How to Make Charcoal Briquettes: Ingredients and Composition - Dengarden - Home and Garden
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How to Make Charcoal Briquettes: Ingredients and Composition

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Making fuel briquettes is a tedious and messy work not suitable for everyone. If you are one of those people seeking high-paying dirty jobs, then you may consider making charcoal briquettes to sell to your neighborhood. The demand for briquettes is there, and there is money to be made.

Once the charcoal briquettes have been made, they are smokeless and cleaner than the lump charcoal, which is the reason many people like them. You will save a lot of your money by making fuel briquettes for use in your home and might even be able to make a reasonable income by selling excess briquettes to other people in your city.

Defining Briquettes

A briquette is a block of compressed coal dust, charcoal dust, sawdust, wood chips or biomass and is used as a fuel in stoves and boilers. Charcoal is not like clay. Charcoal is a material without plasticity and cannot be molded into a shape without adding a binding material. To form charcoal dust into briquettes, an agglomerating material is added to the charcoal dust, and then pressure is applied to the mixture to form a briquette.

Charcoal Briquette Ingredients and Composition

The ingredients of charcoal briquettes will usually fall under the following:

  1. Heat fuel - wood charcoal, charcoal fines, mineral carbon, coal, biomass, etc.
  2. Burning speed – sodium nitrate and waxes. Sawdust can also be used.
  3. White Ash Color - calcium carbonate, lime or limestone.
  4. Binder – starch. Cement, kaolin, and ball clay can also be used.
  5. Press release – borax.
  6. Filler – for adulteration use silica, clay, soil, etc.

Heat Fuel

This is what provides the energy. The higher the percentage of heat fuel materials, the better the briquette. Try to get about 90% of heat fuel material for good briquettes that will give you more fire.

Get materials that will emit less ash. For example, very fine charcoal fines may have come from tree leaves and have a lot of dust and soil in them and will give more ashes. Larger fines are very good, and you just need crush them to appropriate size. You can use wood charcoal, charcoal fines, mineral carbon, coal, and biomass as heat fuel material.

Accelerants

The materials used are chemical nitrates, especially sodium nitrate. Keep away potassium nitrate and ammonium nitrate, for they are dangerous.

In fact, you should not use nitrates unless you are a professional. To start with, nitrates are used in making fertilizers and can be expensive in many countries. In India, a kilogram of sodium nitrate is currently costing US $1. Since you need about 3–4% in your briquettes, this will translate to a lot of money such that your briquettes may not be priced well to compete with lump charcoal.

It’s important to note, however, that the nitrates are fuel energy that will also provide heat. If you are targeting high-end markets like the US, go ahead and use sodium nitrate as an accelerant in your briquettes, since that market is willing to pay more for quality. If you are targeting low-end markets in developing countries, forget about sodium nitrate. Instead, use sawdust as accelerant. Use about 10–20% of sawdust, but remember that un-carbonized sawdust will make your briquettes emit a lot of smoke. To reduce the smoke from sawdust, partly ferment your sawdust for about five days by just letting the sawdust stay in water for five days. Alternatively, you will need to carbonize your briquettes after you have made them.

Unlike lump charcoal, briquettes will need accelerants to burn faster, because there is a difference in the structure of briquettes compared with that of lump charcoal due to compaction. As a result, briquettes are not able to absorb sufficient oxygen for faster combustion. Nitrates are oxidants, and when heated, they give out oxygen for accelerated combustion of briquettes.

White Ashes

White ash color is very appealing in briquettes. It’s like it stands for quality. When you light your briquettes in a stove, you need to know when they are ready. This is done by observing that the burning briquettes have turned white.

You can only see the white ashes, however, if your briquettes contains sufficient calcium carbonate, lime, or limestone. A 2–3% whiting, lime, limestone, or calcium carbonate is sufficient. Whiting, lime, limestone, or calcium carbonate have in the past been very cheap products, but with the rising fuel prices, the costs of transporting the products have become high. It is because of this that in developing countries they may have to do with charcoal briquettes of whatever ash color.

