This process is done in shredder machines of simple operation and
reasonably high productivity that are available in the market.
The most important step is the densification of the biomass. It seeks to
optimize fuel disposal by increasing density. This project intends to use the
existing stock of hand presses, formerly used to manufacture earth pressed
blocks to shaping the SFB.
These machines attain low compacting pressure, which implies the need of a
binder. Clay will be used as binder. The idea of the SFB considers both
binding properties of clays. Before combustion, the clay acts as the binder
that helps compacting the biomass; when the SFB is burnt, the clay present in
it is thermally activated, thus becoming a reactive pozzolana that is suitable to
be used for the manufacture of lime-pozzolana binders.
The resulting SFB is composed approximately of 20%-30% binder, for a
moisture content (maximum) of 20%. The combustion residues account for
25-35% of the initial weight, depending on the moisture content (water). As
thumb rule, the specific heat potentially generated by the active part of the
fuel (biomass) is approximately half the heat produced by the same weight of
The production of the SFB involves a series of aspects ranging from the
preparation of raw materials, the production itself, the drying and final storage
and transportation of the product. These processes will be explained below:
: the waste biomass used for the manufacture of the SFB
has to be shredded to a fiber size not exceeding 5 mm. There are types of
biomass like pulverized sawdust, which do not need shredding but normal
sieving. However other types of biomass, such as roots and leaves of crops
have to be pre-processed before mixing with clay.
: The clay has to undergo a process of moisturizing, which
could last some 2-4 days before it is ready for mixing. This allows breaking
the clay structure and dissolving it into small grains. As the clay is kept in
water for this relative long period of time, it becomes low viscosity sludge. The
water / clay proportion for this sludge should be kept within 1 and 2.5 per
weight. For relatively large production facilities similar to those of fired clay
bricks workshops for clay processing are recommended.
Mixing of raw materials
: mixing is done manually in most cases, except when
a drum mixer is available. The sludge is poured into the dry biomass. Both are
mixed until homogeneity is accomplished.
: before pouring the mixture in the form, a flat wooden piece must be
laid on the bottom of the form. The formed block will rest on the wooden piece
until it is hard enough to be removed. The wet mixture must be fed into the
press. Then it must be pressed for some 15-20 seconds, until the extra water
is leaked. Finally a lever pushes up the already formed block, which rests on
the wooden piece. Then it is ready for handling.
Wet storage and drying
: The wet block resting on the wooden piece has to be
laid in flat position for initial drying. After 24 hours the block must be moved to
up-right position (see fig. 5), in order to remove the wooden piece. The block
must rest in this position for at least 5 days before it is moved to final storage