Livestock manure briquette fuel-making machine: Design and implementation for small farms

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2017: $13,743.00
Projected End Date: 02/28/2018
Grant Recipient: Finger Lakes Dexter Creamery, LLC
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Rose Marie Belforti
Finger Lakes Dexter Creamery


  • Animals: bovine


  • Animal Production: manure management

    Proposal summary:

    Managing livestock manure on small farms is a challenge. Turning what is considered waste into treasure is rewarding and profitable. My SARE proposal is to design and build a motorized briquette making press for small farm use that will produce a compressed fuel block that can burn in any wood stove. Biomass fuel briquette machines sold today are designed for large production and not practical for small farm use. The parameters regarding moisture and content, density and pressure for making fuel blocks with manure are not well known. A recipe of ingredients will be formulated. Pre and post dry times to eliminate moisture will be established. The construction of the press and subsequent steps to make the briquette will be documented and video taped. This project will bring additional profitability to the farm by saving on fuel cost with potential to market the new product as well. Repurposing manure that is not already part of a composting program has a positive impact on the environment. Worldwide, improved biomass fuel briquette studies may help in areas of deforestation where livestock manure is plentiful for fuel production. Results will be published on our website, other select websites, journals, and video posted on YouTube.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    We will design, document and build a small livestock manure press that will sufficiently compress a raw manure/bedding mix into brick form to be used as a heating fuel. It will be affordable to assemble for a small farmer who has more manure than can be used on the farm. Once the press is built, we will determine ingredient rations for best briquette formation, and document pre and post drying methods that achieve the best compromise of heating value and briquette durability. Samples will be tested for moisture content to establish highest BTU/lb for longest burning time and quality. We will collect manure from the stall floors and lane ways of our micro-dairy barn to use in the press. Heating value of livestock manure is known to be comparable to grass/wood/other biomass materials used in commercial fuel bricks. This will help set benchmarks for contents and drying standards for the briquette. High heating value (BTU/lb.) is required to provide a long lasting fire in a wood stove.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.