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1.1     Background of the Study

                The demand for energy increases by the day because the population of the world continues to grow and energy is needed (Frei, 2012). Global energy consumption has about doubled in this last three decades of the past century.  In 2004, about 77.8% of the primary energy consumption is fossil fuels, (32.8% oil, 21.1% natural gas, 24.1% coal, 5.4% from nuclear fuels, 16.5% from renewable resources, and the remaining 11.0% consisted of non-commercial biomasses such as wood leaves etc (BP-Amoco, 2005).  Based on this statistic, it was discovered that a greater percentage of the world today including Nigeria uses fossil fuel as their major source of energy (Frei, 2012).

                By using fossil fuel carbon dioxide (CO2) and other hazardous gases is emitted into the atmosphere which pollutes it and renders it harmful to its inhabitants.  Fossil fuel is one of the reason there is global warming today, and it’s increasing by the day. For this reason energy leaders round the world are seeking alternatives to fossil fuel and has a list of them which includes; solar energy, nuclear energy, hydro energy, wind energy, biomass etc (Frei, 2012).

                And also there is the issue of deforestation, which is as a result of burning or cutting down of tress without planting them again. This maybe for firewood which is most consumed in the rural communities or for infrastructural Development as the case maybe.  But for the cause of this study, energy is the case and business energy.

                Kishan et al., (2012) noted that Apart from the problems of transportation, storage and handling, the direct burning of loose biomass in conventional grates is associated with very low thermal efficiency and widespread of air pollution.  In addition, a large percentage of unburnt carbonaceous ash has to be disposed of.  In the case of biomass such as rice husk, this amount to more than 406 of the feed burnt.  As a typical example, “about 800 tones of rice husk ash are generated every day in Ludhiana (punjah) as a result of burning 2000 tones of husk” (Kishan et al., 2000).  Briquette of the husk could mitigate these pollution problems while at the same time making use of this industrial/domestic energy resource.  The briquettes can be used for domestic purposes (cooking, heating, barbequing) and industrial purposes (agro –industries, food processing) in both rural and urban areas.

                Amanor (2014) defined Biomass briquetting as the densification of loose biomass materials to produce compact solid composites of different sizes with the application of pressure.  Briquetting of residue takes place with the application of pressure, heat and binding agent on the loose materials to produce the briquettes. The residue may be agricultural waste such, cassava peels, sawdust, dry leaves from any tree, yam peels,  cocoyam peels, potato peels, palm mush etc, or any other waste such as waste paper, waste stationeries etc. The size of the residue is reduced and then mixed with a binding agent such as cassava starch, palm sludge etc and then transferred into a mould and pressure is been applied to it. After which the compacted briquette is dried.

                Of the various renewable energy sources, bio-residues, of which agricultural residues from a major component, can be most easily utilized to reduce the consumption of wood fuel (Hosier and Svennindson, 1987). Biomass, which makes the briquetting industry, is attracting great attention over the world as a source of renewable energy as well as an alternative to fossil fuel. Biomass resources supply over 14% of the world’s energy needs (McKendry, 2002). The potential of biomass energy derived from forest and agricultural residues world- wide is estimated at about 30EJ/yr, compared to an annual world-wide energy demand of over 400EJ (McKendry, 2002).

1.2     Statement of the Problem

·         The machine was design and constructed by Tienebong (2016)

·         After construction, the machine was not evaluated, only a preliminary test was carried out for a short period.

·         Design of machines such as this, is to machanise and make agricultural production easier, less expensive and most effective. So it is necessary that an evaluation is done to test for the efficiency of the machine and how effective in production and how expensive it is as it is designed for local farmers.

1.3     Objectives of the Study

·         The objective of this study is to evaluate the performance of an already constructed briquetting machine by Tienebong (2016).

·         To test the briquetting machine using different particle sizes of sawdust, grass(elephant grass, pennisetum purpureum), rice husk(local swamp rice), cassava peels(sweet cassava, TMS 96/144 variety), oil palm mush(African oil palm, elaies),  at varying binder levels

·         To determine the physical properties of the different briquettes.

1.4     Scope of Study

The scope of this work includes;

·         Evaluation of the performance of the briquetting machine using sawdust, grass (elephant grass, pennisetum purpureum), rice husk(local swamp rice), cassava peels(sweet cassava, TMS 96/144 variety), oil palm mush(African oil palm, elaies). The binders to be used are palm sludge and cassava starch.

·         Evaluation of the effect of size and mass on the briquettes.

·         Determination of physical properties of the different briquettes.

1.5     Significance of the Study

·         This study is test and evaluate the performance of the machine, determining if it is affordable, effective for use in the rural communities

·         This study brings to light  the vulnerability of the machine which may help in the optimization of the machine for more effective production

·         Evaluation and testing the physical properties of the agricultural waste of the different briquette will help the local farmer decide on which residue to use as most residue are also harmful to environment.

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