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Available online at www.sciencedirect.


Agriculture and Agricultural Science Procedia 00 (2015) 000–000

“The 7th International Conference on Sustainable Agriculture for Food, Energy and Industry in
Regional and Global Context, ICSAFEI2015”

Banana Residue as Biomass Briquette: An Alternative of Fuel

M. M. Nazari*, W. N. A. Wan Othman, K. M. Yusuff
School of Bioprocess Engineering, Universiti Malaysia Perlis,02600 Arau, Perlis


Renewable energy, particularly from biomass is gaining public interest as a result of the global warming, environmental impacts
and depletion of fossil fuel resources. Thus, biomass briquettes have emerged as an attractive option due to its huge renewable
energy potential. Banana is widely cultivated and it fruits highly consumed in Malaysia, thus creating an issue of disposal of
banana residue. Therefore, utilization of this agro-waste material into biomass briquette is one of the solutions. This study was
conducted to develop an effective biomass briquette from banana residue. The briquette was formed at constant and controlled
temperature and pressure by varying the particle size and moisture content of the raw materials. The particle size used for
briquette development were 300 µm, 150 µm, and 75 µm and all particle size was varied at moisture content of 6 %, 8%, and 10
%. The physical and combustion properties of briquette produced was assessed which included density, burning rate, ash
content, flame ignition, and calorific value. Variation in particle size and moisture content significantly influenced compressed
density of the briquettes. Thus, variation in particle size and moisture content for determination of the briquette density, burning
rate, ash content, flame ignition, and calorific value, were significant. All of the properties identified showed that the best
quality of banana residue briquette was obtained when the particle size was 150 µm with 8 % of moisture content.

© 2015 The Authors.Published by Elsevier B.V.

Pear-review under responsibility of the Scientific Committee of ICSAEI2015

Keywords: Briquette; Combustion properties; Particle size; Moisture content

1. Introduction

Recently, government interest toward reducing the dependence on conventional energy has increased since the
government has plans to increase the utilization of the renewable energy in line with the 5 th Fuel Diversification
Policy (FDP). Through this policy, Malaysia began to diagnose the potential of renewable energy resources such as
biomass and biogas. This policy was introduced in 1999 and can be defined as energy mix by 5 main resources
which are gas, coal, oil, hydropower and biomass energy. The main purpose of introducing FDP was to reduce the
reliability on specific fuel type and also to help in achieving a better balance supply mix between gas, coal, oil and
hydropower (Mekhilef et al., 2011).
Biomass briquette can be considered as a promising alternative source for renewable energy and as a
substitution to fossil fuels because of sustainability of resource, environmental concerns and economic reflection.
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Biomass briquettes can be used for household and industrial purpose such as for cooking, heating and electricity
generation. At the same time, production of biomass briquette offer numerous advantages especially in the
reduction of deforestation as it can be the alternative of wood material. The raw materials of biomass briquette can
be agricultural residues, invasive plants and waste from bio-product industries. Through densification process,
these materials are then compressed into a compact solid composite with the application of pressure. Densification
process helps improving the handling characteristic of raw material and enhancing the volumetric calorific value of
the biomass (Wilaipon, 2009).
In Malaysia, banana can be categorized as a second most cultivated fruit because the fruit plantation area
covering about 27,500 ha, which constituting about 11 % of the total fruit growing area in the country. Moreover,
there are about 530,000 metric tons of banana fruits produced annually through the small and large farm holders
(Chai et al., 2004; Hussin and William, 2010). Banana generates major volume of wastes almost 200 t/ha/year as
each plant produces one to five bunches of banana which usually disposed in landfills without proper disposal.
(Soffner, 2001). Large amount of unutilized waste may contribute to environmental problems and spreading of
disease. During decomposition, these banana wastes produce harmful gases such as hydrogen sulphide, ammonia
and etc. that can trigger serious environmental hazards (Tock et al., 2010). Besides, rotten banana peelings will
produce greenhouse gases for example ammonia and methane. These gases may cause acidification and lead to
global warming issues.
Thus, conversion of banana residue into biomass briquette become as one of the solution to the above
statements. In this study, the potential of the biomass briquette from banana residue as an alternative of fuel energy
sources is measured by determine the calorific value produced and compare with the several similar existing
briquettes. At the same time, this study focused on the optimum particle size that suitable in producing biomass
briquette from banana residue where the selection is based on the best result from the several testing done.

