Posters

We have three dedicated poster sessions during the conference.  Poster presenters have been asked to prepare a 3/4 minute presentation of their poster, participants will be guided through the poster session by a session chair.

More information can be found in your conference booklet. 

Poster board

Title of poster

Presenter and Institution

41

LCA of algae production within the BioMOD project

BioMOD is an Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI) project, funded by BIS with a range of collaborative partners investigating the use of Single Use Technology (SUT) systems for bioprocessing in industrial biotechnology. Within this project, a new low cost single use fermenter system has been designed, constructed and tested with various microorganisms. One area of interest for the system is algae production, for fuel and products. Production trials of both aerobic and anaerobic fermentations have been undertaken, and the data from this used for a full Life Cycle Assessment, which has compared BioMOD to traditional steel fermenters, to understand the environmental advantages and disadvantages.

Mr Tom Bradley

ORE Catapult

42

THE “BLUE BOX” PYROLYSIS SYSTEM

The “Blue Box” pyrolysis unit is manufactured in California by American Renewable Technologies (http://www.american-renewables.com). The UK agents are Glenwood Environmental Technologies (www.glenwoodet.co.uk) based in Altrincham, Greater Manchester.
 
The Blue Box converts a wide range of biomass and organic materials plus plastics, tyre chips etc. into energy producing synthetic gas (syngas) or oil and valuable carbon products. It uses pyrolysis technology – heating to high temperature (~ 600oC) in the absence of oxygen. When used to process residual municipal waste (MSW) the Blue Box reduces waste quantities by up to 90%, resulting in a large reduction in waste sent to landfill. The syngas is a clean energy product that can be used directly in a gas engine or turbine to produce electricity. The carbon products can be burned as charcoal, used as a soil amendment material or further processed to produce activated carbon. 
 
The Blue Box is initially fired up using natural gas or propane but once it is up to temperature, around 15% of the syngas produced is used to heat the retort. Since the Blue Box system also generates its own electricity, the need for external energy supplies is very low. The system meets all requirements of California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) – claimed to be the strictest in the world. Tests on plants installed in the EU confirm that the Blue Box comfortably meets the requirements of the EU Industrial Emissions Directive (IED).
 
The Blue Box is available in two sizes capable of processing 1 tonne per hour and 2.5 tonnes per hour of biomass or waste, producing around 1MW and 2.5MW of electricity respectively (and around twice this amount of heat). This makes it ideal for community-scale energy projects. 

Mr Bob Bailey

Glenwood Environmental

43

Hydrolysis of anhydrosugars to glucose within a biorefinery: an integrated techno-economic and experimental approach

Biorefineries convert biomass/lignocellulosic material into multiple valuable product streams through a combination of physical, chemical, biochemical and thermochemical processes. In terms of biorefineries there is a wide diversity in feedstock, processes, integration and designs available meaning there are numerous processing options to produce the product of choice. Bio-oil from fast pyrolysis of biomass or waste is a mixture of acids, aldehydes, furans, phenols, water, and anhydrosugars. Anhydrosugars are potentially high-value compounds which can be converted via hydrolysis into glucose, which can then be fermented to bio-ethanol, bio-butanol or other products. The optimisation of each process stage in a biorefinery is important to achieve a high overall process yield; and the overall process which consists of a sequence of process stages. Optimisation is based on a techno-economic assessment (TEA), which identifies the most promising options based on performance as yield and costs in terms of capital and product costs. 

In this paper, the transformation of the anhydrosugars in bio-oil from a fast pyrolysis pilot plant into glucose via hydrolysis will be optimised in terms of mass and energy with the cost assessment to be carried out in the next stage of research. The mass and energy optimisation was carried out by modelling the hydrolysis process stage using Microsoft Excel. The model was developed based on experimental data, reported literature and engineering assumptions. The experimental data was obtained from laboratory scale hydrolysis experiments where cellobiose was used as the anhydrosugar model compound due to its low cost. The glucose yields were experimentally optimised by varying the temperature, reaction time, and cellobiose to catalyst ratio, then incorporated into the model. The model was further validated using data from literature to investigate the actual valorisation potential of converting cellobiose into glucose, with the aim to then model the conversion of other anhydrosugars into glucose.

