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Briquettes Manufacture Cost and Revenues Analysis

By Jack Huang    Dec 06, 2013

Briquettes and pucks

Biomass briquettes made by biomass briquetting machines are the substitute energy to fossil fuel, made from biomass or organic materials, used for heating, cooking and electricity generating. Comparing with the fossil fuel, the biomass briquette fuel is sustainable and reduces carbon dioxide emissions in the terms of carbon cycle. Even though there are different ways for briquettes production, the general idea is to compress the biomass materials such as agricultural residues, municipal wastes, and other high nitrogen content materials into solid and combustible briquettes by a briquetter in the shape of round, square, pentagon, hexagon, etc.

Pucks are short disks of densified material which is also a kind of biomass densified fuel  made by biomass briquette machines. Due to their size, pucks are generally handled in bulk as they are easier to transport and handle compared to regular briquettes. They can be shipped over long distances by truck, rail or sea. Pucks are characterized by the high density and the slow burning speed typical of briquettes, with the additional advantage that burning speed can be adjusted by controlling the puck’s length.

 

Pucks cost and revenue analysis

Pucks Cost and Revenue Analysis

Both briquettes and pucks can be manufactured by biomass briquette presses, using a wide variety of combustible biomass, with the only requirements being that the biomass must have moisture content between 8 and 12%, and he particle size must not exceed 16 mm for best results.

When used to generate thermal energy, briquettes and pucks offer the highest return on investment that any other densified fuel based on the same type of biomass.

Cost and revenues

Costs and revenues vary depending on the application, the cost of the raw material, the amount of preparation necessary, the market, the size and location of the operation and the number of days and hours worked in a year. The interesting part is the cost of running briquetting plant in which high efficiency mechanical briquetting presses are installed.

 Due to the efficiency and the relative simplicity of the briquetting equipment, the operating costs are very low. In particular, the cost of maintenance of the briquetting machines is limited to replacing inexpensive wear items and the cost of lubricants. The downtime required for maintenance is in the range of a few hours annually.

Assuming a briquette machine working 300 days/year, two shifts of eight hours per day, approximate costs could be as below:
 

  Small machine Medium machine Large machine
Output,tonne/hr 0.5 1.0 2.4
Energy and maintenance cost, euro/tonne 6-8 5-6 4
Total cost, euro/tone(1) 35-40 25-30 15-20

From these numbers in the table it is evident that small briquette machines are more suited for local markets with low cost of distribution of the densified fuel or to generate fuel for own use. Either space heating of process heat.

Medium briquettes making machines are ideal to manufacture briquettes for the consumer market, or for own internal use, while large briquetting machines and plants using several machines in parallel are ideal to manufacture pucks for energy use.

While potential investors still need to prepare detailed plans to determine whether making briquettes or pucks is an alternative way to produce densified fuel, this is certainly one very attractive option. Limited investments, large output capacities and low cost of operation are all factors worth further investigation.