Extruded Type Briquette
I had a letter from Monty at Kerry BioFuels Tralee regarding my posting on how Wood Briquettes of different types are made:
Monty Kerry Biofuels writes:
There are 2 main differences in your ecologs. Those made from softwood and those made from hardwood.The ones you like, those 'with the hole' are made from hardwood trees in forests in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
Both work well, but it all depends on how 'eco' you want to be.We are Kerry Biofuels sell both. Softwood logs made in Co Limerick and Bord na Mona logs imported from Malaysia.
Kerry BioFuels stock a nice range of bio-friendly heaters, multi-fuel stoves and central heating boilers, and additionally offer a selection of wood based fuels. They are in the Monavalley Industrial Estate, just off the "Fat Mile" in Tralee.
Briquettes and Wood Types
Monty's letter could be taken to suggest that the extruded type of briquette can, (1) only be made from hardwood, and that (2) it is an imported only product.
The photo at the top of this article shows extruded briquettes of different types of wood. Softwoods in fact produce an excellent extruded briquette. There is no earthly reason why they cannot be produced in Ireland from locally grown woods or from waste woods.
Currently most if not all of the production of briquettes in Ireland fall into the compression type of product, the type that swell up in the fire.
The UK has several producers that use the "extrusion" method. Bio Green Tech is a small business that makes extrusion briquettes from old softwood pallets.
I have recently contacted SEAI and asked if they are aware of anyone that is producing or planning to produce extrusion type briquettes (the ones with the hole) in Ireland, I await their answer.
Here is a link to a video of the UK factory Bio Green Tech where they turn old pallets into extruded wood briquettes.
My Preferred type of Wood Briquette
I have no hesitation in saying I strongly favour the Extruded type of wood briquette (the one with the hole) for the following reasons:
(1) They are very resistant to moisture in storage. I have some uncovered in a semi-open shed for over a year and they are in great condition.
(2) Extruded briquettes hold their original size and shape in the fire. The do not expand and swell up like the eco logs when put in a stove or fire. If you were to put several Eco Logs in an open fire, they might well spew out onto the floor as they expand to twice their initial length. In a stove they can swell up and touch the glass - not a great idea.
(3) Extruded briquettes burn for much much longer and can be mixed with other fuels. They behave like charcoal or coal and could be nursed into long burning and overnight burning.
Got a reply from the Sustainable Energy Authority if Ireland regarding any possible Irish manufacturer of extruded wood briquettes, it would seem they don't know what is happening. Here it is:
We do not have specific information on how the wood briquettes are produced. The table on our website (http://www.seai.ie/Grants/GreenerHomes/Wood_Pellet_Fuel_Information/MASTER_COPY_OF_wood_fuel_suppliers.pdf) identifies suppliers to the Irish market, without distinguishing domestic production from imported.