Dr Jai Lad

Aston University

44

Testing innovations to simplify the scale up of microbial fuel cells

The water industry is under increasing pressure to achieve ever higher discharge standards whilst reducing their carbon footprint.  One technology that is receiving increasing interest is known as a microbial fuel cell (MFC).  A MFC is a bio-electrochemical device that harnesses the power of respiring microbes to convert organic substrates directly into electrical energy. The renewable nature of the energy generated by MFCs makes them suitable candidates for green energy research. One source of organic material suitable for oxidation in MFCs is sewage.  Using this source as a resource for MFC energy production has the additional benefits of reducing the energy required for aeration during secondary treatment, as well as reducing the quantity of sludge produced.  Existing research concentrates on improvement of the efficiency of a single cell but this research investigates innovations to treat sewage cost effectively, by providing a simple, robust design using cheap raw materials.  This will be achieved by eliminating the requirements for internal seals and membranes whilst introducing the concept of using a highly conducting, carbon based adsorbent material, developed by Arvia Technology Ltd under the trade name NyexTM, as a support for the bio-film.  Additionally this work is based on using a bio-cathode rather than expensive metal catalysts.  The source of these biologically active materials for both the anodic and cathodic compartments is sewage sludge.  Whilst initial results have shown relatively low power densities using a single cell, by operating these cells in parallel, the power can be increased in an additive form with a loss of less than 5%.

Ms Katherine Dempsey

BC Environmental

 

 

45

The techno-economic assessment for renewable production of Caprolactam

Caprolactam is produced globally in a large amount, approximately 4 billion tons per annum[1]. This synthetic polymer has high demand as a precursor for the synthesis of nylon-6 for industrial applications. In recent years, the production of caprolactam from the biomass is encouraged due to the depletion of fossil fuel. This involves conversion of C6 sugar obtained from biomass into 5-hydoxymethylfurfural (HMF) that further used for the synthesis of caprolactam [2]. Here, we have investigated techno-economic assessment for conversion of biomass into caprolactam. In this, first corn stover was hydrolysed into sugar by acid hydrolysis followed by its enzymatic conversion into HMF [3]. Then, the process of caprolactam synthesis was designed based on reported optimal method involving two step catalytic hydrogenation of HMF to caprolactone [2]. The simulation of overall process involving production and separation steps was performed in ASPEN plus. The ASPEN Economic energy [4] analyser was used to determine the cost of production and the energy integration of the overall process. The sensitivity analysis was performed with consideration of various factor for the process scale-up. 
Keywords: caprolactam, biomass, techno-economic assessment, catalytic hydrogenation, ASPEN plus
 
References:
1. Metzger, J.O.; Eissen, M. Concepts on the contribution of chemistry to a sustainable development. Renewable raw materials. C.R. Chieme 2004, 7, 569-581.
2. Buntara, T.; Noel, S.; Phua, P.H.; Melián-Cabrera, I., de Vries, J.G.; Heeres, H.J. Caprolactam from renewable resources: catalytic conversion of 5-Hydroxymethyfurfural into caprolactone. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2011, 50, 7083-7087.
3. Giarola, S.; Romain, C.; Williams, C.K.; Hallett, J.P.; Shah, N. Techno-economic assessment of the production of pthalic anhydride from corn stover. Chemical Engineering Research and Design. 2016, 107, 181-184.
4. Aspen Process Economic Analyzer. 2009, Aspen Technology Inc.
 

Dr Vaishali Thaore

Imperial College London

46

Steam-treated wood pellets: Financial and life cycle environmental performance relative to conventional pellets and fossil fuels for electricity generation

Steam-treated pellets address challenges facing “white” pellets, including low energy density, moisture absorption and degradation during storage, and high capital cost of retrofitting coal-fired generating stations for pellet use. To comprehensively assess the relative environmental impacts of the two pellet types, it is necessary to evaluate both fuel cycle (biomass supply, pellet production, combustion) and infrastructure impacts. However, energy system LCA studies commonly ignore infrastructure, assuming that this will have a small relative impact. In this study, we undertake a hybrid modelling approach that employs process-based LCA (fuel cycle) and EIO-LCA (retrofit infrastructure) to better understand trade-offs between steam-treated and conventional pellets and impacts relative to conventional fuels. Models are developed with operating data from pellet manufacturers and generating stations using steam-treated pellets, conventional pellets, and coal. 
 
