Performance comparison of loose biomass briquettes produced using cow dung and cactus binders

Check out our latest study on loose biomass briquettes! 🌿🐄 We compare cow dung and cactus binders’ performance. 🔥 Eco-friendly fuel options explored!
Of late, biomass has been gaining prominence across the world as people and policymakers are becoming conscious of the need to shift to renewables. Biomass briquettes are made from organic materials like agricultural residues, wood chips, rice husks, coffee husks, municipal, groundnut shells, coir pith, cotton stalks, peanut husks, etc. They are dried, compressed, and packed into uniform sizes and shapes, making them easy to store and transport.
In compact form, biomass briquettes have a higher combustion efficiency and tend to burn for longer periods. Biomass briquettes are becoming a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels like coal and oil. They are cheaper and so can serve as an efficient fuel source for cooking and heating in low-income countries.
The blog analyzes the performance and efficiency of biomass briquettes produced by using cow dung and cactus as binders.

Cow dung as binders

Cow dung is one of the commonly available biomass materials used to make loose biomass briquettes. Unless managed efficiently, it remains a landfill, and the nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations in cow dung result in an imbalance and pollution in the environment.
Cow dung can produce high methane gas and heat of around 4000 calories/gram. Methane gas serves as an ignition gas in making highly flammable biomass briquettes.

Using Cactus as binders

Using food crops like sugarcane, corn, etc., has remained a crucial point of debate as there was a short supply of food crops. Using plants like cactus in binding loose biomass materials helps tackle the disruption resulting from using food crops to make biomass briquettes. Another advantage is that they grow on arid and semi-arid land surfaces with little or no rainfall, and the land is not suitable for agricultural purposes.
Using readily available materials like cactus as binders can reduce the cost of production of loose biomass briquettes.

Cow dung vs. Cactus binder

Mikateko Reuben Shuma and Daniel Makundwaneyi Madyira from the University of Johannesburg conducted this experiment. They have used yellow thatching grass, sugar cane leaves, ground nut shells, and Mopani leaves as loose biomass materials. The loose materials were then cut down to uniform 20 mm sizes and mixed with wet cow dung and crushed cactus binders.
The experiment was conducted at three different pressures of 6 MPa, 12 MPa, and 19 MPa.

#1 Density
The result of the experiment showed that the biomass briquettes produced using cow dung had more densities at all pressures than the cactus binder. The highest density was observed in the biomass briquette made from groundnut shells using cow dung as binders.

Another interesting observation is that cactus binders remained insensitive to variations in compaction pressure. Considering cactus binder, the loose biomass produced using mixed ingredients had the highest density than ground nut shells or sugar cane leaves individually.

#2 Moisture content
Considering the cow dung binder, briquettes made from yellow thatch grass lost moisture at a quicker rate of 22% per day. This was followed by groundnut shells and mopani leaves at 12% and 5% per day, respectively.

The drying pattern changed with cactus binders, and they were relatively slower than the biomass briquettes produced with cow dung binder. Loose biomass made using sugarcane was the quickest to dry when bonded with cactus leaves.

#3 Emissions
Biomass briquettes bound by using crushed cactus leaves had lower emissions of CO2, CO, SO2, and so on. It had the highest O2 emission. Cow dung bounded biomass briquettes had higher emissions irrespective of the composition of biomass.

When ignited, the cactus-bound biomass briquettes had a minimal flame, whereas the cow-dung-bound biomass briquettes had a full flame ignition.

Final Thoughts

When we compare the usage of cow dung and cactus as binders in biomass briquettes, those made from wet cow dung performed better in all standards of density, moisture content, the pace of drying, etc. Whereas in terms of emissions, cactus-bound biomass briquettes have lower emissions.
Buyofuel is a leading supplier of biomass briquettes in India. Buyofuel brings together suppliers and manufacturers of biomass briquettes under a single marketplace, making it a go-to store for biomass briquettes in India.

If you are looking to buy or sell biomass briquettes in India, visit

Explore the green energy revolution! Learn about cow dung & cactus binder briquette comparison. Check out our other insightful blogs!