Charcoal is commonly utilized as a heating fuel in homes and businesses. While most developed countries produce industrial charcoal using retort technology, Indian charcoal producers have been unable to access it due to technological restrictions and greater capital investment requirements.
A pilot-scale mobile charcoal-producing equipment can load 125 kg of feedstock in two phases. The retort system emits extremely little carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, and particulate matter.
- IIT Guwahati researchers developed a low-cost improved natural draft charcoal retort (INDCR).
- Charcoal is commonly utilized as a heating fuel in homes and businesses.
- The reactor’s performance was documented in the ACS Energy & Fuels Journal.
- The designed reactor will be demonstrated at the NTPC Ramagundam Thermal Power Station township.
- The pilot-scale mobile charcoal producing equipment has a 125 kg input loading capacity and operates in two phases.
- The research took two years to demonstrate with over 60 field testing to assure constant yield and quality of charcoal.
- The technology transfer will enable IIT Guwahati to create a larger reactor system.
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, have created a unique, low-cost improved natural draft charcoal retort (INDCR) reactor to address the technological and capital investment issues faced by Indian charcoal manufacturers.
The principal designers of the INDCR system, Dr. Arunkumar Chandrasekaran and Dr. Senthilmurugan Subbiah, professors in the Department of Chemical Engineering at IIT Guwahati, have filed an Indian patent for the design of the unique reactor.
The technical details and performance of the reactor have been published in the American Chemical Society’s peer-reviewed journal, Energy & Fuels Journal.
The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Limited’s new initiative Wing for Waste to Energy Projects hosted an open competition, ‘Green Charcoal Hackathon 2020,’ where IIT Guwahati innovators represented the INDCR as contestants.
Following additional review and mentoring by NTPC personnel, the constructed reactor was given the opportunity to be shown at the township of NTPC Ramagundam Thermal Power Station in Telangana to create charcoal from Municipal Solid Waste (5 tonnes per day).
Charcoal is a popular fuel for both residential and industrial heating purposes. While some industrialized countries employ retort technology to create industrial charcoal, it has not been available to Indian charcoal producers due to technological obstacles and the need for larger capital expenditure.
“The unique reactor has been shown to produce high-quality charcoal from various feedstock and is designed to utilize its feedstock as heating fuel.” “This reactor is portable to agricultural fields and has been shown to convert farm waste to charcoal without emitting harmful gases,” Dr Subbiah stated.
With fabrication assistance from Optima Heat Technologies, the created charcoal retort reactor was installed and tested at Paramakudi in Tamil Nadu’s Ramanathapuram district.
The pilot-scale mobile charcoal manufacturing device has a 125 kg input loading capacity and operates two-phase. The research took two years to demonstrate, with more than 60 field testing carried out to assure constant yield and quality of charcoal.
Dr. Subbiah stated that the technology transfer agreement between IIT Guwahati and Sanron Fuel Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, and Samkitec Resources, Hyderabad, would allow for additional research and development at IIT Guwahati to design a higher capacity reactor system to produce industrial-grade charcoal regardless of input loading feedstock with a higher mass and energy yield and lower emissions.
The researchers from IIT Guwahati used a variety of biomasses as the input feedstock for the charcoal producing process, including Prosopis juliflora, Casuarina equisetifolia, Bambusoideae, biomass briquettes, wood pellets, and Refuse-Derived Fuel (RDF) briquettes from Municipal Solid Waste (MSW).
The end-user determines the definition of good-grade charcoal. As a result, the retort reactor has been designed to produce charcoal with a greater mass yield, more varied quality of fixed carbon, and a higher energy content while emitting the least amount of harmful gas.
Furthermore, the reactor can control the process at any time while it is running. It is user-friendly in terms of loading biomass/feedstock and discharging charcoal.
The retort system is environmentally beneficial, emitting relatively little carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, and particulate matter.