Whiting, lime, limestone, or calcium carbonate are not heat fuels, but they can lower the burning rate such that the briquettes burn for a longer period but at a reduced fire.

Briquette Binders

Charcoal is a material without plasticity, and charcoal dust cannot hold shape without adding a binding material. The best binder has proven to be starch. Any starch will do, but cassava is preferred.

Cassava starch is preferred because cassava tuber and chips are very cheap. The tubers are as good as starch due to high starch content. Cassava is easily available to low-income societies. Corn starch (maize starch), wheat starch, maize flour, wheat flour, and potatoes starch can also be used. These are foods, and it can be difficult to make sense to a poor man that what he may consider a delicacy should be used by him to make charcoal briquettes. In any case, the world does not want us to "destroy" our foods to make charcoal briquettes. On the other hand, however, a packet of maize flour is of little value if you do not have fire to prepare the meal.

To use the starch as a binder, you need to gelatinize the starch. Starch gelatinization is just breaking down the intermolecular bonds of starch molecules in hot water to form a thick paste that will stick the charcoal dust together. In simpler language, just use your starch or flour to make porridge, and then use the sticky porridge to stick the charcoal dust or fines together.

A binder has to be used. There is no shortcut, unless you wish to use lignin from biomass material by pressing your briquette material using a high-pressure briquette pressing machine.

Starch can be expensive. It can cost a dollar per kilogram. You will need about 5–7% starch to make briquettes. A 45 kilogram bag of charcoal fines will need 2 to 3 kilograms of starch, which will cost you $2–3 dollars. This is a lot of money when you reflect on the fact that a 45 kilogram bag of charcoal in developing countries costs about $10.

Another good binder is gum arabic or acacia gum, which is harvested from the acacia tree. Acacia trees are very common in semi-arid areas, especially in the Sahel region of Africa and in particular Senegal, Sudan, Somalia, etc. A kilogram of high-quality gum arabic is costing $2 in Kenya. If you are to use 5% gum arabic for your charcoal briquettes, then this is not cheap either.

Mashed newsprint/waste paper pulp is also a good binder. Other binders such molasses, cement, clay, and tar can be used, but the resulting briquettes are not the best.

Press Release

Borax or sodium borate is the chemical to use so that when your charcoal paste is pressed to form a block of briquette, the briquette releases itself from the press. This is only necessary if you are using a high-speed and high-pressure briquette making machine. If you are using a simple press/manual press, this is not necessary.

Sodium borate is a chemical that is used in making detergents, cosmetics, buffer solutions, fire retardants, anti-fungal compounds, insecticide, as a flux in metallurgy, as texturing agent in cooking, and in enamel glazes. Since borax is used as a texturing agent in cooking, it is assumed to be safe for your briquettes.

Fillers

Fillers are substances added to briquettes which add no energy value. Fillers’ value is just to increase the weight, density, or volume of the briquettes so that the users/buyers may think they are getting a good value for their money. It is a form of adulteration and only adds ash content.

If you feel that lump charcoal is a big challenge in terms of price to your charcoal briquettes, just add some filler to your charcoal briquettes and then lower your prices. Fillers must be cheaper than the charcoal fines/dust you are using.

Unfortunately there are very few materials that are cheaper than charcoal or charcoal fines. Cement can be used as filler but it is now more expensive than charcoal. Clay is cheap, but if there is huge transport cost involved in getting it to the site where you are manufacturing your briquettes, then you can rule it out. Sandy soil can be ideal as filler since it’s very common in most places.

It is said that fillers can prolong the burning period of briquettes, but briquettes with too much filler will be of poor quality.

Six Recipes for Making Charcoal Briquettes

The best recipe for making charcoal briquettes is the one that works best for you. Test different recipes again and again, and when you get the one that work for you, don’t let it go.

Here are six suggestions to get you started:

Recipe #1

  • 10 kg charcoal dust/fines
  • 0.3 kg cassava starch

Recipe #2

  • 40 kg charcoal dust/fines
  • 4 kg sawdust
  • 2.5 starch
  • 1 kg calcium carbonate

Recipe #3

  • 100 kg charcoal dust/fines
  • 3 kg sodium nitrate
  • 3 kg sodium borate
  • 2 kg calcium carbonate/whiting
  • 7 kg wheat starch

Recipe #4

  • 10 kg charcoal dust/fines
  • 5 kg saw dust
  • 1 kg cassava starch
  • 0.5 kg limestone

Recipe #5

  • 10 kg charcoal dust/fines
  • 5 kg saw dust
  • 0.5 kg cassava starch
  • 0.5 kg limestone
  • 5 kg sandy soil

Recipe #6

  • 10 kg charcoal dust/fines
  • 5 kg saw dust
  • 1 kg mashed newsprint/pulp

Briquette Ash Content

Ash content is the percentage of the ratio of weight of ashes after the briquette has burnt completely to the weight of the briquette before it was burnt.

Example #1:

Weight of lump charcoal in a 2 liters can = 600 grams

Weight of ashes from 1 above after complete burn = 15 grams

Ash content of the lump charcoal = 15/600 X 100% = 2.5%

Example #2:

Weight of lump charcoal in a 2 liters can = 1.5 kilograms

Weight of ashes from 1 above after a complete burn = 37.5 grams

Ash content of the Charcoal briquettes = 37.5/1500 X 100% = 2.5%

A two liter can of lump charcoal produces 15 grams of ashes, and the same can of charcoal briquettes produces 37.5 grams of ashes—and we say the ash content is the same. Why? This is because charcoal briquettes are more compact and have a higher density. The average density of lump charcoal is about 0.4 g/cm³ whilst the average density of quality briquettes is about 1 g/cm³.

Ashes: Charcoal Briquettes and Lump Charcoal

Many people believe charcoal briquettes have more ashes than lump charcoal. This is mostly due to the fact that the weight of charcoal briquettes your stove can hold can be as much as three times the weight of lump charcoal the same stove can hold.

If we can have extra ashes to quantify for the briquettes, this should come from the dirt that is contained in charcoal fines used in making the briquettes, the amount of incombustible fillers added to briquettes, and the fact that most of charcoal dust/fines comes from the weak charcoal (from leaves).

Charcoal Briquettes Burn Slowly

Many people believe that charcoal briquettes burn slowly and are less hot than lump charcoal. This is due to the fact that lump charcoal has a bigger surface area than briquettes and therefore has a bigger ability to provide more oxygen for faster combustion.

Briquette Making Machines

Making briquettes is labor intensive. Due to this, most briquettes are made of blocks with bigger sizes than lump charcoal. If you find your briquettes are not burning as fast as you would want them, try breaking them into smaller sizes. Sizes of briquettes in the range of 1” x 1” x 1” will burn faster, but whom do you think will have the time to make such small sizes of briquettes

Fortunately, there are briquette making machines that can make briquettes of any size. A good briquette making machine can cost $6000 in China.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Comments

OKUR STEPHEN(Uganda) on September 01, 2020:

Hi.

Thanks for this useful information on briquette making.

At the moment am making my briquettes but the challenge I have is my briquettes burns slowly and produces less heat.i use chacoal dust,clay soil,sawdust and casava floor(starch)

Please I would like to add sodium nitrates to my mixtures but I don't know how to mix it with these. Please help me teach me how to mix these in their right proportions. THANKS.

Ezekiel on July 23, 2020:

I stay in an area with a lot of coal mines.

The high waste generated is coal dust or fines and discard + dirty egine oil from trucks and heavy mining machinery.We also have a lot of waste coming from corn farming.

