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Here’s An Improved Kawayan Charcoal Briquette (Part 1)

The dependable old kawayan (bamboo) charcoal briquette is now made better and is making waves in Ilocos, thanks to the continuous development efforts of Dr Stanley Malab and his colleagues from the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) in Batac, Ilocos Norte.

Dr. Malab, the main researcher on the development of kawayan charcoal briquettes, is the director of Ilocos Agriculture Resources Research and Development Consortium (ILARRDEC) and also the vice president for research, extension and agribusiness affairs of MMSU.

In a forum organized by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development recently, Dr. Malab introduced the BPW (Biomass Processing Wastes) briquette, which is a combination of bamboo wastes, carbonized rice hull (CRH), and chichacorn effluent.

He said that BPW briquette is actually the old kawayan charcoal briquette only that they have added carbonized rice hull in the biomass to make it more stable and provide longer burning capacity

Dr. Malab explained that they try to address the issue on waste disposal of bamboo wastes, particularly during harvesting and processing when there are a lot of wastes generated. More importantly, he said that producing bamboo briquettes could help reduce pressure on wood resource.

In a bamboo plantation that was not properly managed, for instance, Dr. Malab said that up to 50% of the bamboo clumps produced could not pass furniture standards or would not be suited for construction purposes due to its poor quality. Thus, they utilized dead poles and branches from the clumps as well as the hard and crooked basal parts that are often discarded during harvesting. Added to these are the bamboo trimmings and shavings from furniture makers that add to the volume of wastes thrown away. In fact, 20%-40% is wasted when bamboo is processed into furniture and industrial products.

Rice hull, on the other hand, are usually dumped and burned along roadsides. Considering these practices, Dr. Malab and his research team thought of using it for charcoal briquetting instead.

Chichacorn is the name of a popular corn snack originally produced in Ilo-quettes involves the following simple cos. It is made by boiling glutinous procedures, as presented by Dr. Malab. white corn kernels and then deep-fried to make it crunchy.

During processing, effluent or wastewater can be collected from the first and second boiling which contains 4.48% and 3.08% total soluble solids mostly starch, respectively. Hence, the effluent can make a cheap but excellent binder for briquetting purposes.

Dr. Malab said that a chichacorn processor normally generates more or less a million liters of effluent per year, and if not properly disposed, these effluents can cause problem because it becomes putrid.

The production process for BPW briquettes involves the following simple procedure, as presented by Dr. Malab.

Collect first bamboo wastes, rice hull, and chichacorn processing effluent. Carbonize the bamboo wastes and rice hull using drum’method, charcoal kiln or rice hull carbonizer; cool off charred materials in closed metal containers. Shred or pulverize the charcoal to attain uniform-sized particles and facilitate uniform mixing with the binder. Mix 1 kilogram (kg) bamboo charcoal, 1 kg CRH, and 2 liter effluent. If chIchacorn effluent is not available, Dr. Malab recommends cassava starch as a substitute.

The mixture is then molded immediately into briquettes using the more efficient MMSU BPW Briquette Machine. It can produce 45 kg briquettes per hour or 1 briquette per 3-4 seconds. The machine has an input power of 2 hp-3 hp (single phase).

The briquettes are compacted and sundried for 1-2 days or until it reaches equilibrium moisture content. At a size of 3.5 cm x 4.7 cm, a kilo is composed of 40 pieces. Dr. Malab said that they have come up with BPW briquettes at 1-kg pack sold at P10.

By : Melpha Abello