While steam-treated pellet production is more energy intensive than conventional pellet production, this has a negligible impact on environmental impacts. GHG reductions of >90% can be achieved (vs coal) while air pollutant emissions (NOx, SOx, PM10) are also reduced. Retrofit infrastructure impacts are more significant for conventional pellets due to more extensive retrofit requirements. Infrastructure contributes an additional 10 gCO2eq./kWh (14% of total life cycle emissions) for conventional pellets but <1 gCO2eq./kWh for steam-treated pellets at historic capacity factors. The “fixed” impacts of retrofit infrastructure increase at lower electricity outputs. When operated to provide peak power , infrastructure contributes 50% of total life cycle GHG emissions for conventional pellets, resulting in total GHG emissions of 150 gCO2eq./kWh or approximatley double that of steam-treated pellets. While infrastructure is found to be significant, total emissions are still far less than those for the reference coal (1,015 gCO2eq./kWh) and so retrofit infrastructure does not impact the conclusion that the wood pellets can effectively reduce GHG and air pollutant emissions in the electricity sector. 

Dr Jon McKechnie

University of Nottingham

47

Life Cycle Assessment of biomass supply chains: cases study of Northern of Spain

The use of renewable energy based on woody biomass has become increasingly important in European countries. Forest-fuel systems show great potential in this respect but they require study in order to find out and develop efficient forest operations from a technical, economic and environmental point of view. The development of systems with low net GHG emissions which take into consideration the energy effectiveness and sustainability of woodfuel are crucial to increasing the potential of forest fuels in mitigating climate change. As a result, this study aims to: evaluate the baseline carbon capture of Eucalyptus plantation biomass systems in Northern Spain using the CO2FIX model in order to assess the effect of forest management on carbon storage; and to evaluate the environmental impacts of this biomass supply chain, with special attention to GHG emissions, using the life cycle assessment (LCA) approach. The system boundary considered comprised silvicutural and logging operations, trucking, chipping and biomass processing. The carbon stocks were calculated in aboveground and belowground biomass, soil organic carbon and wood products. Model parameterization was made as a function of stand age, growth data (for stems, foliage, branches and roots), climate data, litterfall rates, sawmill wood processing data, lifespan of products (long-, medium- and short-term) and their final end. Studies such as this are essential to identify the factors that affect and influence environmental impacts, and thus generate knowledge for improving forest-fuel systems and aiding forest managers in planning and decision making.

Celia Martínez Alonso

CETEMAS - Centro Tecnológico Forestal y de la Madera

48

Adaptation to drought in Populus: Is leaf growth a key trait?

Water scarcity limits global plant productivity and consequently threatens food, fuel and fibre production. Although food production remains high on the research agenda, ensuring energy security is becoming increasingly important. This research focuses on delivering new germplasm of non-food biomass for bioenergy without competing with food production, while protecting already stretched water resources.
 
Leaf morphology is a critical trait influencing plant growth, due to the nature of leaves as the photosynthetic organs of the plant. The development of leaves, both in terms of size and cell/stomatal patterning enables plants to maximise light capture while minimising water loss. Crucially, leaf growth is responsive to water availability and can be used as a sensitive indicator of genotypic adaptation to drought. Here, we investigated drought adaptation using a novel RNA-seq approach, in the model woody biomass system of Populus nigra, to elucidate drought responsiveness in genotypes originating from latitudes of contrasting precipitation and temperature. 
 
We found that expansion of mature leaves is negatively impacted by drought in the genotypes originating from less arid environments due to both reduced cell production and expansion. This occurs alongside reduced stomatal numbers, thus limiting water loss from the plant. We are linking these differences in genotypic adaptation to the underlying transcriptome and have identified candidate genes which are differentially expressed between the Spanish and Italian genotypes under drought conditions.
 
Interestingly, younger leaves, formed after the onset of drought, were able to maintain or improve leaf growth under drought in all genotypes. We are identifying the mechanisms which underlie the ability of apical leaves to maintain or improve leaf productivity in P. nigra when water availability is low. Understanding this natural genetic variation in Populus will make it possible to produce improved germplasm for sustainable biomass production in terms of water use efficiency, productivity and lignocellulosic quality.

Dr Hazel Smith

University of Southampton

50

Targeting non-structural carbohydrate concentrations to increase biogas yields in Miscanthus

Fodder maize is the most commonly used crop for biogas production. However, environmental concerns and possible future conflict with land for food production may limit its long-term use. The bioenergy grass, Miscanthus, is a high yielding perennial that can grow on marginal land and, with ‘greener’ environmental credentials, may offer an alternative. In order to compete with maize, the concentration of non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) and digestibility may need to be improved. 
Non-structural carbohydrates were quantified in 38 diverse genotypes of Miscanthus in green-cut biomass in October. The aim was to determine if NSC abundance could be a target for breeding programmes or if genotypes already exist that could rival maize for use in anaerobic digestion systems. 
 
