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Agricultural crops and wastes for Bioenergy. ΤΗ eofanis .A. Gemtos , Spyros Fountas, Christos Κ avalaris Laboratory of Farm Mechanisation, Department of Agriculture, Crop Production and Rural Environment, University of Thessaly, GREECE. Introduction.

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agricultural crops and wastes for bioenergy

Agricultural crops and wastes for Bioenergy

ΤΗeofanis.A. Gemtos, Spyros Fountas, Christos Κavalaris

Laboratory of Farm Mechanisation, Department of Agriculture, Crop Production and Rural Environment, University of Thessaly, GREECE

  • Greece as well as EU are short of energy resources.
  • Therefore we need to use RES to reduce dependence on energy imports and the relevant spending .
  • Biomass is a RES that can be produced locally offering several advantages like:
  • It already exists in some amounts at the moment not used
  • It can be produced by energy crops offering opportunities to introduce new plants in crop rotations

It can produce transportation fuels (vegetable oils, alcohols, methane)

  • It can offer employment and income in areas of the country that at least before the crisis presented a lot of economic problems
  • It can be considered friendly to the environment
what is biomass
What is Biomass?

Any type of residues of biological processes like:

  • Crop and forestry residues, wastes of animal feeding and human living
  • Residues of the industry of agricultural product processing

Energy crops

crop forestry and industry residues
Crop, forestry and industry residues
  • Any crop (except hay producing) offers a useful product and a residue that usually remains in the field and requires management by the farmer
  • Most of the residues are not used at the moment and are left in the field or burnt.
  • Forest residues are also left on the soil producing a mulch with problems for fires control.
  • Many industries are producing residues (or wastes) that are in many cases not used.

Animal feeding is producing huge amounts of manure that at least in Greece are not used or are not used properly causing environmental problems

  • Similar problem exists with human living wastes, Most of the products of biological treatments or garbage offer biological material that is usually buried.
energy crops
Energy crops
  • There are annual and perennial
  • Perennial have the advantage of low establishment cost
  • Annual are more flexible and can be used in rotation with food crops
  • There are several crops tested in the country like cardoon,switch grass as rain fed and Miscunthus and Arunda as irrigated
  • Yield is estimated at about 10t DM/ha for rain fed and about tree times as much for irrigated
  • It should be stressed the difference between theoretical yield and harvested one.
annual energy crops
Annual energy crops
  • They offer products for different uses like oil seeds produced by sunflower, rape seed or soy bean offering oil for biodiesel and residue for burning or second generation biofuels. Other seeds can be raw material for alcohol production (first or second generation) like maize, sweet or seed sorghum and others producing high yields of biomass with or without sugars.

Sweet sorghum or sugar beet can offer sugars for alcohol production and lignocellulosic material for second generation biofuels.

  • Fibre sorghum, kenaf, maize for biomass production (irrigated) tritical, lolium, oats in mixtures with legumes (rain fed) can be used for biomass production for burning or second generation biofuels.
  • How much are yielding?

Sunflower (irrigated) yielded 2.5 to 6 t/ha and up to 6 t DM/ha crop residue.

  • Rape seed (rain fed) yielded up to 2 t/ha of seed.
  • Sweet sorghum (irrigated) yielded up to 33 t DM/ha
  • This year soy bean yielded 42 t/of seed /ha under conventional or strip tillage
harvesting of biomass
Harvesting of biomass
  • Initially hay making equipment was used.
  • This was convenient as it did not require new investment and increase machinery use.
  • But these equipment proved unable to harvest long stems biomass. Chopping at different level of the stems was required.
impact to the environment
Impact to the environment
  • Removing whole cropΗ απόληψη όλης της βιομάζας from the fields can cause problems to soil fertility from:
  • Soil erosion by leaving the soil bare
  • Reduction of organic matter
  • Soil compaction
  • Reduced biodiversity
  • A research project under THALIS is going to study the effects and the possible ways to alleviate the problems
what is the future of biomass use
What is the future of biomass use?
  • To my opinion there is a major problem to be solved to help in the promotion of biomass use. We need to close the cycle. No one farmer is prepared to introduce energy crops when no transformation unit exists and no one investor will invest in the unit when the crops are not there.
  • Several pellet making plant that are growing can help to that direction
  • Second generation biofuels can be the basis of a wider biomass use.
  • Biomass use will improve the energy balance of the country as well its environmental obligations while it will create employment and income to the rural areas.
  • There is a potential in the form of residues and wastes that is not used at the moment and requires appropriate technologies to be used profitably.
  • We require research to develop energy crops and to oppimise biomass harvesting and logistics.
  • We need to study carefully the impact to the environment and develop methods to reduce them

Thank you