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Overview of bamboo biomass for energy production

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  • Vietnam Initiative for Energy Transition

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Bamboo biomass energy has great potential to be an alternative for fossil fuel. Bamboo biomass can be processed in various ways (thermal or biochemical conversion) to produce different energy products (charcoal, syngas and biofuels), which can be substitutions for existing fossil fuel products. Bamboo biomass has both advantages and drawbacks in comparison to other energy sources. It has better fuel characteristics than most biomass feed stocks and suitable for both thermal and biochemical pathways. The drawbacks of bamboo biomass includes establishment, logistic and land occupation. It can also impose negative impacts to environment if not well-managed, therefore, selection of bamboo as an energy dedicated feed stocks need to be evaluate carefully to avoid or minimized any possible risks. Bamboo biomass alone cannot fulfill all the demand for energy. It needs to combine with other sources to best exploit their potential and provide sustainable energy supply.
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Overview of bamboo biomass for energy production
An Ha Truong, Thi My Anh Le
To cite this version:
An Ha Truong, Thi My Anh Le. Overview of bamboo biomass for energy production. 2014. <halshs-
01100209>
UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCES AND TECHNOLOGIES OF HANOI
DEPARTMENT OF RENEWABLE ENERGY
OVERVIEW OF BAMBOO BIOMASS
FOR ENERGY PRODUCTION
Truong An Ha
Le Thi My Anh
Master of Renewable Energy Program
Intake 2013-2015
Hanoi, July 2014
2
SUMMARY OF MAIN FINDINGS
Bamboo biomass energy has great potential to be an alternative for fossil fuel. Bamboo
biomass can be processed in various ways (thermal or biochemical conversion) to produce
different energy products (charcoal, syngas and biofuels), which can be substitutions for
existing fossil fuel products.
Bamboo biomass has both advantages and drawbacks in comparison to other energy sources.
It has better fuel characteristics than most biomass feed stocks and suitable for both thermal
and biochemical pathways. The drawbacks of bamboo biomass includes establishment,
logistic and land occupation. It can also impose negative impacts to environment if not well-
managed, therefore, selection of bamboo as an energy dedicated feed stocks need to be
evaluate carefully to avoid or minimized any possible risks.
Bamboo biomass alone cannot fulfill all the demand for energy. It needs to combine with other
sources to best exploit their potential and provide sustainable energy supply.
Both studies and investment in bamboo plantation for energy purposes are increasing greatly.
In Vietnam, energy generation from bamboo is a new concept despite the fact that Vietnam is
rank fourth in bamboo production. However, efforts are undergoing to make bamboo biomass
energy closer to its potential.
"This document is published under the personal responsibility of its authors, in their capacity as
aster's students at the University of Science and Technologies of Hanoi. It has been reviewed by Dr.
Minh Ha-Duong, Directeur de recherche CNRS."
