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This work studied the effect of groundnut shell and maize cob on coal briquette. The ratio of coal: biomass prepared were 90:10, 85:15, 80:20, 75:25, 70:30, 100:0. The mixture was treated with Ca(OH) which serves as a desulphurizing agent, before briquetting. The chemical analysis carried out on the raw materials (i.e. groundnut shell, maize cob and coal) indicated the presence of Ca, Mg, Al, Na, Fe, Cu, K, Zn, Mn, Pb, Ni, Cr, As, S. The proximate analysis of the raw materials was also carried out. Burning and viability tests carried out revealed that maize cob-coal briquettes ignite and burn faster, smoke less, produce flame and small quantity of ash after burning, than the other briquettes. Hardness compressive strength and density test of the briquettes produced showed that coal briquette has better hardness, compressive strength, and density results than the other briquettes. Also, the bio-coal briquette with the highest percentage of biomass (i.e. 30%) gave the best viability, burning, porosity, porosity index, ash content, calorific value results than the other briquettes. However, maize cob-coal briquettes gave the best results compared to the groundnut shell-coal briquettes and the coal briquette which was used as the standard.
Energy is the ability to do work. Sources of energy include electricity, petroleum, nuclear power, solar energy, tar sand, burning of coal, wood and biomass, etc. Nigeria is blessed with abundant energy resources: oil, gas, coal, wood, biomass, solar, wind, nuclear and hydropower.
Energy availability in Nigeria and its supply has been a source of constant friction between the people and the government. This however, should not be so because, among the abundant energy resources available in Nigeria, only oil and gas sector have so far been well developed. The industrial and domestic sectors of the Nigerian economy continue to suffer from perennial shortage of energy. This shortage has led to accurate energy crisis at the household level. The bulk of the energy used for cooking at the household level in Nigeria is mainly derived from wood fuel and fossil fuel (kerosene).
The fossil fuels are produced and delivered at a cost most Nigerians cannot afford. As a result, a greater percentage of the ever-growing population of the country have resorted to depend on the country’s forest waste as a source of fuel for agricultural, domestic and small-scale industrial activities in semi urban and rural areas. The use of wood fuel encourages cutting down/felling of trees (deforestation). This leads to desertification in the Northern part of Nigeria; and flooding, soil erosion and loss of top soil fertility in the Southern part of Nigeria. In some cases, it can lead to extinction of wild life.
Energy is the key factor in economic development in most countries today. In Nigeria, there is overdependence on oil and gas for energy for industrial and domestic purposes, since it is the only source of
energy that is well developed. Hence, there is need to develop the other sources of energy so that energy supply will be enough and affordable for industrial and domestic purposes, and our oil and gas be conserved (and used for transportation). Most advanced countries today are adapting the concept of preserving and also retaining their natural resources. As the world adjusts itself to the new millennium and its technology, the demand for fuel and energy increases, therefore, it should be conserved.
Of all the available energy resources in Nigeria, coal and coal derivatives such as smokeless coal briquettes, bio-coal briquettes, and biomass briquettes have been shown to have the highest potential for use as suitable alternative to coal/wood fuel in industrial boiler and brick kiln for thermal application and domestic purposes, therefore, it will serve as the most direct and effective method of combating deforestation in the country. Coal and biomass are available, and cheap.
There is a worldwide acceptance of briquettes and growing demand for the briquetting plants. In June 2009, a workshop on “Investment Potentials of the Nigerian Coal Industry” was organized by the Nigerian Coal Coporation. It was clear from the workshop that substantial progress has been made in briquetting technology and practice in recent years.
In countries like Japan, China and India, it was observed that agricultural waste (agro residues) can also be briquetted and used as substitute for wood fuel. Every year, millions of tons of agricultural waste are generated. These are either not used or burnt inefficiently in their loose form causing air pollution to the environment. The major residues are rice husk, corn cob, coconut shell, jute stick, groundnut shell, cotton stalk, etc. These wastes provide energy by converting into high-density fuel briquettes. These briquettes are very cheap, even cheaper than coal
briquettes. Adoption of briquette technology will not only create a safe and hygienic way of disposing the waste, but turn into a cash rich venture by converting waste into energy and also contributing towards a better environment.
Coal can be blended with a small quantity of these agricultural waste (agro residues) to produce briquettes (bio-coal briquettes) which ignites fast, burn efficiently, producing little or no smoke and are cheaper than coal briquettes.
Briquetting technology is yet to get a strong foothold in developing countries including Nigeria, because of the technical constrains involved and lack of knowledge to adopt the technology to suit local conditions. Overcoming the many operational problems associated with this technology and ensuring the quantity of the raw material used are crucial factors in determining its commercial success. In addition to this commercial aspect, this technology encourages conservation of wood. Hence, briquette production technology can prevent flooding and serve as a global warming countermeasure through the conservation of forest resources.
1.1.1 Concept of coal:
Coal is a carbon containing, combustible solid, usually stratified which is formed by debris from the decay of ferns, vines, trees and other plants which flourished in swamps millions of years ago. Over time, the debris became buried and the actions of bacteria, heat, and pressure transformed the debris first into peat (a precursor of coal) and then into the various types of coal .This process of transformation is referred to as metamorphosis, coalition or lithification. Coal is composed chiefly of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, with a minor amount of nitrogen and sulphur, and varying amounts of moisture and mineral impurities such as
phosphorus. Coal lumps are black or dark brown in colour, its colour, luster, texture, etc vary with the type, rank and grade 
Classification of coal:
There are four main classifications of coal, arising from progressive variation in their carbon content.
i. Peat: contains about 60% carbon.
ii. Lignite coal: contains about 65% carbon.
iii. Sub bituminous coal: contains about 70% carbon.
iv. Bituminous coal: contains about 85% carbon.
v. Anthracite coal: contains about 94% carbon .
Destructive distillation of coal:
This involves heating coal to a very high temperature (600-12000C) in the absence of air. During this process, the coal decomposes to give coal gas, coal tar, coke and ammoniacal liquor.
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