Pine: As Himachal Pradesh falls completely inside Himalayan region, pine needles are widely available in the entire state. The pine needles are identified as major cause for forest fires, causing immense threat to Environment, Forest Biodiversity and Local Economy. The needles that fall from the month of April to June cover ground in thick net format and prohibit air to pass across, thereby, hindering the growth of grass on the ground. This phenomenon leaves no option for local masses other than setting the needles on fire; else it becomes almost impossible for them to feed their cattle. Centre for innovative technologies for Himalayan Region (CITHR) in Indian Institute of Technology Mandi has decided to address the challenge in its entirety i.e. to remove pine needles from the forests and to make something constructive out of them. One of the solutions envisaged is to use the pine needles for pelletization. Our objective is to come up with a demonstration unit for making pellets from pine needles in IIT Mandi campus. The unit shall help us to convey its socio-economic benefits to various Govt/Non-Govt organizations.


Pine Needles cause major threat to Environment, Forest Biodiversity and Local Economy in entire Himalayan Region due to their non-bio-degradable and highly-inflammable nature. In our project, we propose to address the challenge of utilizing pine needles for social benefit by making pellets which can be used as fuel for domestic/industrial purposes. We propose to set up a demonstration unit for pelletization in the first phase of the project through which we aim to create exposure among Government/Non-government organizations of the Himalayan region about the technology and its benefits


Briquettes and pellets produced at center:

Interestingly, all previous efforts in this direction either applied controlled burning and then compression or mixing of materials like cow dung/soil etc to make fuel. The product made with these techniques is neither of acceptable quality nor easy to make. Based on our observations and understanding we decided to chop and compress the needles at high pressure. After many trials, we could finalize what kind of set up will work the way we wanted it to work. We succeeded in making very clean, dense and easily manageable briquettes and pellets with pure pine needles and with the mixing of pine needles with many other biomasses. The figure below shows the samples we have made at the center.

Briquette Machine set up in Center:

Center has its own set up in IIT Mandi campus. The briquetting unit set up in our campus has the capacity of 150kg/hour with a connected load of 12 HP. The cost of the unit is around six lacks. Figure below shows the briquette machine.

Chemical Analysis of DPN briquette:

The calorific value of briquettes is the heat liberated when the solid fuel undergoes complete combustion in oxygen. To obtain accurate results, we have to burn our fuel sample in a bomb calorimeter and measure the total heat energy. Biomass briquettes have higher the value of calorific value as compare to wood. Further, we conducted a variety of fundamental ash analysis tests including elemental ash tests, ash fusion tests and coal ash analysis. Following tables lists the calorific value along with moisture and ash content of the various samples made up of pine needles mixed with wood chips.

Pine % Calorific Value(kcal/kg) Moisture %
60 6442.58 6.03
40 6186.60 6.98
20 5368.2 7.40

DPN briquettes have high bulk density and large heating time.
* These briquettes are clean and have low sulfur content thereby having positive environmental impact.
* The use of briquette also reduces CO2 and CH4 emission, thus reduces green house gases and associated climate change.
* Quantity Required: 3 Kg of pellets will emit equal heat as 10 Kg of wood emits (according to the heating value).
* We also filed a patent on DPN briquetting “Biomass compact briquette fuel and its preparation method” patent application number 201811000279, dated 03/01/2018.
*Our centre filed a patent on DPN briquetting "Biomass compact briquette fuel and its preparation method" patent application number 201811000279, dated 03/01/2018.
*Centre operates the briquette plant setup, for 2 months, in campus, to check the economic viability of the process and product.
*HP Government announced a policy on dry pine needle "collection and removal of chil pine needles from forest land".
*A proposal entitled "uplifting hilly livelihood throgh the eco-friendly utilization of lantana weed" is sanctioned by TDP-DST.
*News Coverage Of DPN.


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