3
TABLE OF CONTENTS
SUMMARY OF MAIN FINDINGS ....................................................................................... 2
Figures…………... .............................................................................................................. 4
Tables ……………………………………………………………………………………………..4
INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................ 5
1. Characteristics of bamboo as a good source of biomass ................................ 6
1.1. Physiological characteristic ..................................................................................... 6
1.2. Fuel characteristics ................................................................................................. 7
2. Methods to produce energy from bamboo biomass ......................................... 9
2.1. Direct combustion ................................................................................................. 10
2.2. Pyrolysis ............................................................................................................... 10
2.3. Gasification ........................................................................................................... 11
2.4. Biochemical conversion ........................................................................................ 12
3. Assessment of the suitability of bamboo biomass as a source of energy ... 13
3.1. Compare to traditional fossil fuels ......................................................................... 13
3.2. Compare to other types of renewable energy ....................................................... 15
3.3. Compare to other types of other energy crops ..................................................... 17
3.4. Potential risks of using bamboo biomass ............................................................. 19
3.4.1. Environmental and ecological risks ...................................................................... 19
3.4.2. Economical risk ..................................................................................................... 19
4. Current situation of bamboo biomass for energy ........................................... 19
4.1. Bamboo biomass energy in international context ................................................. 19
4.2. Bamboo biomass energy in Vietnam ...................................................................... 20
4.2.1. Bamboo biomass potential in Vietnam ................................................................. 20
4.2.2. Bamboo biomass in national plan and current situation of bamboo biomass in
energy production ............................................................................................................. 20
4.2.3. Existing projects .................................................................................................... 21
CONCLUSION .................................................................................................................. 23
4
Figures
Figure 1. Countries with the largest bamboo resource .......................................................... 7
Figure 2. Main bioenergy conversion routes ........................................................................... 9
Figure 3. A diagram of combustion process from bamboo biomass to electricity ................. 10
Figure 4. Pyrolysis reactions and product ............................................................................ 11
Figure 5. Gasification general process flow .......................................................................... 12
Figure 6. Anaerobic digestion pathway ................................................................................. 13
Figure 7. Simpified process of producing ethanol from bamboo biomass ............................ 13
Tables
Table 1. Area of bamboo forest ............................................................................................. 7
Table 2. Fuel characteristics of some bamboo species .......................................................... 8
Table 3. Reported maximum above-ground productivity of bamboo stands. .......................... 9
Table 4. Pyrolysis types and associated products ................................................................ 11
Table 5. Typical composition of syngas ................................................................................ 12
Table 6. Heating value comparison between bamboo biomass and fossil fuel .................... 14
Table 7. Summarized table of characteristics of fossil fuels and biomass ............................ 15
Table 8. Efficiency of different electricity generation technologies ....................................... 16
Table 9. Land used by different technologies ....................................................................... 17
Table 10. Properties of some common biomass feedstocks ................................................ 18
5
INTRODUCTION
Bamboo is a term used to describe a group of large woody grasses (including 1250
species) that normally grow in warm and humid condition. Bamboos are distributed mostly
in the tropic, but they can naturally live in subtropical and temperate regions except for
Europe.
Bamboo has been planted and used by human for thousands of year for many purposes.
Bamboo have strong, light and flexible woody stem which is suitable to use as construction
material. Bamboo fibers are used to make paper, textiles and board. In many Asian
countries, bamboo shoots of some species as a source of food. In recent years and in the
urge of finding alternative energy source to replace fossil fuel, which is running out of stock,
a new way of utilizing bamboo has been added to the list. It is the exploitation of bamboo
biomass as a source to produce different type of energy, for instance, electricity and
biofuels.
This new approach need to be study carefully to utilize bamboo biomass in the most
effective way as well as to avoid or minimize any possible risks that can be imposed to the
environment and human life. However, the number of studies in bamboo biomass is still
limited. In Vietnam, bamboo is very popular for being a source of food and material for
housing and furniture therefore, the potential of bamboo mass has not been verified.
Within the scale of this report, bamboo biomass potential will be discuss, particularly in
Vietnam context, to provide an overview and to assess the feasibility of planting bamboo
for energy production.
6
1. CHARACTERISTICS OF BAMBOO AS A GOOD SOURCE OF BIOMASS
1.1. Physiological characteristic
In taxonomy, bamboo falls to family Poaceae (grass family), subfamily Bambusoideae
which contains 1250 species. Despite of being a grass, they still have “woody stem” or
culm that can reach 15-20m in height or even 40m with the largest species known
(Dendrocalamus giganteus). Bamboo is considered to be the fastest growing plant in the
planet with the recorded grow speed of 91cm per day (“Fastest growing plant,” n.d.). The
harvestable time for bamboo is about 3-5 years in comparison to 10-20 years for most
softwood (Cultivation of Bamboo and its bioenergy production, n.d.) It also has high
biomass productivity, self-regeneration and can tolerate poor soils so that it can grow in
degraded land that which makes it one of the best-known biomass resource.