2. Material and method

2.1 Acquisition and Preparation of Raw Materials

The banana residues used consist of banana peels and leaves. Banana peels were collected from fried banana
stall, while semi dried banana leaves were obtained directly from banana tree. All residues were washed by using
distilled water to remove the contaminants and dried under direct sunlight for about three to four days to lower
down the moisture content.

2.2 Production of Biomass Briquette from Banana Residue

The dried samples were ground by using grinder until it becomes small pieces and were separated by using
sieve shaker. The samples then collected according to their particles sizes of 500 µm, 300 µm and 150 µm
respectively. After that, the biomass briquette was done by using hot press machine with a mould dimension of 3.0
cm X 3.0 cm. The samples were produced under hot press with temperature of 180 ºC for about 20 minutes with a
ratio of 70:30 of banana peels to banana leaves. Figure 1 shows the specimens of biomass briquette produced from
the banana residue.

Fig. 1. Specimens of biomass briquette.

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2.3 Physical and Combustion Testing

In this study, there are total of six physical and combustion test were done which are density of the briquette,
percentage of ash content, time for briquette started ignite, afterglow time, burning rate and lastly calorific value.
The density of briquettes was determined immediately after ejection from the mould and was calculated from the
ration of the mass to the volume of briquette. The mass of the briquette was obtained by using analytical balance.
Meanwhile, the volume was calculated by taking the linear dimensions (length, width and height) of the briquettes
by means of a Vernier caliper.
The ash content can be defines as approximate measure of the mineral content and other inorganic matter in
biomass. The ash content of the briquette was determined by using ASTM E1755 – 01 (2007) where sample of 3
grams was placed inside the crucible and was burned in furnace for 4 hours at 575 ºC. Ash content of the briquette
is calculated as:

To determine the ignition time, briquette was ignited at a free corner and time required for the briquette started
burnt was recorded. After that, the measurement data of afterglow time for each briquette was measured by
recorded the time within which a glow is visible. Afterglow time can be define as estimation on how long the
briquette will burn before restocking when it is used in heating and cooking process.
Burning rate can be defines as ratio of the distance burnt to the total time taken. In this study, briquette was
placed on the wire gauze and the burner starts to ignite. The time is measured from the ignition time until the fire
extinguished. Burning rate was then determined by using formula of:

Calorific value or also known as heat of combustion is the measure of energy available from the fuel. Calorific
value of the briquette was determined by using a bomb calorimeter where the briquette were burned under an
oxygen atmosphere in a closed vessel which will be surrounded by water and under controlled surroundings. The
calorific value was then displayed in kJ/kg after all briquettes samples are fully burned.
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3. Results and Discussions

Figure 2 (a) Effect of particle size on density; (b) Effect of particle size on ash contnet; (c) Effect of particle size on ignition time; (d) Effect of
particle size on afterglow time; (e) Effect of particle size on burning rate; (f) Effect of particle size on calorific value

Figure 2(a) illustrates the effect of particle size on density. Based on results obtained, the briquettes produced
using particle size of 500 µm, 300 µm, and 150 µm had a density of 0.54 g/cm 3, 0.58 g/cm3 and 0.60 g/cm3
respectively. The density of the briquettes increases as the particles size decreases because the smaller particle sizes
are able to fill in the void spaces. As a result, the biomass briquette produced was compact and it appears to have
greater compressive strength. Besides, the density of the biomass briquette has effect on its burning rate and the
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power output produced. High density briquettes tend to have a longer burning time and release more heat.
Moisture content also influences the density. Lower moisture content will produced higher density.