Can this wtse mixed to produce briquettes which are

1 odourless

2 high calorific value or high heating value

3 low ash

4 low smoke

5 burn quickly

Please advice on this mix or suggest anothe waste to add as it has to be very low cost but high cash generating from recycling the waste

Sos on July 16, 2020:

Thank you

Farhan on May 21, 2020:

This coal good for hookha or not?

Iriama john Bosco on May 20, 2020:

Thanks for the good ideas

God bless you hard work

Lubwama vicent on May 19, 2020:

Thanks boss i like to contact you vicentlubwama6@gmail.com

Dorothy Otieno on May 13, 2020:

Thank you so much for important information on charcoal briquettes production. I would like to request your advice on how to reduce the breaking of briquettes. How can I acquire highly compact solid charcoal briquettes that cannot break easily while being transported to far destinations?

Ssekamanya Benard on May 11, 2020:

Thanx For The Information Advancely. Let Try With Your Recipes And See How I Can Figure It Out

Don Wirba on May 08, 2020:

Wow good job there

Sabrina on May 03, 2020:

Hi,

This was really helpful but I just used charcoal dust,clay and water easypizzy bye

Thx

JB Steven on April 29, 2020:

How can I make charcoal from saw dust or chips? Can I fry them until they turn black then I can mix them with cassava starch for briquettes?

Ssenyonjo suleman on April 08, 2020:

I have read the literature on charcoal from sawdust. Sawdust is locally available in my community and looking for joint venture to turn into business.

Jeremiah Maselle on March 30, 2020:

Hi,

Just wanna establish a charcoal briquette production plant and training center. Please advise me on the project start up cost, including materials, grants or funding.

Regards

Dorothy O on March 20, 2020:

Thank you so much

Isiaka O on February 26, 2020:

You actually burst my brain with this article, good job it is good learning way.

Thanks.

Yusuf Abubakar on February 01, 2020:

Pls.what can be adding after production for Easier igneting

Hossein on January 15, 2020:

We can not use the coconut hash around the shell?

Barigo Simon patrick on December 27, 2019:

Very impressive article and very educative.

felaxkibichiy@gmail.com on December 18, 2019:

Innovation detected

Sean on November 17, 2019:

Dear sir,

Please give me an easier procedure

Mohammadreza on October 20, 2019:

It’s more about chemical material,

Are they ok for health?

Hookah shisha is usable ?

Psp on August 23, 2019:

So helpful

hiral pandya on August 06, 2019:

sir which type material used

chrcoal in process

sodium xanthoph on July 21, 2019:

amazing

Susan Achie on July 08, 2019:

I have gone through your informative write-up and very much impressed. Is it possible to get the fillers from sorghum or make briquettes from sorghum head

joseph nyaga on June 24, 2019:

good points

Timothy on June 16, 2019:

Thanks you valid advice can please advice me on the ratio l should use when using soil , charcaol dust and sawdust

Olakayode Akintoye Salako on June 04, 2019:

I went through your write-up and they are guite instructive. The challenge here is how can i get a machine that is price is not high and that will still give me a high guality of product.

Ali kobeissi on May 28, 2019:

Dear sir

Thank you for helping us

my charcoal briquettes are producing a lot of ashes, comparing with Indonesia product, this makes a problem with my customers,

how can i keep the ashes adhesion together and do not drop out.

Hamya on May 12, 2019:

Brilliant and easy to understand information concerning briquette making. You a good teacher

ali on May 03, 2019:

im sorry but ive heard to much about carbon monoxide and that it kills u

maen on April 03, 2019:

thank you mr

nekoomanzar mohammad on April 03, 2019:

Hi thanks alot .pls tell me if we can use nitrate sodiom in shisha charcoal.

best wishes

Javier C on April 02, 2019:

This information helped me a lot. Thanks

Allen Robert on March 12, 2019:

Hi is there a step by step procedure in making the briquette while using the information given here?