Another physiological feature of bamboo is that most of the species flower very
infrequently with intervals as long as 60 to 120 years. Normally, all plants in the population
will flower at the same time and after that the plant will die. This phenomenal, called “mass
flowering”, has restricted the commercialization of many species. As the consequence of
rarely flowering, bamboo plantation are usually established from vegetative material rather
than from seedlings.
Bamboo normally grow in warm and humid environment (average annual temperature of
15-20ºC and annual precipiation of 1000-1500mm) (Scurlock et al., 2000). Natural and
planted bamboo forest can be found in 3 continents including Asia, Africa and South
America. Bamboo forest covered more than 36 million hectares worldwide. It is most
abundant in the monsoon area of East Asia, especially in India and China with 11.4 million
ha and 5.4 million hectares covered, respectively. Over the last 15 years, the bamboo area
in Asia has increased by 10 percent, primarily due to large-scale planting of bamboo in
China and India (Lobovikov et al., 2007). The inventory of bamboo resource worldwide is
illustrated in table 1.
7
Area of bamboo (1000ha)
1990
2000
2005
% of global total
(in 2005)
21,230
22,499
23,620
65
2,758
2,758
2,758
28
-
10,399
10,399
7
23,988
35,656
36,777
Table 1. Area of bamboo forest (Lobovikov et al., 2007, p. 12)
Figure 1. Countries with the largest bamboo resource (Lobovikov et al., 2007, p. 11)
1.2. Fuel characteristics
Bamboo has a number of desirable fuel characteristic such as low ash content and alkali
index. The high heat value (HHV) of bamboo is higher than most agriculture residue. The
moisture content in bamboo is relatively low (8-23%)(Scurlock et al., 2000) in comparison
to other type of plant. Comparison of bamboo and other type of biomass will be discussed
in section 3.3. Fuel characteristic of some bamboo species are shown in table 2 below.
Properties
8
Bamboo
species
Moisture
(%)
Ash (%)
Volatile
matter (%)
Fixed
carbon (%)
Higher
heating
value
(kJ/kg)
Bambusa
deecheyama
14.30
3.70
63.10
18.90
15.700
Dendrocalamus
asper
5.80
2.70
71.70
19.80
17.585
Phyllostachys
nigra
13.62
0.41
72.27
13.7
19.27
Phylotachys
bambosoides
9.54
0.53
75.55
14.38
19.49
Phyllostachys
bissetii
21.97
0.9
64.99
12.14
19.51
Table 2. Fuel characteristics of some bamboo species(Scurlock et al., 2000; Sritong et al., 2012)
1.3. Productivity
The productivity of bamboo stands is summarized in the table below. If planted in region
with optimal conditions and well-managed, bamboo can reach maximum yeild of nearly
50,000 kg/ha/year.
Location
(latitude,
where
available)
Mean annual
temperature
and
precipitation
Total ANPP
(maximum
number reported)
t ha-1 year -1
Above-ground
wood
productivity
(average
reported) t ha-
1 year-1
Special stand
features
(elevation,
management)
and other
remarks
Southern
India (11ºN)
31ºC; 600 mm
47.0
N/A
Highland
(540m)
fertilized and
irrigated
Central Japan
(35º)
N/A
24.6
15.5
Japan
N/A
18.1
N/A
Georgia, USA
(32ºN)
N/A
9.1
Sustainable
yeild
Central Chile
(40ºS)
4000mm
10.5
6.2
Mountain
(700m)
9
Zhejiang,
China (30ºN)
16ºC; 1800mm
10.5
7.7
Managed by
harvesting
Alabama, USA
(32ºN)
N/A
7.4
Probably
fertilized
Thailand (14º)
28ºC; 950 mm
8.1
N/A
Northern India
(25ºN)
26ºC; 830 mm
7.7
2.2
Central China
(32ºN)
1200 mm
4.5
3.1
Mountain
(2750 m)
ANPP figure
corrected for
grazing
Table 3. Reported maximum above-ground productivity of bamboo stands(Scurlock et al., 2000) (ANPP= above-
ground net primary productivty. All data are reported as overn-dry biomass.
