Briquetting Equipment, Designs, Videos, and other info 1 Issue 2/212-220Yousif.pdf = video showing making briquettes = video showing pellets/briquettes
videos showing a briquette machine in operation, similiar to the one I have:

                                                                     General Resources - ASSOCIATION OF WARM SEASON GRASS PRODUCERS - St. Lawrence County Grass Energy Working Group - Cornell University home page on this topic - Cornell University grass biofuels page - Cornell grass energy information sheets - REAP (Resource Efficient Agricultural Production) Canada - REAP's page specific to grass pellets A Process.pdf - REAP report on pelletizing Switchgrass Digests/2007/adapr07_pub2002.pdf - article mentions using Reed Canary Grass
http:/ - Pages 101 - 118, 2.54 MB 40904-fr.pdf - some good facts on pellet heat
                                                               Online Forums and Blogs - Grass energy group lead by Jock Gill - Grass Energy In the Northeast Blog




For more information, requests, or if you would like to share information, please see the Contact Ian page

The process for briquetting hay for use in a standard wood stove is quite similar to the pelleting process outlined above, where the main differences are:

▪  Drying and Fine Grinding may not be required, or may not need to be as extensive
▪  The machine to produce briquettes is different than that for producing pellets. Three models I am considering for producing briquettes are Agico models ZBJI,  
   ZBJII, and ZBJIII. Details of these can be viewed at:
▪  Binders may not be needed since in the briquette production process, a heated die that the briquettes are forced through heats the grass enough so that the
   natural lignin in the hay acts as a binder/glue that holds the briquette together

As previously mentioned, this summer I plan to set up a grass briquetting densification operation where for the short term, I will use the results to heat my swimming pool, and then in the next 1-2 years I have calculated that I can provide 50% of our homes winter heating needs with densifying 1-2 acres of hay. For this, we have all of the required farm equipment already in hand and now only need to purchase a briquetting machine/screw press to make the briquettes themselves. More updates will be posted here once we obtain a machine and begin using it.

At the moment, I have estimated that I could make 1 ton of briquettes for $150.00/ton. This estimate factors in fuel, regular supplies, required electricity, and minor equipment maintenance. This estimate does not account for payments on the briquetting machine if I end up financing its purchase.

The hay that I plan to use to make briquettes would consist of Brome grass, Reed Canary Grass, Timothy, and Switchgrass. If we use
the Switchgrass that we've grown on our farm for pelleting or briquetting , the known advantages would be:

▪  Switchgrass can be pelleted without drying. Switchgrass harvested in the spring at the Belcan plant with a moisture content of 14.5% or lower did not require
▪  Grass has similar characteristics as wood for pelleting - therefore, the same mill could be used for both grass and wood pelleting
▪  Switchgrass pellets have a high BTU output (16,020,000/ton)
▪  Switchgrass pellets are environmental friendly and some even consider it carbon negative - meaning that the grass growing in fields remove more carbon from
   the air that is expelled from equipment used to plant, harvest, and process it.

Click here
to view a layout of both a pelleting and briquetting operation that I would set up in our barn in Hammond NY

Click here
to view Equipment that I will use to harvest hay and produce briquettes

Click here
to view details describing how using hay for a home heat source fits into the overall concept of Energy Farming where clean energy technologies such as solar, wind, geothermal, & biofuels are farmed from available resources on a given farm or at a desired location, and also to view how communities that move to begin using densified hay as a heat source could generate local jobs, and local revenue.

Listed below are several web sites that provide quality information on pellet and briquetting equipment, general information related to this concept, and a links to some online forums

I think the opening lines on the homepage at say it right:

"It takes 70 days to grow a crop of grass pellet fuel"
"It takes 70 million years to grow a crop of fossil fuel"

Densifying hay to heat a home can be accomplished by either making pellets and consuming them in a specialized pellet stove, or making briquettes and consuming them in a standard wood stove or boiler. Currently, I have chosen to pursue making briquettes and will test using them this summer in a stove I have set up outside that will be used to heat our swimming pool.

Both Pelleting and Briquetting each face their own production challenges, however progress can only be made if people work through the process, identify areas for improvement, and continue on. One main challenge facing grass pellets is the lack of the pellet stoves on the market that are able to consume grass pellets According to ( , ) grass pellets as a marketable heat source will work if the US pellet stove manufactures would put more stove on the market to burn these types of pellets. This concern exists since one of the main differences between burning wood pellets and grass pellets is the handling of the ash - grass leaves a greater ash content behind when burned. One other challenge is that grass pellets contain an element that over time, will degrade the metal in a traditional pellet stove, where as pellet stoves built to handle grass pellets address this corrosion concern. 


After consuming briquettes or pellets, the left over ash (called char or biochar) has been found to be quite fertile and good for the soil. At a meeting in Danby that I attended on 01-26-2013, one speaker presented the following examples of using char where he experimented
with using char as fertilizer by placing a handful under each plant in a garden (he suggested that 1/4 pound per plant seemed sufficient) - results were:

a) One tomato plant with char produced 28 tomatoes while one without produced 11
b) Pepper plants with char produced more peppers than those without
c) Cabbage with char was twice as big as those without
d) Corn with char under it was significantly taller

Further details on biochar are found at the following Cornell University site:

The video below shows our small pellet machine making the pellets shown above sorry for the sideways video...)

The picture below shows these grass pellets burning in our pellet stove: