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Physical and Combustion Characteristics of Briquettes Made from Water Hyacinth

The study investigated the potential of water hyacinths and phytoplankton scum, an aquatic weed, as binder for production of fuel briquettes. It also evaluated some physical and combustion characteristics. The water hyacinths were manually harvested, cleaned, sun-dried, and milled to particle sizes distribution ranging from <0.25 to 4.75 mm using hammer mill. The water hyacinth grinds and binder (phytoplankton scum) at 10% (B1), 20% (B2), 30% (B3), 40% (B4), and 50% (B5) by weight of each feedstock were fed into a steel cylindrical die of dimension 14.3 cm height and 4.7 cm diameter and compressed by hydraulic press at pressure 20 MPa with dwell time of 45 seconds. Data were analysed using analysis of variance and descriptive statistics. Initial bulk density of uncompressed mixture of water hyacinth and phytoplankton scum at different binder levels varied between 113.86 3.75 (B1) and 156.93 4.82 kg/m3 (B5). Compressed and relaxed densities of water hyacinth briquettes at different binder proportions showed significant difference . Durability of the briquettes improved with increased binder proportion. Phytoplankton scum improved the mechanical handling characteristics of the briquettes. It could be concluded that production of water hyacinth briquettes is feasible, cheaper, and environmentally friendly and that they compete favourably with other agricultural products.
Physical and Combustion Characteristics of Briquettes Made from Water Hyacinth and Phytoplankton Scum as Binder