Saturday, October 02, 2010

Carbonized rice hull eyed for making biomass furnace in the Philippines

NUEVA ECIJA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 2, 2010) - The carbonized rice hull is a good component and a low-cost alternative in making biomass furnace, according to the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization in Muñoz City here.

It said studies showed that CRH contains 87 percent of silica and when used or mixed with cement it can hold temperature ranging from 700˚C to 750˚C.

In 2008, the Department of Agriculture through the Bureau of Postharvest Research and Extension (now PHilMech) implemented the mechanical drying support to farm clusters through the distribution of the improved flatbed dryers to qualified irrigators associations.

“At present, the project already distributed 2, 147 flatbed dryers to address the problems of the key palay producing provinces on drying. We prioritized them to ensure that their commodities will be dried and will not be wasted during the rainy season,” Ricardo L. Cachuela, PHilMech director said.

However, because of frequent and improper use of the dryer some of the furnaces collapsed.

Thus, PHilMech recommended the use of CRH as a backyard repair material for the furnace. They also reminded the farmers group that only trained personnel should operate the dryer.

Technical staff from PHilMech said the furnace is simple and easy to construct. The ratio is for every bag of concentrated cement, five bags of CRH are mixed.

The materials are made in block form and when dried after two weeks it can now be assembled like the original design.

“The flatbed dryer compared to solar drying using pavements is more economical and convenient to use. It can reduce postharvest losses and save on labor and time,” Badua said.

The Mabacan Irrigators’ Association (MIA) in Calauan, Laguna is one of the beneficiaries of the project and the first organization who used the CRH in repairing their furnace.

Maura Ilagan, MIA president said the CRH is a good remedy to damaged furnace. “We easily repaired our furnace. The materials (we used) are readily available and are affordable,” she said.

According to Ilagan, using the furnace made of CRH, they reduced the rice hull requirements in drying. “Before, the rice hull consumption in drying 120 cavans reached to 30 sacks. Now, we only need 25 sacks,” Ilagan said.

The MIA also offers drying services to farmers in its nearby towns like Bae and Pila also in Laguna because of the capability of the CRH-made furnace.

Comparing the traditional and the mechanical drying, Ilagan said, “we prefer the flatbed dryer compared to solar drying because we are assured of better grain quality.”

Aside from the MIA, the other Irrigators Associations in the country are now using the CRH as a low-cost material to repair the furnace. (Erwin S. Embuscado)

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