Biochar is a coal-like substance produced by burning organic material from agricultural and forest waste (also called biomass) in a controlled process called pyrolysis. Although it looks a lot like regular coal, biochar is produced through a special process that reduces pollution and safely stores carbon.
One of biochar by-products is briquette. Briquettes are a form of solid fuel produced by compacting dry loose biomass residues into solid blocks that provide energy and are used like firewood and charcoal. Briquettes have the potential to counteract many adverse health and environmental impacts associated with traditional biomass energy. Briquettes from coconut shells have the potential to be an alternative energy that can be utilized. This is because Indonesia has a lot of coconut commodities, so the shell waste produced can be used to be processed into briquettes.
Briquettes can help re-purpose waste. The raw material for charcoal briquettes made from organic waste such as leaves, coconut shells and twigs can reduce waste while being environmentally friendly.
The use of briquettes also has the potential to preserve forests. In long-term studies undertaken at Kenya’s Kasigau Corridor, a conservation dryland landscape of about 200,000 ha, research led by Wildlife Works in collaboration with the National Museums of Kenya and ICRAF is showing that tree regeneration could occur alongside biodiversity protection and charcoal briquette production from tree prunings in the area, since using prunings eliminates the need to cut down trees.
Briquette also savings reduced expenditure on energy. Replacing firewood with briquettes has the potential to minimize costs on energy. The energy content in 1 kg of briquette is 16.8 MJ (megajoule) while the energy content in 1 kg of firewood is 13.8 MJ. Thus, less briquette by weight is required for the same amount of heat compared to firewood.
In addition, Indonesia’s coconut shell briquette dominates the export market. Demand for coconut shell briquettes from abroad is very high. This is because briquettes are widely used for barbeque and shisha. Besides having a high demand, the coconut shell briquette business is also not affected by the economic crisis.
Exports of Indonesian coconut charcoal products increased by 4.69% from US$ 145.1 million in 2019 to US$ 151.9 million in 2020 (Kemlu)
Therefore, the briquette business will run in a sustainable manner supported by the abundant availability of waste