Living DIY Biomass: Briquettes, Presses, Logs, and More

Published on November 30th, 2011 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg


DIY Biomass: Briquettes, Presses, Logs, and More


biomass briquette

“Biomass” is one of those terms like “alternative energy”: it could be a sustainable approach to energy generation, but isn’t always. I once sat through a talk by an energy services company executive in which he argued that forest biomass (think trees, undergrowth, etc., cut for burning) was carbon-neutral because “the plants could grow back.” Seriously.

On the other hand, though, an awful lot of waste – from shredded paper to sawdust to greasy pizza boxes – could be used to generate heat. As we move into the winter months, and you start to consider the prices of heating oil, natural gas, and/or electricity, you may want to start taking a look at some of the waste that goes into the trash can… there are BTUs in much of it that could be harvested cheaply without creating much pollution.

Want to start putting some of that waste to work? Take a look at these ideas for making use of waste biomass for home heating, or even cooking. Most of these plans below were created for the developing world, where the harvesting of wood for cooking or for making charcoal (an income source for many impoverished people) has led to deforestation, erosion, and ultimately complete degradation of productive land. While you might not be facing such dire choices between short-term fuel needs and long-term land use, these ideas can save you some money, and keep useful biomass out of landfills… still a win-win.

Next: Build your own briquette press

Image credit: dam at Flickr under a Creative Commons license

Tags: , , , , , , ,

About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at

  • Uncle B

    Canada has made hemp legal to grow. Can be made into light weight insulating cement blocks, wall boards, even baled tightly for “Straw Bale” types construction, yields oil, food from seeds, University of Alberta produced an effective cheap light weight renewable car body, Even the fields in which it grows benefit – the nearest market, the u.S.A. refuses it??? We will certainly produce paper, cloth, even astout denim from hemp and our marketplace will be the rising Pan Eurasian Empire, as we grow away from a restricted and failing America and towards lucrative payments on solid nondepreciating and unmanipulated(since 2008) yuan even for our Soft Wood lumber, coal, Tar Sands Oil and liquefied natural gas. We must survive, even if America feels it is rich enough to refuse us our market share there, we have to go to the pan Eurasian Empire and its immense marketplace.

  • Sustainable Earth

    Interesting recycling project, does seem like an effort the common household would not undertake. Now if someone was to turn this into a small business where they could turn recycled scraps into biomass bundles for sale this could be a cheap green product.

    • Virtualgathis

      If you were going to turn this into a commercial business it would be better to buy an off the shelf briquette machine. Something like what Weima offers for instance. With a hopper and auto feed system. Then it’s just a matter of routine maintenance and keeping the hopper loaded.

  • Yash Patel

    All the wastage is harming the environment and that is only harming the environment adversely and due to these it has become an alternative source to generate energy.

  • Gareth

    Now i’ve searched the web from top to bottom regarding briquettes.
    There seems to be two solutions :-

    1. Cheap screw extruded that forces the mix through a heated die, creating a carbonized briquette, but require far too much electricy!.
    2. Hydraulic compaction using forces nearly 3000 PSI to literally blast apart the cell walls and release the lignin ensuring a solidly compacted product.

    Option two is always going to produce a better result, but the expensive machines such as Weima need a cheaper tractor PTO powered alternative suitable for developing countries and small scale farm use, not companies producing thousands of tonnes a day.

    Please would someone design one for the world, instead of these tin pot wooden things touted to save the world, when in reality even the most deprived of countries have tractors and basic metal working abilities!.

  • Yash Patel

    To produce a Briquette various raw materials are been used which might be spreading pollution and affecting environment, So with the help of Briquette wastage can be transformed.

Back to Top ↑