Small-Scale Carbon Briquetting in China
by Tim Anderson, june 2005

The Chinese make very effective cooking fuel briquettes from waste cellulose and carbon materials, using local clay for a binder.
The briquettes are cylindrical with a number of air passages through them.
An expat living here told me he had a water heater in Germany in the 1960's that used the same type of briquettes.

click any image to see a 800x600  version in a new window
sIMG_0526.jpg sIMG_0530.jpg
A food vendor's bycicle rickshaw with briquette burner.

sIMG_0529.jpg sIMG_0531.jpg
Top and side views of the burner, showing the brick lining and damper door to control airflow and remove ashes.

The source materials. Coal dust, carbon from sawdust, farm waste, and scrap wood is the fuel. The local red clay dirt is the binder.
Sawdust and other carbon-bearing materials such as waste paper are first reduced to charcoal in a furnace. I have not yet seen this part of the process.
Coal dust is used as is. They are ground to a certain size and mixed with the local red clay dirt. The ratio is 80% coal to 20% clay.
At the same time they sprinkle it with water from a watering can and mix in enough water so it will hold together when squeezed by hand.
A certain amound of sand or limestone gravel is present in the dirt and doesn't seem to cause a problem.

Multiple views of the machine used to produce the briquettes
 sIMG_0838.jpg sIMG_0839.jpg sIMG_0840.jpg sIMG_0841.jpg sIMG_0842.jpg

 .AVI movies
of the briquette maker in action

sIMG_0523.jpg    sIMG_0532.jpg
When completely burned, there remains a clinker which is removed with tongs.
These clinkers are easily crushed by stomping on them.
That seems to make a decent road surface and good soil for growing crops

such as this squash plant.

Back to Tim's Home               

Copyright 2005 Tim Anderson