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Effectiveness of DENR Charcoal Briquette in Sequestrating Carbon

Having 30% power generation powered by renewable energy sector,

Philippines could be considered a world leader in renewable energy, and
considering, biomass and biofuels had played an important role in the supply of
renewable energy source. The biomass feedstocks use has the potential to be CO 2
neutral compared to fossil fuels.
Waste both from forest and agricultural fields like sugar bagasse, coconut
husk and shell, corn cobs and stalks, rice hull and straw, sawdust, and logging
waste may seem to have no remarkable use and may end up thrown or burn to
ashes. The DENR had proposed use for this abandoned biomass. Together with the
FPRDI, ERDB, branch of DENR, had bring about a project that will soon provide the
need for alternative energy sources, particularly biomass and biofuels. Through the
use of abandoned biomass and the advanced technology provided by DOST and
DOE, the DENR-ERDB was able to generate a useful and profitable product dubbed
as the charcoal briquette.
Charcoal is a traditional type of fuel adopted since pre-historic times. It is
preferred in smelting copper long about 6000 years ago. In eighteenth century, due
to rampant cutting of trees resulting to deforestation, many substituted traditional
charcoal with coke, a coal-based form of charcoal as a fuel. But then, in 1897 in
Pennsylvania, Ellsworth B. A. Zwoyer invented and patented a new recreational type
of charcoal, the charcoal briquette which was produced by the Zwoyer Fuel
Company. Later Henry Ford popularized the process of charcoal briquetting by
using distinct raw materials such as wood and sawdust byproducts from automobile
fabrication as a feedstock. And soon, Ford Charcoal went on to become the
Kingsford Company. By 1950s, the Philippines come to produce different types of
charcoal briquettes. The FPRDI was able to produce charcoal briquette from residual
saw dusts in the late 1980s, and in year 1999, a joint project of DENR-ERDB and
FPRDI created the green charcoal briquettes so called the DENR Charcoal Briquette
initiated by Engr. Santiago Baconguis.
With a density of 1.2 g/cm 3, the DENR charcoal is a solid made from loose
biomass like leaves, twigs, stems and other cellulosic forest residues. It emits a
steady heat with low clean flame suitable for burning. It is very easy to ignite and
burns completely in at least 50 minutes. Other materials included in the
manufacture are agroforestry wastes, municipal solid cellulosic wastes, charcoal
fines, sawdust, rice hull and shells of coconut, pili nut, peanut and others.
Biomass brings about an opportunity to make use of it due to its abundant
availability in the country. In utilizing and developing this biomass, charcoal
briquetting is one of the ways. Thus, charcoal briquetting shows to be a good
renewable source. By the conservation of the forest reserve, it helps reduce the CO 2
emissions to the atmosphere. For every ton of briquettes produced, there is about
88 trees of about 10cm diameter breast height are spared from cutting for firewood
and thus serves as carbon sink. Being a renewable energy source which can be
managed sustainably, charcoal briquettes can help replace the expensive imported
fossil fuels of the country. The use of abandoned biomass leads to the cleaning of

the community of waste and can serve as additional or alternative livelihood

mitigating poverty particularly to the underprivileged sectors of the community. This
alternative source will aim to ease the dependency towards the use of LPG of most
Filipinos and will promote a better way for disposing waste properly.
Machine used by FPRDI in producing charcoal briquettes including molder and
binder was further enhanced by ERDB. The machinery composed of briquetter,
grinder/shredder, and carbonizer, both plate and drum type. The first trail of the
project was not totally successful as expected. According to Mr. Alexander
Malabanan, Development Management Officer III, their first attempt on the
briquettes emitted immense amount of smoke and further gained resilience called
spring back in which the raw materials returned to its original size before the
process of compression. They carbonize the raw materials through charring thus
decreasing the energy requirement of the product. The average recovery after
carbonization is 25%, meaning that for every 1 ton of raw materials, 250kg of
carbonized material is produced. The FPRDI recommended cassava flour as binder
because it is the locally available product and is smokeless. Modifying the molder to
bigger diameter, the resulting process have been producing in bulk volumes about
300-320 kg for 8 hours of operation and the resulting product have emitted lesser
smoke and the spring backs were eliminated.
Compared to traditional charcoal, the DENR briquettes is much denser and has
would last much longer. It emits constant heat with low clean flame suitable for
cooking and other uses. It also ignites easily and burns completely in at least 50
minutes. Due to its high heating value which depends on the raw materials used,
the consumption requirement of the consumers are being produced.

The projects was exempted to the RA 8749 or also known as the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999
because charcoal briquette as defined here, is a carbon neutral, meaning it achieves net zero carbon
emissions by balancing a measured amount of carbon released with an equivalent amount sequestrated or