE
Posted June 23, 2008on:
Agricultural out put from India has seen phenomenal growth. Factors, which contributed to the development, were research in seeds, access to water and power, effective pesticides, communication and improvement in storage facility. With the growth in production of agricultural output agro-waste production is also increased. However, local thermal energy which are needs of rural sector were mainly managed through cow dung, wood, kerosene and lately LPG. Agro mass had few takers. In fact, storage of agro-mass posed problems such as security risk due to fire hazard, growth of pests, blockage of covered space etc. Simplest solution, which is even practiced today, is spread the waste and burn it. On the other hand, in urban sector industrial growth is pushing the energy needs to hilt. Queues at petrol pump and chimneys spewing, fossil fuel burnt CO2 are the concerns. Indian government had recognized and efforts to use biomass were started in 1980’s. Some of the difficulties, which were noted in use of biomass, were:
Low bulk density and tendency to scatter around.
Drying and briquetting
Fiscal and economical incentives were announced and that led to installation of various briquetting plants. Early birds however, did not have the beginner’s advantage. On the contrary arm twisting techniques of urban buyers, poor credit facility, enforced most of the entrepreneurs to shut the shop. Today however, due to movement called clean development mechanism, renewed vigour is felt in this area.
The briquetting process is pretty simple. The machinery involved is a simple reciprocating machine that compresses the bio-mass to one fifth volume. The mechanical pressure exerted on the biomass is equivalent to 1350 kg/cm2. Due to this high-pressure mechanical operation, there is heat generation, which evaporates the entrapped moisture and gives a polished finishing. The compacted biomass is extruded through a die, which also decided the diameter of briquette. Some raw materials are wet and do not form good solid compact briquette. There is a separate dryer provided in the system for making the material suitable for briquetting. Lubricating oil cooling system and electrical system are additionally required for briquetting plant. Power requirement for briquetting plant is proportional to tonnage. A broad requirement of 60 Units per ton of briquette can be considered as benchmark.
Though biomass is a very popularly talked about term, the real meaning of it is not clearly understood. Particularly, in the context of briquette manufacturing, all bio degradable agro wastes can be easily briquetted. The briquettable bio mass need not be always raw material in the same form. High moisture content bio mass needs be solar dried or dried by fuel firing before briquetting. Some of the raw materials are not easily briquetted. It is necessary to add agro or synthetic binders. Briquettes made out of such binders are not of desired quality, as the binders do not mix thoroughly and uniformly.
Manufacturing of briquette can be classified as high volume low cost business. Approximate breakup 45% raw material, 15% raw material transportation, 15% Power, 10% Investment (full production), 9% Other expenses and 6% Profit. Thus, it is essential to procure raw material in time. The rural sector demands immediate cash payments. Therefore, liquidity by prompt recovery of dues is necessary. Business is quite sensitive to cost of transport fuel. Convenient Transporters who are having two-way business offer low rates. Planning of loading unloading manpower, knowledge of status of inventory at user end can affect profitability substantially.