Everlyn n on March 11, 2019:

This is so nice. It has helped me big upppp

Chris kenya on February 19, 2019:

Help me on how to mix this ingredients like limestone.

Ali on January 19, 2019:

Hello greetings

Can anyone help me on how to reduce the ashes ?

Ali on January 19, 2019:

This is very good informative article.

Thanks a lot.

Allen teddy on January 07, 2019:

Thank the great work

Bhurubha jadeja on December 29, 2018:

It is a very useful and rarely available information.

Thank you very much!

Aanyu carol on December 20, 2018:

Hello

This is very helpful information. thank you

Baker Apollo on December 19, 2018:

Hi,

How possible is it to use carbon black as heat fuel?

Micah on December 08, 2018:

Nid to know if I can use coffee husks to make charcoal briquette

Lisa on December 02, 2018:

what about the smoke it emits? what are the compounds or chemicals in it; is it really safe enough to use green charcoal?

ayub on November 25, 2018:

need more information

started my small scale production .

is wheat cask one of the best binding agent?

handrison mwameso on November 12, 2018:

Need to know if plastic materials can be used in making briquette cahrcoals...and the entire homestead dump/waste can the be used???and how much does the machine cost???

Nour on November 10, 2018:

Hello best regards

How do i use borax for press release do i need to mix it with the charcoal powder

And also im making coconut charcoal now can you help me with how much coconut charcoal and hard wood must be mixed ?

Saramo on November 05, 2018:

Am happy to have come across your website full of information. When I experimented using paper pulp with sawdust, the brisquettes producéd alot of smoke. This time around i will follow your article to see what suits me best.

John from Uganda on October 10, 2018:

This is good information about briquettes and some have been burning questions from customers

jack kipkurui on September 30, 2018:

Can make mine

sagr on September 21, 2018:

after greetings

i like to have more informatoins about the fermentation of sawdust which used to accelerate burning

i mean the steps of fermentation

thanks

abu on August 30, 2018:

thank you sir for the info.

i would like to know the effects of fillers on thermal and phyisical properties of briquettes

Val Okoroma on August 19, 2018:

What is the actual function of calcuim carbonate in the receipe ?

Secondly,can i use fish feed extruder to pellet my briquette ?

Sayed Ali on August 18, 2018:

Hello thanks a lot

I made the charcoal with these ingredients

1- powder of coal

2-5% of strach

3- 1% salt

4- vinegar white

but the problem is cracks apear and is has no strength enough

what is the solutions please

sam.wangatia@gmail.com on July 25, 2018:

Thank you for the infor, i appreciate

ALI on July 02, 2018:

hallo sir.

kindly guide me on how to mix soil and saw dust to make a briquesttes charcoal using an electric machine

HaithamEid on June 26, 2018:

Dear Sir

Good evening and thanks again for your value information and I would like to ask for a help.

I have started small shisha charcoal production, The product is good but ,tethen (cracks ) appears on the surface of shisha .

I am using high pressure Extrude

I tried to solve the problem using your value direction but no solution.

Best RGDS

Haitham Eid

Val on March 26, 2018:

Hello house pls help me i need full formulation and methodology for production of wood pellet

CHOEURN CHOEURNG on February 26, 2018:

I'm one of people using briquette but what I didnot understand why the ash didnot fail from it shape it still absorb around its body and make heat decrease, why

thank

Choeurn

Golda on February 19, 2018:

You are a big star ,keep it up.

Behzad on February 18, 2018:

Hello please help me, can i use starch for charcoal?

Joe on January 02, 2018:

How much borax should be added to briquette ingredients, if i am using a screw press machine.

Thanks in advance.

mido on December 03, 2017:

Hello

at first I thank you very much

I want your advice to make less ash as well as lower the burning rate

KMTD on November 27, 2017:

Hi Ngureco,

Hope that you are doing well, for me you are treasure, thank you for everything.