The maximum potential yield of NSC (sugars + starch) at current levels was approximately 1.5 t ha-1. Based on our findings, a novel hybrid with a parent that we had identified as a high carbohydrate accumulating genotype, was selected and compared to the current commercially grown Miscanthus variety, M. x giganteus. The novel hybrid contained 6- fold more NSC than M. x giganteus at the end of winter. 
 
To investigate biogas production from the novel hybrid, an anaerobic digestion experiment was prepared. The results showed significant differences between M. x giganteus and our hybrid. Based on 9 biological replicates grown in random positions of the field, our hybrid had out performed M. giganteus in methane gas production. Within 3 weeks of anaerobic digestion, the hybrid produced ~ 20% more than the commercial variety; a promising improvement in gas production. 
 
Our results show that using high carbohydrate accumulating genotypes of Miscanthus could challenge maize as the preferred substrate for biogas production. The current yield of carbohydrate from maize is ~ 6 t ha, so Miscanthus is still lower, but the novel hybrid used in our study represents only the first stage of selection for this trait. Furthermore Miscanthus will yield highly on marginal land, such as flood-zones, offering a sustainable energy source that does not compete with food production or compromise the landscape through soil erosion.

Dr Jason Kam

IBERS

52

Effect of solvent extraction parameters on the recovery of oil for biodiesel production from waste coffee grounds

Spent coffee grounds are biomass residues obtained from the process of brewing coffee and they represent the main residual material from the coffee industry. The present study examines the utilization of spent coffee grounds as a cheap and abundant feedstock for biodiesel production, as they are known to contain oil, of which approximately 85-90 % are glycerides and can be transesterified to yield biodiesel. 
 
Waste coffee ground samples from different sources were characterized in terms of moisture content, particle diameter and oil content and the main experimental part consisted of solvent extraction of coffee oil from the various samples at laboratory and large scale. The effect of parameters such as extraction duration, solvent used, coffee to solvent ratio, particle size and residing moisture was examined. The efficiency of extraction at conditions of elevated temperature and pressure was also investigated, while the fatty acid profile and free fatty acid content of the extracted oil were investigated in order to determine suitability as a biodiesel feedstock.
 
The oil content of the various waste coffee samples used ranged from a minimum of 14 % w/w to a maximum of 30 % w/w on a dry weight basis. Solvent extraction optimum conditions were established as 8 hours duration and 1.8:10 w/v coffee to solvent ratio, while a ~2 % w/w moisture content and a mixture of different size particles led to high oil yields. Utilization of various solvents revealed a correlation between increasing boiling point and higher oil recovery. Experiments at elevated temperature and pressure demonstrated similar oil yields to Soxhlet extraction but reduced duration and solvent consumption. The fatty acid profile of the extracted oils was found to be similar to other biodiesel feedstocks, while an increase in free fatty acid content with decreasing extraction duration and increasing solvent polarity was observed.

Mr Ioannis Efthymiopoulos

University College London

54

Optimizing regional phenotypes of SRC-willow to improve resource use efficiency and reduce environmental impact

Biomass for bioenergy from perennial crops will contribute to the energy security. However, this is likely to have multiple impacts on the water, carbon and nutrient balance if the agro-ecosystem. Here, we explore management options to reduce the impact on water use and ways to increase resource use efficiency. The process-based model LUCASS (Light Use and Carbon Allocation in Salix Species; Cerasuolo et al., 2016) supports ideotyping for maximum light and water use efficiency testing canopy traits of short rotation coppice (SRC) willow. Calibrated for four SRC-willow cultivars with contrasting canopy size and architectures (large-closed versus small-open) the model was used to simulate scenarios exploring cultivar performance (yield and water use) in different environments. Model evaluation showed more soil water extraction and more frequent severe water stress for varieties with a large compared to small canopy. Scenarios were based on long-term weather data (West and East of England) and a set of soils with decreasing water availability (300 - 88 mm). The scenarios confirmed that broad-leaved phenotypes tend to use more water than narrow-leaved phenotypes under “dry” environment (e.g. in the south-east of England). The likelihood of small-open canopy varieties producing higher yields on a reasonably good soil in a droughty environment is small (30%). On marginal soils with less available water small canopy varieties suffer yield failure (< 5 t/ha) less frequently than large canopies. However, considering all soils the large canopy variety Endurance is less likely to remain below the economic threshold (10 t/ha) than small canopy variety Tora. The main advantage of using Tora comes from its higher water use efficiency (+0.3 to 0.8 g DM/kg). Spatially explicit results for the model upscaled for different regions in the UK should enable farmers to choose the most appropriate variety for economic and environmental reasons.