2. METHODS TO PRODUCE ENERGY FROM BAMBOO BIOMASS
There are several ways to recover energy from bamboo biomass, each process results in
different products, which can be utilized in many aspects. Energy production from bamboo
biomass can be classified into 2 main ways: thermochemical conversion and biochemical
conversion. In the former methods, heat is used to transform bio-matters in bamboo
biomass (mostly cellulose) into various products. Biochemical conversion involves the
action of microorganism to transform biomass to biogas or biofuel. An diagram of
bioenergy conversion is provided below.
Figure 2. Main bioenergy conversion routes (Boyle, 2004)
10
2.1. Direct combustion
Dry bamboo biomass can be used as firewood to generate heat for cooking, boiling and
warming in households. It is a good source of energy for remote area where people cannot
access electricity.
Direct combustion of bamboo biomass can also applied in industrial scale, for example, in
form of co-generation to produce heat and power in thermal power plant for electricity
production or other plants such as cement or steel. The co-generation helps reduce the
amount of fossil fuel used in these plants.
The technical principle of combustion is very simple. It consists in burning any fuel
composed of carbon and hydrogen atom, under controlled conditions. The product of
combustion process is water (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2). Combustion usually takes
place inside a chamber, followed by a heat exchanger where the hot gas stream transfers
its heat to another fluid (water or air). This fluid then can be used for power production
through an engine or turbine. When combustion heat water, the heat exchanger is called
a boiler. Water boilers are used for large-scale steam generation at medium and high
pressure (>20 bar) (Kerlero de Rosbo and de Bussy, 2012).
To achieve good efficiency, combustion control is required to completely burn out of the
biomass in order to maximized energy recovered and to avoid and tars production and
emission of non oxidized gases such as carbon monoxide (CO) and volatile organic
compounds (VOC) (Kerlero de Rosbo and de Bussy, 2012). Factors that affects biomass
combustion process includes air supply, temperature control and biomass quality and
distribution.
Figure 3. A diagram of combustion process from bamboo biomass to electricty(Kerlero de Rosbo and de Bussy,
2012)
2.2. Pyrolysis
Pyrolysis is the thermal (“pyro”) degradation (“lysis”) of organic materials at a moderate
temperature (350 to 600ºC) in the absence of oxygen. The products of pyrolyisis process
consist of charcoal (solid phase), condensable pyrolysis oils (heavy aromatic and
hydrocarbons) and tars (liquid phase) and con-condensable gases or syngas (gaseous
phase). Charcoal can be used as a secondary fuel the same way that coal has been used.
11
Syngas, consists of carbon monoxide, hydrogen and methane, can be burnt in a boiler for
electricity generation or in a gas engine for power production. Pyrolysis oils can be further
processed in “bio-refinery”, very similar to the current crude oil refinery process, to produce
bio-fuels and other useful chemical products. The principle of pyrolysis is illustrated in
Figure.3.
Figure 4. Pyrolysis reactions and product (Kerlero de Rosbo and de Bussy, 2012)
The quantities of pyrolysis products are depend on the operating conditions (temperature
and residence time). For instance, high temperature (500-600ºC), short residence time,
also called flash pyrolysis, will maximized the production of condensable oils. In contrary,
low temperature (350-400ºC) and long residence time, called carbonization process, will
maximized the production of charcoal and syngas. The typical proportions of product in 2
types of pyrolysis is shown in the table below.
For ton of dry mater
Flash pyrolysis
Carbonization
Gas (kg)
110
380
Oil (kg)
730
190
Charcoal (kg)
160
430
Table 4. Pyrolysis types and associated products (Kerlero de Rosbo and de Bussy, 2012)
2.3. Gasification
Gasification is the production of a gaseous fuel from a solid fuel. It consist a complex
thermal and chemical conversion of organic material at high temperature under restricted
air supply. Gasification process includes both a pyrolysis step and a partial combustion. It
is occur at very high temperature, typically between 750ºC and 1200ºC, with little oxygen.
