EWB-Cincinnati’s Briquette Press
Engineers Without Borders (EWB)- Greater Cincinnati Professionals
Easy-to-build wood biomass fuel briquette press designed by Engineers Without Borders (EWB)-Greater Cincinnati Professionals.
This biomass fuel briquette press is an open-source, easy-to-build and lightweight (up to 12 kgs) structure made of wood. It has a compression range from 300 mm to 190 mm and can make square or traditional round briquettes with/without hole at a rate of 12 units/10 minutes from biomass, biochar or charcoal fines. It has two possible configurations: Notch and Brace versions, which can both be built using power or hand tools.
Developing communities worldwide.
Self-constructed by the end users.
Build cost is 18 USD.
Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
Single-family use, classroom demonstrations, or a small village where a small footprint and easy to build press using hand tools is required.
Following the construction manual, the briquette press can be constructed by users with minimal skill level using either power tools or hand tools.
Users can build the product following the Micro Compound Lever Press Construction Manual.
What is the material composition of the fuel (e.g. ethanol, biogas, agricultural residues, etc.)
MJ/kg, energy content per gram
What are the main pollutants when the fuel is combusted? (e.g. CO, PM2.5)
Both versions, Brace and Notch designs, have a total of 10 parts (two front and two rear leg, two feet, two arms and a level arm, two base beam, a handle, two beam sides and a brace) mainly made by same section pieces of wood (38 x 89 mm) and with different lengths. Pieces are joined with bolts and nuts, resulting in a lightweight press structure of 12 kgs. Softwood can be used and hardwood is recommended for the high-pressure level arm.
All the detailed product schematics can be found in the construction manual. Brace version (on the left) and Notch version (on the right):
Over 10 years.Interview with representative
EWB-Cincinnati main goal was to have a very flexible press design in the use of local materials and that not require specific features that might not be available in various countries. They also wanted a good throughput and a high amount of pressure for good compression of the briquette. The press exceeded the performance targets for pressure (see the “Vetted Performance” below) and the ease of use was enhanced by offering several different types of molds to form the briquette.Interview with representative
With 32 kg of force on the handle, 1,800 kg of force is transmitted to the briquette located 100 mm from the end pivot point. Based on a typical biomass pressing requirement of 65 kg/in2 of force, the required pressures are 400 kg for a 75 mm briquette with a 25 mm hole, 1,040 kg for a 100 mm square briquette with no hole, 1,800 kg for a 150 mm diameter briquette without the hole. The press can easily exceed those force requirements.
Engineers Without Borders (EWB)-Greater Cincinnati Professionals
Potential hazard such as cuts and accidents when cutting the wood pieces for the structure. During periods of nonuse, EWB recommends storing the product in a dry and sun free location.
EWB also provides information about the self-construction of those designs and products, such as: various biomass briquettes molds suitable for the press, dry biomass grinder thrasher, wet-dry biomass chopper/cutter and a rotatable and portable DIY biomass composer.
All the documents for the biomass briquette product can be found in EWB-Cincinnati webpage, however there is no specific academic research on this design. For general academic research on biomass briquetting:
Grover, P.D., and Mishra, S.K., Biomass briquetting: technology and practices. 1996 Apr. FAO. Regional wood energy development programme in Asia. Field document nº46.
The improved first prototype was tested by EWB local group and several suggestions that could improve the performance of the product were accepted and implemented. EWB took the design to several villages in Rwanda where the press was built and used. EWB-Cincinnati followed the implementation of this technology with personal visits up for a period of five years. Communities in Rwanda continued to have success using the press.Interview with representative
Video of demonstration on how to build and use the press.
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