Did you know that agricultural waste like maize cobs, groundnut shells, rice husks or even wood chips and prunings can be used to generate electricity? Using a 2nd generation bio-fuel process called gasification, where biomass feedstock is heated up >700ºC to produce a combustible gas, usually coined as syngas or producer gas, which generates regular electricity that can power rural businesses, communities, schools and clinics with locally available resources, once seen as waste.
In addition, a by-product of the process is that some of the carbon is captured as bio-char or charcoal. This bio-char can be used as briquettes for cooking or to increase soil fertility, which will ultimately yield higher quality crop output.
Biomass provides for a flexible, reliable and low cost waste-to-energy strategy. This is particularly interesting in rural areas where energy is expensive to generate and agricultural waste is abundant. Biomass gasifiers can be supplied from a wide variety of biomass sources, from agriculture and food processing activities to lumber processing. Under seasonal variability, this supply chain can be secured and/or complemented with forestry residues from a sustainable management programme e.g. short-rotation cycle plants or coppicing plants are usually appropriate.
By transforming waste into renewable energy, we create a sustainable closed-loop cycle by adding value to what was once perceived as “garbage”. These green energy solutions offer a residue management solution where the by-product is reintroduced back into the soil, sequestering carbon whilst producing life-changing pre-paid energy services to a community, farm, factory or local business.
Thus this renders biomass gasification as a carbon-neutral emission source since plants draw CO2 out of the atmosphere to grow (photosynthesis), releasing it back upon burning to generate energy – in some instances is can even be carbon-negative as carbon is rendered inert after gasification, effectively being sequestrated in the soil in the form of bio-char (whereas biogenic carbon is recycled naturally in the carbon cycle by oxidising with O2 to create CO2).
Now, with KUDURA generating electricity by means of biomass gasification, maize flour can be produced locally by using the remaining cobs or rice can be parboiled to ensure maximum quality using its husks.
The integration of energy alternatives like biomass gasification technology into the KUDURA sustainable development solution provides a series of benefits to off-grid communities when local conditions are favourable, namely:
Affordable energy – KUDURA can generate electricity at 0.1-0.4€/kWh for whole rural communities on biomass
New power source for remote areas where no diesel fuel or national grid are available or when solar-PV based systems cost get prohibitive for high power demand systems or productive energy uses (like grain mills or kilns)
Easily scalable power – from 20 up to 200kW
Creating added value for agriculture/food processing businesses using waste in a sustainable closed loop fashion.
Fuel flexibility – different feedstocks can be alternated to cope with seasonal availability or combined together in case of scarcity.