I am facing a problem with charcoal powder which I'm using in charcoal briquette manufacturing, that we I check ash% in laboratory, it is very high reaching around 40%, and this is as it known is very bad and affect directly to the operation and finish good products.

recently, I can't change raw material supplier, it is my mistake that I have made contract to accept it without any conditions values.

I have read a lot regarding reducing ash% contents and I found that using HCl 10% will solve issue, but I have some adopts, I want to know how I can calculate quantity of HCl, and what is the physical operations that I can use to separate ashes after reaction with HCl, maybe filtration, so what is the mesh diameters required in this case? what is the type of water that I have to use to wash the powder after reaction with HCl? Do you have better solution for this issue?

Your kind help will be appreciated always.

Regards,

Kefah.

Imad Assaf on November 07, 2017:

Hello,

Is there a substitute to Sodium Nitrate? It is not available for sale in my country.

Thanks

Temwani Kapanda on November 06, 2017:

I wish to inquire. What happens when briquettes are socked in water because the ones I made were socked in water and they started dissolving. What could be the cause and how can I prevent such to happen again? Thanks

Temwani Kapanda on November 06, 2017:

I wish to inquire. What happens when briquettes are socked in water because the ones I made were socked in water and they started dissolving. What could be the cause and how can I prevent such to happen again? Thanks

muwereza peter on October 10, 2017:

thanxs for the job dcne

simon kinyenje gitau on August 31, 2017:

thanks very much for your advice it will help me improve my bussiness.

George on August 19, 2017:

Hey, can you please mention the ingredients for having the best shisha charcoal? Thanks!

Danielle on July 23, 2017:

Ngureco,

Hello Sir. May i know the best ingredients to make briquttes?

Definetely hoping for best answers.

Danielle

michelle on July 12, 2017:

what is the best leaves to be used for making a charcoal ?

Amante on July 07, 2017:

Very well explained

When is the next article?

Thank you

Shanjeeharan on June 14, 2017:

can i know ?... what is formula for instant briquette . if use wax which type of wax need to use ?

Elly on June 03, 2017:

These is a very nice knowledge, it has help me a lot, I also went on for more knowledge and I'm now proud to be the teacher of helping other on how to make quality charcoal briquettes.

Haitham on March 12, 2017:

Dear Sir!

Good day

I have read your subject "How to make charcoal"

It is very interesting and important information and I would

Like to thank you very much and Ask for your

Information regarding Shisha briquette.

I am planning to start this business and I am trying to

Understand what materials can I use as accelerants,white ashes and press release for Shisha briquette ,sizes 25*25*25.

What is the best hard wood or fruits wood charcoal can I use?

Thank you very much in advance

Best regards

Haitham

donya on February 25, 2017:

hi

im a chemical engineering student and i am working on a project that i have to realize if its possible to make charcoal briquettes without using any binders and just doing the pressing in a high pressure?if yes what pressure?

i read something somewhere that was saying that pressing in high pressure releases {lignin} and this material works as a binder..is it true?

Olipa on February 03, 2017:

Thank you so much

HARKOUS.a.a on January 17, 2017:

It's very interesting and comprehensive,good job.

Thanks you.

wael alaa on January 15, 2017:

Dear ngureco

Hope you are doing well

Hello, my charcoal briquettes are producing a lot of ashes, comparing with Indonesia product, this makes a problem with my customers,

how can i keep the ashes adhesion together and do not drop out

Your prompt reply will be highly appreciated

Regards

Wael

wael@naytelcom.com

Rashid Bogatirev on December 09, 2016:

Dear Sir

Thank you for this usefull information.

Please help me to make charcoal briquettes for shisha(hookah).

