Briquettes from Agricultural Residue and Other Wastes for Use in Biomass Syngas Fueled Power Generation

EPA Grant Number: SU834710
Title: Briquettes from Agricultural Residue and Other Wastes for Use in Biomass Syngas Fueled Power Generation
Investigators: Bormann, Noel E , Cadwell, Jillian , Ferro, Patrick D , London, Mara
Current Investigators: Bormann, Noel E , Cadwell, Jillian , Dawn, Mick , Elliott, Ashley , Ferro, Patrick D , Friedman, Alex , London, Mara , Love, Sarah , Parshall, Daniel
Institution: Gonzaga University
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2010 through August 14, 2011
Project Amount: $9,992
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2010) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Energy , P3 Challenge Area - Materials & Chemicals , P3 Awards , Sustainability


This project, when complete in multiple phases, will develop an integrated system for agricultural and residential waste reuse, fuel production, by-product utilization, and power generation using biomass Syngas. This phase will develop a modular, electric-powered feedstock processing machine to form briquettes that will increase the bulk density of agricultural residues and will also provide an innovative means to safely incorporate slurry wastes into a gasifier fuel. The briquette machine will be mobile so it can be moved to where agricultural wastes are common in order to increase sustainability and reduce transportation of the biomass.


The prototype development will focus on allowing local manufacture and uncomplicated routine maintenance. The machines will require few specialized parts, allow operation of the machine with minimal training and promote safety for the operator. The area surrounding Kitale, Kenya supports significant corn (maize) production, and therefore, corn stover will be emphasized as the primary feedstock. The secondary feedstock will be animal manure or residential human waste. Corn stover in the area surrounding Spokane, Washington will be processed into briquettes with a prototype machine to prove the technical performance of the project.

Expected Results:

The complete project will greatly increase the sustainability of small gasoline and/or diesel powered generators that are currently used to supplement or replace an unreliable power grid. This phase will develop the feedstock processing equipment needed to produce syngas bio-fuel from agricultural waste to replace fossil fuels. Use of syngas will also reduce air pollution and carbon emissions when compared to gasoline, diesel or wood charcoal, and also reduce economic costs. This feedstock processing equipment will become integrated with the gasifier module in the next project phase to demonstrate a systematic, sustainable method of power generation. Existing partnerships with two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the Kitale region will support the use of proper cultural context in the development of the technology of the entire system, and in this initial effort proper consideration for implementation will be emphasized. The project will be also form an important educational component of civil and mechanical engineering students in the Center for Engineering Design at Gonzaga University.

Supplemental Keywords:

thermal waste treatment, distributed generation, bio-fuels,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report