Hafiz M. Safdar†, Abdul Nasir†, Haroon Rashid†, Shanawar Hamid‡, Mohsin Noor† & M. Azhar Ali†

†Department of Structures and Environmental Engineering, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, 38000, Pakistan

‡Department of Agricultural Engineering, Khwaja Fareed University of Engineering and Information Technology, Rahim Yar Khan, 64200, Pakistan

*Corresponding Author Email: Muhammad.safdar@uaf.edu.pk

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Pakistan produces massive amount of crop residue with high bulk volume and low density. This low density, high volume agro residue is difficult to handle, transport, and store. Only a little amount of energy is recovered due to inefficient techniques while remaining is wasted. Farmers often use on-site disposal via burning to get rid of this stuff which results in release of enormous amount of harmful gases to the environment due to incomplete combustion. There is need to have modern technologies to convert loose biomass residue into dense, well-shaped product like briquettes that would be easy to burn and sustainable to the environment. Moreover, these energy blocks in the form of briquettes have the opportunity to utilize in energy extraction systems as an alternative of wood and expensive fossil fuels (crude oil, natural gas and coal). Specially, deployment in electricity power generation plants can provide huge relieve from the energy shortage in the country. The present study shows the development, optimization and performance evaluation of intermediate pressure briquettes forming machine, working on mechanical piston press technology with production capacity ≈300 kg/m3 and produces 85 mm diameter briquettes. To develop this, we utilized locally available material, technology and indigenously skilled man power to reduce the cost of machine. Concavity of machine’s die was optimized at 200 tapered. Economical and good quality briquettes were produced with mixture of wheat straw, slurry and starch in 12:3:1 on weight basis, respectively. Payback period and benefit to cost ratio (BCR) of briquettes formation plant were calculated as eight months and 1.25 respectively.