Senegal: Peanut Shell Briquettes


After Nigeria, Senegal is the largest producer of peanuts with more than 1.3 million tonnes each year generating more than 350,000 tonnes of waste shells. In Senegal, it is estimated that 70% of Senegalese households resort to charcoal for domestic-cooking needs, with the annual consumption of wood-derived charcoal being around 360,000 tonnes, placing significant pressure on forest resources.

Wood being carted in Senegal

Photo source: PERACOD 2010

In general, other initiatives of biomass charcoal production remain at a rather artisanal level (e.g. BRADES in Saint Louis, and Typha-based Pronatura charcoal in the northern River of Senegal). These artisanal processes tend to generate a product either not dense enough, or mixed with clay, making it unsuitable for domestic use.

Our Project aims to produce high-density briquettes (from 180kg/m3 to 1200kg/m3) using a string of screw extruders, which are then carbonised in furnaces. This is a batch combustion process with temperatures between 500-600 °C, and with pyrolysis gases being reused to feed the process. This produces a high-quality charcoal that can fully replace a more traditional, wood-derived product.

The end product ~ peanut-derived charcoal

The end product ~ peanut-derived charcoal

The process is aimed at producing about 22.4 tonnes of briquettes per day (approximately 6451 tonnes per year) corresponding to 1612 tonnes of charcoal. Novasen produces around 1800 tonnes/year of charcoal. The annual consumption of wood-derived charcoal is around 360,000 tonnes ~ a domestic charcoal market of about € 110 M euro each year.

Thus, there is a proven basis for peanut-derived charcoal and a sufficient market space.

The benefits of the Project include:

  • Combating deforestation by utilising an alternative biomass (waste peanut shells) thus conserving tropical forests which would otherwise be felled for charcoal. World bank data suggest that each tonne of avoided wood charcoal corresponds to the avoidance of deforestation of 5.5 tonnes of dry wood and 1.47 tonne of CO2 if the dry wood were to be used as wood charcoal;
  • Extruded briquettes

    An example of an extruded briquette

    A better combustion than conventional charcoal. World Bank data suggest that every tonne of avoided wood charcoal corresponds to an avoidance of methane emission equivalent to 3.5 tonne of CO2. This value is an average between the emissions of the least sophisticated carbonisation techniques of the Sahel and the ones in which sophisticated techniques are used;

  • Avoiding methane generation from decomposing cellulosic abandoned biomass. Every tonne of biomass used as feedstock to produce green charcoal avoids the emission of GHG that is equivalent to 0.06kg of CO2 that is due to brush burning of unused biomass;
  • Generating livelihood, thereby alleviating poverty, in urban (jobs created) and rural areas(cash against biomass); and,
  • Mitigating CO2

In addition, there is a potential of more than 200,000 tonnes of waste millet stalks (in the same locality) that could also be carbonised using the same technology.

President of Womens Group, St Louis, PERACOD 2010

President of Womens Group, St Louis, PERACOD 2010

“Bio-coal” the local name for organic material such as these briquettes is considered a good substitute for traditional charcoal, and at 0.4€ per meal less than traditional charcoal, that adds up to a saving of 230 € during a year, a significant sum for those on very low incomes.

For further information or to invest in this Project please contact CarbonBrake Limited.

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