Products of gasification process include syngas and ash. The syngas is a mixture of
combustible gases (carbon monoxide, hydrogen and methane) and incombustible gases
(carbon dioxide, nitrogen and other gases). Around 40% of volume of syngas made of
combustible gases that can be used for power or heat generation. The heating value of
12
syngas depends on oxygen supply source. If air is used, the produced syngas has a low
calorific value (4-7 MJ/m3), however, if oxygen-enriched air is used, the heating value can
reach 10-15 MJ/m3. In practice, as the oxygen enrichment process is expensive, air is
normally used. (Kerlero de Rosbo and de Bussy, 2012)
Syngas
CO
H2
CH4
CO2
N2
%vol
(dry)
20
15-18
3
10-12
rest
Table 5. Typical composition of syngas (Kerlero de Rosbo and de Bussy, 2012)
In comparison to combustion, gasification shows lower thermal losses and better energy
recovery of the fuel. The theoretical efficiency of fuel conversion by gasification under
optimal conditions is 95% mass,dry (Kerlero de Rosbo and de Bussy, 2012). In reality, due
-to heat losses and secondary reaction, the efficiency is reduced to 70-80% energy in the
biomass recovered in produced gases.
Figure 5. Gasification general process flow(Kerlero de Rosbo and de Bussy, 2012)
2.4. Biochemical conversion
In biochemical conversion pathway, different strains of microorganisms are utilized to
produce various biofuel products. The basic principle of biochemical conversion is the
fermentation of sugar or other substances contained in biomass by microorganism into
ethanol, methane and other fuels, chemical and heat. There are two main ways of
bioconversion:
Anaerobic digestion is the biological degradation of organic matters in biomass by
microorganisms (anaerobic bacteria) with the absence of oxygen (anaerobic). This
process produces biogas (methane) (60%) and CO2 (40%)(Girard, 2013).
13
Figure 6. Anaerobic digestion pathway (Girard, 2013)
Fermentation is the decomposition of starch/sugar by microorganisms (yeasts and
bacteria) to produce ethanol.
Figure 7. Simplified process of producing ethanol from bamboo biomass
3. ASSESSMENT OF THE SUITABILITY OF BAMBOO BIOMASS AS A SOURCE OF
ENERGY
3.1. Compare to traditional fossil fuels
Traditional fossil fuels, including oil and product from oil refinery, natural gas and coal, are
widely used because they have series of characteristic of good fuel such as convinient,
producing large amount of energy and very stable. Fossil fuels are considered as a
portable form of energy so that they are easy to use, store and transport. They are the
concentration form of energy so that they are very combustible and produce a large
amount of energy in comparison to other type of fuels such as biofuel or wood fuel. Fossil
fuels are the highest producers of calorific value in terms of energy(Kukreja, n.d.).
Fuel
Lower heating value
(MJ/kg)
Higher heating value
(MJ/kg)
Natural gas
47.141
52.225
Gasoline
43.448
46.536
Bamboo
biomass cellulose sugar ethanol
Pretreatment
with heat,
acid and
enzyme
Hydrolysis
using
enzyme
(cellulase)
Fermentation
(yeast or
bacteria)
14
Coal
22.732
23.968
Bamboo biomass
(Phyllostachys bissetii)
N/A
19.51
Table 6. Heating value comparison between bamboo biomass and fossil fuel(Boundy et al., 2011; Scurlock
et al., 2000)
Lower heating value and higher water contain means that we need more volume or mass
of biomass to produce the same amount of energy. This will also be a constrains in storage
and transportation of biomass.
Another point is that the fossil fuel quality extracted from different reserves is quite unified
while the biomass and biofuel quality varies substantially. The current engines are
designed for fossil fuel consumption only so that the biofuel from biomass does not suitable
for these kind of engines. Thus, when we make transition to biofuel, either these engines
need to be redesign or biofuel quality need to be improve to meet the standards.
