The briquette industry in Africa is a relatively new and rapidly growing sector, with the potential to contribute significantly to the region’s economic development, energy security, and environmental sustainability. Briquettes are compressed blocks of organic matter or other materials, such as charcoal dust, sawdust, agricultural waste, or biomass, that can be used as a fuel source for cooking and heating.
The demand for briquettes in Africa is driven by several factors, including the high cost and scarcity of traditional fuels like firewood and charcoal, the need for cleaner and more efficient energy sources, and the desire to reduce deforestation and carbon emissions. Briquettes are a renewable and sustainable alternative to traditional fuels, and they can be produced from locally available biomass, such as crop residues, wastepaper, and sawdust.
The production of briquettes in Africa is typically done by small-scale entrepreneurs or community groups. The process involves collecting, drying, and pulverizing the raw materials, mixing them with a binding agent, such as cassava starch or molasses, and then compressing the mixture into briquettes using a simple manual press or machine. The briquettes are then dried and packaged for distribution.
The use of briquettes has several advantages over traditional fuels. They are more efficient, burn longer, and produce less smoke and harmful emissions. They also help to conserve forests and reduce deforestation, which is a major problem in many African countries.
The briquette industry in Africa is still in its infancy, but it is growing rapidly. Many entrepreneurs and small businesses are starting to produce and sell briquettes, and there are also several large-scale producers operating in the market.
One of the challenges facing the briquette industry in Africa is the lack of access to modern production equipment and technologies, which can limit production capacity and quality. However, there are several initiatives underway to promote the adoption of more efficient and sustainable production technologies, such as the use of improved briquette presses, carbonization kilns, and solar dryers.
Another challenge is the limited access to financing and markets for briquette producers, which can hinder their growth and sustainability. However, there are several organizations and initiatives that are working to support the development of the briquette industry in Africa, such as The Clean Cooking Alliance.
Despite these challenges, the briquette industry in Africa has the potential to play a significant role in meeting the region’s energy needs and promoting sustainable development. By providing a cleaner and more efficient alternative to traditional fuels, the briquette industry can help reduce deforestation, improve air quality, and support the livelihoods of millions of people in Africa.
Here are some statistics and prices on briquette industry statistics and prices in Africa:
- Production: According to a 2020 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the production of charcoal briquettes in Africa increased from 3.3 million tonnes in 2000 to 10.4 million tonnes in 2018. The top five producing countries are Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Africa, and Kenya.
- Consumption: The same FAO report estimates that the total consumption of charcoal briquettes in Africa in 2018 was around 14.8 million tonnes. The top five consuming countries are Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa.
- Prices: The price of briquettes in Africa varies depending on the location and the specific type of briquette. In general, however, briquettes are often cheaper than traditional charcoal. For example, in Kenya, a 50kg bag of briquettes can cost between Kshs.1,200 to Kshs.1,800 (approximately $11 to $16 USD), while a bag of traditional charcoal can cost up to Kshs.3,500 (approximately $31 USD). In Nigeria, the price of a 5kg bag of briquettes can range from N500 to N2,500 (approximately $1.3 to $6.5 USD), while a bag of traditional charcoal can cost up to N6,000 (approximately $15.5 USD).
- Market size: The briquette industry in Africa continues to grow rapidly. A report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that the market for modern bioenergy in Africa could reach 151 million tonnes of oil equivalent by 2030, with solid biofuels such as briquettes accounting for a significant portion of that growth. This growth is driven by factors such as increasing demand for sustainable energy sources, rising prices of traditional fuels, and government initiatives to promote the use of renewable energy. : The market segments for briquettes in Africa include households, institutions, and industries such as steel mills, cement factories, and thermal power plants.
- Employment: The briquette industry in Africa is also creating new employment opportunities. According to a 2021 report by the African Development Bank, the biomass energy sector in Africa currently employs over 700,000 people, with the potential to create millions more jobs in the future.
- Raw materials: The raw materials used in the production of briquettes in Africa are mainly agricultural wastes such as rice husks, sugarcane bagasse, and sawdust. These materials are readily available in many parts of the continent, making briquettes an affordable and sustainable source of energy.
- The briquettes industry in Africa is largely dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with many producers using locally sourced raw materials such as agricultural waste, sawdust, and charcoal dust. The adoption of modern production techniques and technologies, such as efficient briquette-making machines, is expected to boost the growth of the industry in Africa.
- Environmental Benefits: The use of briquettes in Africa has significant environmental benefits, such as reducing deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, and indoor air pollution. The use of briquettes has been shown to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 50% compared to traditional fuels such as charcoal.
- Government Support: The governments of some African countries such as Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania have shown support for the briquette industry by providing incentives and creating an enabling environment for its growth.
- Export Potential: The briquette industry in Africa has a significant export potential, as the demand for sustainable energy sources is increasing globally.
- Research and Development: There is a need for more research and development in the briquette industry in Africa to improve the quality of briquettes and increase their competitiveness in the market.
Overall, the briquette industry in Africa is still relatively small compared to other energy sources, but it is growing steadily and has the potential to play an important role in the continent’s energy mix, driven by the need for clean energy solutions and the availability of abundant raw materials. Prices for biomass and charcoal briquettes can vary widely depending on a number of factors, but there are opportunities for both producers and consumers to benefit from this sustainable and affordable energy source.