Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Sustainable Living and Land use › Sustainable Energy › Get a sweet solution for your energy problems
- January 10, 2010 at 12:41 pm #41293RacherParticipant
Does that title renewable energy news surprise you?
Energy research scientists have found out that sugar cane biomass, the waste product from sugar cane production, is a good renewable resource for producing electricity. This renewable energy news was published in Progress in Industrial Ecology, an international research journal. According to Vikram Seebaluck from University of Mauritius & Dipeeka Seeruttun from Royal Institute of Technology an optimal mix of ‘sugarcane agricultural residues and sugarcane bagasse’ (it’s the fibrous residue left after sugar production) can be used to make electric energy. The report says that the cost would be only 0.06USD/kilowatt hour. This is a very reasonable amount when compared to the other renewable energy resources.
Sugar, the perennial grass from genus Saccharum is usually found in wet and dry tropical regions and moderately sub tropical areas. 30 tonnes per hectare of sugar cane fibre and juice are usually taken to factories as a part of sugar production. This leaves a waste biomass of 24 tonnes /hectare. At present sugarcane bagasse is burnt for onsite heat and production of electric energy at sugar factories. The excess electricity is getting transferred to the grid. But about 24 tonnes/hectare of sugarcane waste remains unused.
This waste contains energy content similar to sugarcane bagasse. According to the researchers this can be used along with sugarcane bagasse effectively to produce electricity at a cheaper rate. A 30:70 combination of sugarcane waste and bagasse considerably reduces the chance of fouling of the furnaces which are used to burn the material. On considering the technical and economic side, sugarcane waste and bagasse are the most feasible options for creating electricity. This would also create rural jobs, decrease the cost of energy imports and reduce the emission of green house gases. It is estimated that the use of sugarcane waste in electricity generation can displace about 230 kg of coal for an equivalent quantity of energy produced and 560 kg of carbon dioxide /tonne.January 16, 2010 at 4:34 pm #56923Gabe AyersKeymaster
I think sweet sorghum would be an alternative for temperate climate farmers. I have grown sweet sorghum in the past and love to make molasses or as many may know I have raised allot of cane in my time and hope to raise some more.
We proposed it to be a feedstock for ethanol production years ago when we had a grant to produce ethanol during the Carter administration, but the powers to be of the co-op went with trying to make alcohol from wood which never worked. The tax break on producing renewable fuels was dropped when the next administration came into power and the industry is now only about ADM and industrial ag using only corn. Making molasses is very labor intensive using methods from 100 years ago. It is easy to grow but hard to harvest by hand.
We had proposed to make ensilage from the bagasse or pumnings or whatever you call the leftover stalks after squeezing the juice out of them. This creates a feedable byproduct which makes it allot easier to convince local small cattle farmers to grow cane. Another big problem was the lack of mechanized harvesting equipment for sorghum. We were working with our local land grant U. on that but nothing ever came of it. Of course sweet sorghum syrup is a great value added crop that is low demand (compared to corn) on the soil and can be put in a jar and sold later from an expanded window of marketability.
My family actually spent five years providing an interpretative demonstration of pioneer methods of making sorghum molasses and sold the product to the public on a Dept. of Interior site. We were the last people to do this to my knowledge. The administration of that department and time period reduced our prices to below cost and we went out of business.
There is a group called the National Sweet Sorghum Producers that still is working on this feedstock as a source of energy as well as syrup.
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