What i have to add for strenght of charcoal.The dry briquettes don't break but when I burn them , they became very weak and they turn into dust with a little hit. How to remove the terrible smell when it burning on the electric stove of shisha. Thank you.

maray on November 24, 2016:

Dir Sir ,

I make charcoal briquettes from biomass carbonized dust , I use starch as a binder . The dry briquettes don't break but when I burn them , they became very weak and they turn into dust with a little hit. I have tried to raise the binder content but I haven't notice any significant difference during the burning. Please if you had any advice for me it will be very helpful.

thank you in advance

ngureco (author) on November 06, 2016:

Shisha charcoal press machines: check here http://www.sunygroup.cn/products/Energy_equipment/...

ngureco (author) on September 28, 2016:

Sun's energy is 'cleaner and free'.

abigaba daniel on September 28, 2016:

hello;

Jst want to find out what unique advantages the sun drying mechanism of charcoal briquettes has over the other alternative modern mechanisms of charcoal briquettes like using hot air.

mohamad on August 31, 2016:

Hello, my charcoal briquettes are producing a lot of ashes, comparing with Indonesia product, this makes a problem with my customers,

how can i keep the ashes adhesion together and do not drop out.

i m using charcoal made of Nigeria and Oaks and sometime from egypt.

thank you

email: mikekass@hotmail.com

Khalid on August 27, 2016:

Thank you so much for the useful information. I have a question: What is the percentage or ratio or amount of the filler to be added to briquettes?

rohit kumar on August 06, 2016:

it becomes the burning topic for today's world by this method we use natural resoureces in a useful way

Omar on July 24, 2016:

Hello dear

How can mix the borax and Sodium to make press coal

And it need to mix in water?

Ward1442002@live.com

This is my mail if u can answer me

Manda R. Paul on June 21, 2016:

Good info.

How much of soil in the fine char dust will lead to 2% ash?

Thanks.

ngureco (author) on June 06, 2016:

Hi Morgan,

First I must apologise for not getting back to you due to various travelling I had in the last two weeks.

Obviously there is a difference between briquettes and lump charcoal in that briquettes do not burn as hot as charcoal because briquettes are not able to facilitate as much oxygen for combustion as lump charcoal can. It is the same reason why sodium nitrate is added as an oxidizer in briquettes. Please note that Sodium nitrate is expensive and can be very dangerous, so, avoid it, if you can. As you may know lump charcoal has an irregular shape whilst briquettes have a regular shape which is defined by the die or the press. This in itself makes a lot of difference for the two in terms of surface area. If you want to make your briquettes burn faster and with much fire, you would need to make or break your briquettes into smaller pieces of about 1 - 2 inches in diameter before putting them into the stove. How you arrange your briquettes in the stove will also make a lot of difference because if there are no enough spaces for sufficient circulation of air (oxygen) then they will burn slowly. Finally, ensure that the briquettes have dried enough to a moisture content of under 10 percent so that they burn faster and cleanly.

When you say your briquettes are producing a lot of ash probably this means you are comparing the ash being produced by briquettes and that being produced by lump charcoal in a single stove. Look at it this way: lump charcoal has a density of about 0.4 grams/cc and your briquettes maybe having a density of 1.2 grams/cc. This means a 4-liter stove of briquettes will produce thrice as much ash as lump charcoal in the same stove. This is because the briquette in that same stove weighs three times as much as lump charcoal.

The logic is, if there is complete combustion, then, there would be no difference in the ash-content between lump charcoal and briquettes made from charcoal fines of the same wood. But then there can be a difference in ash content because of this: The fine charcoal dust that you may be using have very low purity compared to lump charcoal. The charcoal dust contains, in addition to charcoal, fragments, mineral sand, soil and dirt picked up from the earth and the surface of the wood and its bark. The mere fact that the charcoal is breaking into fine dust before reaching the buyer can only means that either the charcoal layer was over-burnt into almost ash, or the charcoal was produced from bark, twigs and leaves which have higher ash content than normal “solid wood” charcoal that did not break into dust. That fine dust you find in charcoal stores and charcoal bags may contain less than 45 percent charcoal. The other 55% is fragments, mineral sand, soil and dirt that may have been deliberately added by charcoal vendors to improve on the weight of a bag of charcoal in a bid to improve their profit margin. This is likely to be what is making your briquettes have more ashes than expected. It may sound tedious but these undesired high ash materials can be separated by screening the charcoal fines and rejecting undersize (extra fine) material by passing them through a 2 - 4 mm screen. The materials that will remain on the screen are the fragments of good charcoal and should be hammer-milled to fine pieces to make good briquettes with less ash content of roughly 2 percent.

