Energy is the key factor in economic development and as we approach the turn of the century our requirement of energy will increase rapidly with the advancement of industrialization and urbanization. It is estimated that approximately 450 million tons of coal, 80 million tons of crude oil and 150 million tons of firewood will be required at that time to meet domestic demand.

The silk industry, which is by and large, considered to be a house hold industry has much of the middle and lower middle class segments of the society in its fold. The component sectors viz. reeling and dyeing sectors generate wafer thin margins to the entrepreneurs. In a situation where the entrepreneur is ought to use his every wisdom to minimize the cost of production, it is quite likely that the expenditure on the part of fuel often plays spoilsport on his margins. On the flip side of this, the health hazards of using the wood or coal as fuel are another cause of concern for him.

We can meet this demand easily, can prevent the deterioration of ecology and can reduce the health hazards by replacing the firewood, coal etc with biomass fuels.

To minimize the expenses on the firewood, to reduce the release of carbon dioxide and to prevent deforestation, it is ascertained briquettes as an alternative fuel for boilers of silk industry. Briquettes produced from biomass are fairly good substitute for coal, lignite, fire wood and offer numerous advantages as they easily replace the conventional fuels for water heating, hot air generation, steam generation etc. Briquettes, apart from other various advantages, there is 20% reduction of firewood consumption.

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The authors are associated with Central Silk Technological Research Institute.

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