Dr Benjamin Richard

Rothamsted Research

55

Multi-criteria Evaluation of the UK Forest Resource for Small-scale Bioenergy Deployment

As part of the EUs Renewable Energy Directive, the UK is legally committed to sourcing 15% of its required energy from renewable sources by 2020. As a result, bioenergy produced from sustainably-sourced biomass can help play an important role in meeting these targets. To be deemed sustainable, the biomass used for energy generation must offer savings in greenhouse gas emissions, be cost effective and not impact on wider issues such as deforestation, habitat degradation and biodiversity loss. Consequently, there is a growing desire to locate secure supplies of sustainable biomass feedstocks. With more than 3 million hectares of mapped forests and woodland in the UK, there is a potentially significant source of locally accessible wood resource currently underutilised for energy production.
This research utilises geographical information system (GIS) software integrated with multi-criteria analysis to ascertain locations within the UK best suited for the deployment of small-scale bioenergy generation systems. The identification of potential deployment areas has been modelled upon a framework consisting of five developed indicator areas; Resource, Availability, Demand, Costs and Societal Impact. Each indicator area contains specific criterion – sourced from a wide range of geospatial datasets – which have been overlayed with one another to identify feasible areas within the UK for deployment. The criterion includes softwood and hardwood quantities, harvesting and extraction costs, existing terrain and road infrastructure and population distribution.

Mr Douglas Phillips

University of Leeds

57

Case study: Using Multiply Renewable Energy Source to manage power Demand in Brong Ahafo Region in Ghana

 

Mr Francis Appiah

Jatropha Africa Ltd

58

Import vs. Export: A case study of Indian Railways using home grown jatropha against imported Malaysian palm stearin

India’s economy is experiencing a continuous expansion of its economy.  As a result, there is an increase in the energy used in order to fuel this economic growth.  The primary source of this energy comes from non-renewable resources, which can have various negative effects – economically and environmentally- for not only India but also global.  One of the sectors which will experience this negative impacts is transport; specifically rail.  The railway in India is considered as the “Lifeline of India”- holding around  a quarter of the market.  Demand for rail is increasing and as a consequence as does the demand for energy, specifically diesel.  This has resulted in increased costs and negative environmental effects.  One of the methods which Indian Railways is tackling the negative environmental effect of using fossil based fuels is by switching to a blended bio based diesel.  They are using a 5% biodiesel blend is which is being produced in India, but the feedstock is being imported from Malaysia- but should they be using home grown stock instead?  
There are a number of campaigns from the government to encourage the growth of a jatropha in India to then turn into biodiesel. A jatropha based biodiesel to be used in locomotives has been considered by Indian Railways but it deemed too expensive- this however is from the market cost perspective.  The wider financial and economic perspective has not been analysed to assess whether home grown jatropha or imported palm stearin for the use in locomotives would support the growth of the Indian economy.  
 
This work is to assess the environmental impact of using the two different sources which will be carried out through GREET software.  These results will then be combined with the financial costs of using each of the feedstocks through a cost benefit analysis.

Ms Charlotte Stead

University of Leeds

59

Progress in upscaling Miscanthus biomass production for the European bio- economy with seed based hybrids

Field trials in Europe with Miscanthus over the past 25 years have demonstrated that interspecies hybrids such as M. x giganteus (Mxg) combine both high yield potentials and low inputs in a wide range of soils and climates. Miscanthus hybrids are expected to play a major role in the provision of perennial lignocellulosic biomass across much of Europe as part of a lower carbon economy. However, even with favourable policies in some European countries, uptake has been slow. Mxg, as a sterile clone, can only be propagated vegetatively, which leads to high establishment costs and low multiplication rates. Consequently, a decade ago a strategic decision to develop rapidly multiplied seeded hybrids was taken. To make progress on this goal we have 1) Harnessed the genetic diversity in Miscanthus by crossing and progeny testing thousands of parental combinations to select several candidate seed based hybrids adapted to European environments, 2) Established field scale seed production methods with annual multiplication factors >1500x, 3) Developed the agronomy for establishing large stands from seed sown plug plants to reduce establishment times by a year compared to Mxg, 4) Trialled a range of harvest techniques to improve compositional quality and logistics on a large scale, 5) Performed spatial analyses of yield potential and land availability to identify regional opportunities across Europe and doubled the area within the bio-climatic envelope, 6) Considered on-farm economic, practical and environmental benefits that can be attractive to growers. The technical barriers to adoption have now been overcome sufficiently such that Miscanthus is ready to use as a low carbon feedstock in the European bio-economy.