Figure 2(b) shows the effect of particle size on ash content. Based on the results obtained, it shows that the
particles size of 500 μm produced highest amount of ash content with 16.24 %. Meanwhile, the lowest ash content
was produced from particles size of 150 μm with 10.60 %. According to the graph, the percentage of ash content
decreases as the particles size decrease. The briquettes formed using particle size of 500 μm will rupture as the
briquette was burnt. This is due to the weak internal bond among the particles. On the other hand, lowest
percentage of ash content was produced from finest particle briquette of 150 μm because it is more compact and
bound strongly. As the briquette was compact, complete burning process will be taken place and thus reducing the
amount of ash content produced.

Figure 2(c) showed that the biomass briquette with particle size of 150 μm took the longest time of 8.30 seconds
to ignite followed by particle size of 300 μm and 500 μm that took the 6.39 seconds and 4.33 seconds to ignite
respectively. As the particle size increases, the ignition time for biomass briquette decrease. The briquette with the
particle size of 500 μm burnt easier compared to 300 μm and 150 μm. This is because the particles of the bigger
size were in loose form and did not hold to each other strongly. While, the fine particle size briquette was compact
and hard to break from each other as they are bound strongly.

Figure 2(d) shows the relationship between the particle sizes on the afterglow time. Based on the result
obtained, it shows that the longest time required for complete combustion of briquette was 44 minutes and 51
seconds for particle size of 150 μm. Whereas the shortest time for agro-waste briquette to experience complete
combustion is 23 minutes and 16 seconds for particle size of 500 μm. Hence, the afterglow time of briquette
increases as the particles sizes decreases. The longer afterglow time indicate that biomass briquette will ignite more
easily and burn with intensity for a long time.

Figure 2(e) shows the relationship between the particle sizes on the burning rate. Based on the results obtained,
it shows that the lowest burning rate was obtained from 150 μm particle size with the average burning rate of
0.0011 cm/s. Whereas the longest burning rate of briquette obtained from 500 μm particle size with average
burning rate of 0.0022 cm/s. Hence, the burning rate of briquette decreases as the particles sizes decreases. Lower
burning rate is more effective because the briquette can be used for a longer time and consequently can minimize
the costs.

Figure 2(f) shows the relationship between the particle sizes on the calorific value. From the graph, the calorific
value of agro-waste briquette increases as the particles size increases. It shows that the highest calorific value for
briquette calculated was 19,491 kJ/kg for particle size of 500 μm. Meanwhile, the lowest calorific value calculated
was 18,798 kJ/kg for particle size of 150 μm. The higher calorific value indicates that the briquette produces is
easier and better to be burned. Therefore, briquette from particle size of 500 μm burned easier since it has large
void space and less compact which result in low density. Besides, these energy values are sufficient enough to
produce heat required for household cooking and small scale industrial applications especially the energy
requirement of the small-scale industries. These result were also compared with most published values of biomass
energy content as represented by cowpea briquette with 14,372.93 kJ/kg and soy-beans briquette with 12,953
KJ/kg (Enweremadu, et al. 2004), groundnut shell briquette with 12,600 kJ/kg (Musa, 2007) and rice husk
briquette with 13,389 KJ/kg (Oladeji and Sc, 2010). Based on the calorific value from other biomass briquette, the
biomass briquette produced from banana residue are better since the calorific value is higher.

4. Conclusion

This study showed that particle size of raw materials used will affect the physical and combustion properties of
biomass briquette which are the density, ignition time, afterglow time, burning rate, ash content and calorific value.
There are relatively relationship between the particles size with the burning rate, density and ash content.
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According to the result obtained, briquette with particle size of 150µm give better properties that fulfill the needs
of biomass briquette to be used as fuel in a fire. Meanwhile, based on the calorific value produced by the biomass
briquette from banana residue, it’s showed that this product being relevant to be as an alternative of fuel energy and
at the same time reducing the issues of banana residue disposal.

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