The strength of your briquettes will improve on the strength of the binder used and the pressing pressure of your press. You will just need to keep on experimenting until when you get the right method that works best for you, and once you get it, do not let it go.

I hope and pray that after reading this you will not start thinking that the economics of briquetting charcoal ‘dust’ into briquettes is not workable. Unfortunately, it may not work in poor economies because the prices of charcoal is very low!

elham on June 01, 2016:

hi

thank you for usefull info.i have 2 question

1.how much i should mix charcoal dust and starch?

2.if i want to use arabic gum,how much?and how?

Morgan on May 31, 2016:

Hi There,

I got some remarks concerning my briquette and I dunno how to solve this issues if you can help:

1. Ashes content is high... how to decrease Ash content.

2. Briquette solidity is weak

3. Heat coming out of it not enough (more heat is better)

4. It not odorless it emits smell

What do think ? how to solve all these issues.

Thanks in advance.

Morgan7 on May 14, 2016:

Ok Thanks alot you really helped me much on my project :)

ngureco (author) on May 13, 2016:

Hi Morgan,

The most important step is first to mix cassava starch with water and gelatinize the starch by heating the solution to about 80 degrees Celsius until the solution is of sticky consistency. It is this solution (gelatinized starch) that you will add to the mixture of the other ingredients - charcoal dust, sodium nitrate, Calcium Carbonate and borax. As for the email, you get that from contact the author at author's profile/fan mail.

Morgan on May 13, 2016:

Hi ngureco,

First thank you for your nice words and support.

Ill keep experimenting untill i find the best combination.

But another question please I use Cassava Starch, sodium nitrate, Calcium Carbonate and borax and water ofcourse I put all this mix together while I stir them to dilute all the mix is that right or I should add only the binder (Starch) to the water and the rest I should add them dry when mixing the mixture with powder charcoal ?

Also you didnt provide your mail if possible :)

Thanks again

ngureco (author) on May 12, 2016:

Hi Morgan,

First I would like to congratulate you for making briquettes that can stand solid and can burn and cook something no matter how many cracks they have. If your briquettes have cracks and weak, try increasing the percentage of the binder. Briquettes making is an art in itself - you just need to keep on experimenting until when you get the right combination of ingredients, and once you get to know the right combination that works for you, do not let it go. Remember you are making briquettes from materials that would otherwise have been a waste, and that in itself is a great achievement.

Morgan on May 12, 2016:

Thank you so much ngureco for your valuable info,

But again I do all the things you say in the article and i still get briquettes with cracks all over and not very rigid after its dried I can break it easily with my hand taken in consideration a have a hydrolic press machine to compress the briquettes.

Also I would be grateful if you send me your email for better and faster communication.

Kindest regards,

Morgan

ngureco (author) on May 10, 2016:

Thank you Morgan for your good question. The water to be added is through starch. Sources of starch can be corn starch/flour, wheat starch/flour, rice flour, cassava flour, potato starch. Let’s say you have computed your briquettes’ ingredients to include 5kg of corn starch. Get cold water and add the maize flour as you stir just as you would if you were making porridge (1 kg of maize flour may need 20/30 litres of water to make porridge). To gelatinize the starch, heat this mixture of flour and water while you stir until it form a sticky consistency. This is at the point the mixture is about to boil where the solution swells and expand forming a ‘porridge’ of sticky consistency. Now, this hot solution is what you will use to mix the other dry ingredients of your briquettes. Remember that if you make your solution very dilute then you will need a lot of energy to dry your finished briquettes.