John Clifton Brown

IBERS

60

More than food or fuel. Stakeholder perceptions of anaerobic digestion and land use; a case study from the United Kingdom
 
Anaerobic digestion (AD) is of growing importance within the UK as it can make an important contribution to the countries energy and climate change targets. With the growth of the sector, discussions about competing land uses are likely to increase. For a better understanding of the synergies between agricultural land, itsrole  and bioenergy the perception of the different stakeholders will play an important role. The perception of stakeholders related to AD, feedstock and energy crop production was investigated through interviews and a stakeholder workshop. The results indicated that from an AD operator and feedstock producer perspective, on-farm AD is more an additional activity integrated into existing agricultural systems than a renewable energy technology. The risk of a shift in agricultural practices and large areas to grow energy crops for AD is seen as low for the UK. Nonetheless, land use and related challenges need to be considered as the demand for AD feedstocks increases with the fast growth of the sector. Considering the synergies between bioenergy and agriculture as well as the motivations and benefits perceived by stakeholders will play an important role in a successful policy design to provide the required emission reduction in both sectors without subverting sustainability.

Mirjam Röder

University of Manchester

61

Estimating productivity for different grassland types in the UK to optimize bioenergy and livestock feedstocks

For dedicated bioenergy crops the distribution and productivity of grassland systems is vital to understand for identifying desirable options for bioenergy feedstock production that balance competing demands. Grassland is an important land use that covers almost 70% of UK agricultural land providing feed for different categories of herbivores and ruminants and, therefore, important for the human food chain as well as regulating/supporting ecosystem services. A generic grass model was calibrated for the different UK grassland types, defined by input level and sward management. Subsets of yield data from 40 sites of multi-year experiments across the UK were used to calibrate and evaluate this model, complemented by soil hydraulic variables and daily weather records. The model showed an excellent validity for intensive and extensive pasture and natural grasslands. 
In order to produce spatially explicit grassland productivity maps for the UK, the predictive skills of this simulation model were scaled up by deriving sward-specific meta models. Scenario yields were generated for a set of representative sites with different soil types and long-term historic weather records. Together with the aggregated physically meaningful inputs these scenario yields formed three different panel data sets, from which statistical models were established and cross-validated with independent data. The meta-models were then used to calculate the spatially explicit productivity, for intensive, extensive and natural grassland in the UK under different climate change scenarios, respectively. Applying these spatially explicit biomass yields across the whole country, the national average productivity was calculated to be 10.5 (±2.8), 7.8 (±2.1) and 2.6 (±0.7) t ha-1 for intensive, extensive and rough-grazing grassland types, respectively. In a second step, a spatially explicit UK model of grassland production was derived based on existing land cover map to analyse and optimize UK bioenergy value chains under sustainable intensification and land sharing objectives. 

Goetz Richter

Rothamsted Research

62

Sustainable integration of bioenergy and food systems that benefit the resource-poor in rural communities

Strategies for efficient and affordable energy sources that can enhance rural development are needed. Agricultural and food process residues, which currently receive low economic returns and experience disposal problems are potential feedstocks for developing bioenergy systems that can be intergrated within the food systems with minimal competition on resources. Such integration has to be done through innovations in the value chain management. However, positive synergetic integration depends on long-term availability of adequate quanties and strategic application of the bioenergy in the food value chain. The paper showcases positive integration of food and bioenergy systems in rice production where bioenergy production from rice straw and husks powers irrigation pumps to enhance off-season production of rice, thus increasing both food production and feedstock for more energy generation. In another case, the paper demonstrates the intergration through modelling conversion of food process residues from maize, cassava and palm oil to energy  forms required to power energy limiting unit operations within the food process. In both case studies, the sources and causes of challenges for developing sustainable bioenergy systems include unalignment of the residue supply chain and bioenergy value chain, which requires whole systems approach. Strategic alignment of the bioresource supply chain and bioenergy production is vital to advancing both food production and bioenergy that benefit rural communities and can give guidance to  investments in infrastructure for storage, processing of the residues, and development of techniques and capacity for managing new risk arising from the integrated process.The information generated from this assessment is of benefit to policy formulation, technology development  and management innovations in the harvesting, post harvesting handling and utilisation systems for the residues.

Dr Annie Chimphango

Stellenbosch University

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