Alternate Energy, Biomass Briquette, Green Energy, Uncategorized

BIO-COAL – An Eco Friendly Solid Fuel

India is one of the nations who have accepted that they shall adopt National Policies and take corresponding measures on the mitigation of climate change by limiting its anthropogenic omission of green house gases & protecting and enhancing its green house sinks and reservoirs.

BIO-COAL densified solid fuel from renewal agricultural and forest residues are an ideal fuel in light of above as: –

  1. It replaces fossils fuels in Boilers and other thermal applications resulting in reduction in anthropogenic emission of green house gases.
  2. It replaces firewood in domestic and industrial applications, thus minimizing denudation of forest resulting in enhancement of green house sink and reservoirs.

In India, we produce more than 50,00,000 Tons of Bio-coal by 1000 plus operating plants annually. So far, biocoal has been supplied for Industries and Brick Kilns to replace liquid fossil fuels and coal.


Energy is the key factor in economic development and, our requirement of energy has been increasing rapidly. It is unlikely that we can meet this requirement of Coal/Crude Oil/Firewood if we have to stop the already deteriorating ecology and reduce the import of Crude Oil and Coal. The imports of Coal and Crude Oil have both resulted in depletion of our foreign exchange reserves while denudation of forest and green cover has resulted in precarious imbalances, threatening the very root of our existence.

Developments in recent years have further demonstrated our dependence on fossil fuels with their uncertainties of prices, availability, transportation and other difficulties.   Reserves of fossil fuels are also limited, which has resulted in the universal recognition of the need to tap energy from non-conventional energy sources.

Among the non-conventional form of energy, Bio energy offers vast potential under Indian conditions, due to the wide spectrum of biomass available in different agro-climatic regions of the country.  It is estimated that over 1000 million tons of agricultural and forest residues are generated annually.

At present, mostly the by-products of agro industries are being utilized as they do not require much processing. Remaining forest residues and agricultural wastes are not collected at all, or burnt to reduce fire hazards or used inefficiently.   Handling and transportation of these materials is difficult due to their low bulk density and irregular sizes. These wastes can be converted after processing into high-density fuel Briquettes/Pellets. These Briquettes/Pellets are called “BIO-COAL” which can be efficiently used to replace coal and firewood.



To arrest denudation of forests and shrinkage of green cover, it is necessary that substantial portion of projected firewood requirement be replaced with Bio-coal. This will enable us to stop cutting of premature trees.  Advantages of bio-coal as compared to firewood are as below:Briquette pellet

  1. Efficient in firing due to regular size as compared to wood.
  2. High Calorific value due to lower moisture of 5 – 10% as compared to 20 – 35 % in case of firewood
  3. Suitable for firing in the Improved Chulhas and Gasifier Stoves
  4. Wastage is low as no cutting and chopping is required



Bio-coal is ideal for far off located small consumers. Transportation of 1 MT of coal for 1000 kms by road consumes about 30 liters of diesel & where as producing 1 MT of bio-coal will consume 15 liters Diesel equivalent of power. In view of this factor alone bio-coal use should be encouraged. Advantages are as under:

  1. High Calorific Value ranging between 3500 – 5000 Kcal/kg depending upon materials
  2. Low ash content of 2 – 10 % as compared to 20 – 40 % in coal
  3. Non polluting as it does not emit any sulphur or phosphorous fumes and fly ash, eliminating the need for expensive pollution control equipment
  4. Efficient as the fuel can be ideally sized depending upon one’s requirement
  5. Ease of Handling & Storage due to its size and as it can be packed in bags thereby reducing labour costs in handling, sorting & breaking
  6. Clean to handle and keeps the surrounding environment clean
  7. Availability of the fuel is better as it is usually produced near the consumption centers, reducing cost of storage and space



Many times question is raised that since making briquettes is only physical transformation, why loose biomass should not be fired directly. As compared to loose biomass, Bio-coal offers following advantages:

  1. High combustion efficiency of 70 –75 % as compared to 35 – 40 % in fixed grate firing boiler.
  2. Flying of biomass along with flue gases is much low otherwise this usually results in more frequent shut down of boilers.
  3. Less pollution as SPM is much less in flue gases as compared to loose firing.
  4. Different Agro Residue requires different firing methods as biocoal of different material don’t require much change in firing practices.



Material specification Kcal/kg (approx.)


Bark wood 3900 – 4100
Bagasse 4200 – 4600
Bamboo dust 3900 – 4300
Cotton stalk 4000 – 4200
Wood chips 4200 – 4400
Maize stalks 3900 – 4100
Pine needles 4700 – 5000
Rice husk 3200 – 3400
Rice straw 3400 – 3600
Coconuts coir 4100 – 4300
Coffee husk 4100 – 4300
Groundnut shell 4100 – 4300
Jute stick 4500 – 4600
Mustard husk 4100 – 4300
Sarkanda grass 3800 – 4200
Coal grade C 3500 – 4500
Sugarcane Trash 3700 – 3900
Soya waste 4200 – 4400


Amrit Khater

Director, Hi Tech Agro Energy Pvt. Ltd.

(Hi Tech Agro Energy is one of the leading companies providing Integrated Turn Key Solutions for setting up of such plants.)


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