Australia produces 800,000 Kg of pure Australian tea tree oil annually. This is steam distilled from the leaves & twigs of a native Australian tree, Melaleuca alternifolia, which is grown in plantations with 33,000 trees per hectare. The plantations are harvested annually with the biomass cut at ground level, finely chopped and then transferred to sealed stainless steel bins where steam is introduced to gently extract and separate the volatile tea tree oil.
Once harvested the trees coppice (regrow) from the cut stump and are ready for harvesting again in 12 months. The oldest known plantation will be harvested for the 37th successive year in 2016.
The oil content in the leaves is around 1% so the remaining material, consisting of 99% of the harvest, is stockpiled as biomass or tea tree mulch. This material, which is completely sterile, consists mainly of cellulose and lignin.
It is estimated that there are more than 3,500 Hectares of tea tree plantations in Australia with more than half of this planted in the Northern Rivers region of NSW near Lismore & Casino; this figure increases every year.
One Hectare of tea trees produces up to 45,000 Kg of biomass annually giving a total of nearly 80 million Kg or 80,000 metric tonnes (MT) of biomass generated every year in the Northern Rivers region alone.
Tea tree mulch (biomass) is a by-product from the very successful and highly innovative tea tree oil industry; it is currently sold as garden mulch to nurseries with only a small quantity being recycled back onto the fields where the trees are grown. Farmers use chicken litter as this is a better, more nutritious soil treatment.
Envirofuel Australia, continuing in the innovative tradition of the tea tree oil industry, has carefully and exhaustively researched alternative uses for this highly valuable resource and has identified that after appropriate treatment the biomass can be compressed into fuel briquettes which have a high energy value and a long burn time making them an ideal and cost effective substitute for hard wood in open fireplaces, combustion stoves, pot-belly stoves and wood fired barbeques.
When tea tree oil is extracted from the biomass it has been steamed, meaning it has a high moisture content of between 20 to 40%. The biomass is taken from the stockpile and screened to remove the very fine material which is largely made up of the leaves. The larger, woody portion is then spread to dry naturally in the sun before being passed through a hammer mill to produce a uniform particle size with a maximum of 5 mm.
After hammer milling the biomass is conveyed into a custom made triple-pass rotary dryer heated using recycled vegetable oil to minimise our carbon footprint.
In the dryer, pictured below, the biomass passes up and back through the six outer chambers three times before final discharge through the central tube. This means the material is evenly distributed at all times and passes through the furnace (hot) end three times to minimise energy requirements and ensuring even, efficient drying.
After drying the biomass is separated through a cyclone and stockpiled before being fed into a press where the briquettes are formed using pressure exceeding 200 tonnes before they are cooled and packed either loose onto pallets or into packs of 12 which are labelled and also palletised and shrink-wrapped ready for delivery.
A briquette is 15 cm x 6.5 cm x 8.5 cm high with a weight of 0.785 Kg, a density of 1520 Kg/M3 as and a constant moisture content of 10%. The energy value is 17.62 MJ/Kg or 4208 Kcal/Kg.
Each briquette burns for up to 2 hours and, due to the low moisture content, yield more heat faster.
This is comparable to most Australian Hardwoods without the mess, insects, bark and environmental impact hardwood harvesting has. It is all done using a carbon neutral and totally renewable resource. Because Envirofuel Briquettes are uniform packaging and delivery is far easier.
Envirofuel briquettes with their high energy value and even, long burn time make an ideal, convenient and cost-effective alternative to hardwood.
Envirofuel Briquettes are available in two packing styles ex-store Casino:
Loose-stacked and shrink wrapped on a single use wooden pallet 10 layers x 126 Briquettes totalling 1,260 Briquettes with a nett weight of 989 Kg per pallet. These are ideal for bulk orders and the pallet can be used for fuel afterwards.
Packs of 12 in a polypropylene bag with handle. These are stacked and shrink wrapped on a pallet in 4 layers (7 x 6) totalling 168 12-packs with a nett weight of 1,582 Kg. These are ideal for in-store display where customers can pick up individual 12-packs.
Minimum order is 1 pallet and freight to your depot can be arranged (price on demand) or you can organise your own freight.