ENHANCING THE PROPERTIES OF COAL BRIQUETTE USING SPEAR GRASS (IMPERATA CYLINDRICA) AND ELEPHANT GRASS (PENNISETUM PURPUREUM)
The urgent need to protect our forest, to mitigate health hazards faced by the people from the use of firewood for cooking and to find an effective means of managing agro wastes has prompted a research on improving the properties of coal briquette using spear grass (Imperata cylindrica) and elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum). In the research, proximate analysis and the elemental composition of the plant materials were carried out alongside with a coal sample. Briquettes of different composition were produced by blending the plant materials with the coal at various concentrations: 0%, 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, 50% and 100%. The physical, mechanical and combustion properties of the briquettes were compared. It was found that the ignition, burning rate and reduction in smoke emission showed improvement with increase in biomass concentration. Compressive strength and cooking efficiency – water boiling time and specific fuel consumption showed initial improvement and rendered to break with briquette containing biomass concentration of 50% for elephant grass briquette. For spear grass, the compressive grass was at maximum at biomass concentration of 30%.