The African Oil Palm is the crop with the highest oil yield per hectare. This explains why the Oil Palm industry is growing significantly around the world to provide fats and oils needed mostly by the food industry.
The sector is currently under pressure to ensure more sustainability to its practices. BIOTEC is part of this dynamic, providing relevant and tailor made solutions at environmental, agricultural, energy and social levels.
Each palm oil mill generates liquid by-products known as Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME). This effluent holds large amounts of organic matter, equivalent to those generated by densely populated cities, thus they pose a significant risk of environmental contamination.
On the other hand, these by-products have a fertiliser value and a significant energy potential. The bio-digestion of the "POME" in bio-digesters of the BIOTEC RAC model generates 50 kWh per tonne of fruit.
The cane is the most important source of sugar in the world, as well as bio - ethanol, on par with corn.
While cane production is approaching 50 tons of dry matter per hectare per year, sugar and bioethanol production account together for 15 tons. The difference between these two numbers are the by-products (leaves, buds, bagasse, sludge, wastewater and vinasses) where the nutrients are exported and concentrated by the cane harvest. Some of them, such as bagasse, is an attractive biomass used as source of steam and electricity and in some cases as raw material for paper. Good management of these by-products in their entirety is an opportunity for agribusiness to obtain value-added to its core business and ensure long-term sustainability.
BIOTEC brings industry knowledge and experience in the handling of organic by-products to the cane industry, mainly composting of the filter mud cake (with or without vinasses), biodigestion of vinasses with energy production through biogas (steam, electricity, bio-methane), treatment / wastewater use and organic fertilization.
Finally, BIOTEC promotes the organic fertilisation of sugarcane plantations with: filter mud cake, compost, purge of biodigesters sludge and treated vinasses. For the sugarcane industry, these technologies represent additional business opportunities. This set of solutions, ensure a sustainable business management.
Currently, consumers increasingly worry about what they consume, and are aware of the importance of a healthy lifestyle that also respects the environment. In this environment the overall trend shows a significant increase of the consumption of fruits and derivatives such as citrus fruit juices. As the production increases to meet this demand, so does the generation of solid by-products (pulps and peels) and liquids (effluents). With the experience of BIOTEC, these by-products (usually considered as waste) are converted in raw materials for renewable energy and fertilization.
BIOTEC proposes its integrated management of waste to handle and add value to the by-products created during the process of extracting the juice and essential oils from lemon, tangerine, lime and orange.
The acidic effluents from the process of citrus fruits can be used to generate biogas to meet thermal energy demand of this agro-industry (replacing fossil fuels). Lastly, the treated wastewater can be recycled to fertilize the fruit orchards.
From 2016 BIOTEC is applying its concepts to other fruits, including pineapple.
Use of biogas energy (thermal and electrical)
Composting of garden waste, leaves and pulp
Liquid fertilization of plantations with treated effluent
BIOTEC offers customised solutions for other types of effluents and organic waste
The historical purpose of BIOTEC has been to transform the agro-industrial by-products into main raw materials, fertilizer and in energy (biogas), adapting to the Tropic the European experience in biodigestión of grass silage and corn. However, the world needs much more energy than the by-products and agro-industrial effluents can produce. Many regions of the world which do not have any electricity, or that only have diesel power plants, are coincidentally located in tropical areas, with high availability of land and few opportunities to market agricultural products. For this reason, BIOTEC has decided to focus its R & D efforts in the production of energy (biogas) from tropical grasses and forages ("energy" crops for the Tropics and "Southern Cone" of Latin America).
The generation of biogas from biomass, for later use in power plants, differs from the combustion of biomass in boilers for generation of steam and electricity with steam turbines. This second option, relatively common in the world, takes advantage of the Rankin cycle, and is limited by two key constraints:
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Assembly of pasture and forage farms
Biodigesters building for pasture and forage
Electricity generation and distribution of renewable natural gas