However, there are also a lot of issue regarding to the use of fossil fuel. The two biggest
problems associated with producing energy from fossil fuels are resources limitation and
pollution. As we all know, fossil fuels are non-renewable sources which means they cannot
refill itself and they are running out of stock in an alarming rate. It is estimated that the oil
peak (the point when oil production begins to decline) will occur in 40 years, and for coal
and natural gas, the estimated peak will be in 220 years and 60 year, respectively (Astier,
2013, p. 10). The shortage of fossil fuels means that their price will rise continuously in the
future. The other serious problem is that they release large amount of CO2 a major
greenhouse gas to the atmosphere, hence, contribute to global warming and climate
change. This amount of CO2 has been captured by the ancient plants millions of years ago
and now it is added to the atmosphere in a much shorter period. The earth may not be
able to respond and to adapt to this huge change promptly so that the environment and all
living things, including human, might suffer from it negative consequences.
Because of these issues, people tend to find the alternatives of energy sources to reduce
our dependence to fossil fuels and biomass is considered to be a promising replacement.
Bamboo biomass (dry form) can combust directly so that it suitable for domestic use such
as cooking and warming in remote area and for poor people. It is able to use biomass in
co-generation plant to produce electricity. Biomass can go through different processes
which produce char (similar to coal), combustible gas and biofuel which has similar
characteristics of fossil fuel. In general, biomass is capable of taking over the role of fossil
fuel in the future of energy sector.
The two importance advantages of biomass over fossil fuel are sustainability and level of
CO2 emission. Bamboo biomass is a renewable source which means it can re-generated
in a sustainable rate for extraction. Although the processing of biomass (thermal
conversion and biochemical conversion) also release CO2, it does not contribute to the
increasing of greenhouse gases concentration in the atmosphere because the CO2
emitted from these process is the very same carbon dioxide in the atmosphere fixed by
photosynthesis within the bamboos.
15
Another aspect need to be discuss is the price. Currently, the electricity price of power
plant using fossil fuel is higher than electricity generated from biomass. However, due to
fossil fuel shortage, the situation will reverse in the future. When this happen, biomass will
be more cost-effective than fossil fuel and the transition will occur naturally.
Criteria
Fossil fuel
Bamboo biomass
Availability
+
Extracted directly from
existing reserve and use
directly after extraction
_
Have to plant and harvest
after a period of 3-4 years
Energy produced
(per same mass)
+
Much larger
-
Much smaller
Logistic
(transportation,
storage)
+
Easy to transport and
store
-
More difficult (need larger
space for transportation
and storage)
Quality
+
Unified
-
Vary
Sustainability
-
Non-renewable source
+
Renewable source
CO2 emission
-
Increase the
concentration of CO2 in
the atmosphere
+
Not increase the
concentration of CO2 in the
atmosphere
Table 7. Summarized table of characteristics of fossil fuels and biomass
3.2. Compare to other types of renewable energy
Beside biomass, other available type of renewable energy sources include
hydropower, wind and solar. All of these sources has been recognized by human from
the early time to generate power (hydro, wind) and heat (solar and biomass). In
current situation of energy demand and usage, the goal of renewable resources
development is to replace fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are using to generate heat (in
cement or steel plants), power (in combustion engine in industry and vehicles) and
electricity. With available technology, hydro, wind and solar can now produce grid
connected electricity, however, they cannot compensate for the heat and power
provided by fossil fuel. Biomass, on the other hand, can cover all these aspect. It can
be use to generate electricity in a thermal power plant and generate heat in related
plants or in can be transformed into biofuels to feed combustion engines. The products
of biomass conversion process can go through bio-refinery to supply chemicals
needed in many other industry that currently provided by oil refinery.
Because of this reason, in this section we only compare biomass with other type of
renewable energy on the ability to generate electricity. In the part below, several
sustainability criteria will be used to compare different types of renewable energy
sources in term of electricity production.
- Efficiency
16
Technology
Efficiency range
Photovoltaic
4-22%
Wind
23-45%
Hydro
>90%
Biomass
16-43%
Table 8. Efficiency of different electricity generation technologies(Evans et al., n.d.)
- Greenhouse gases emission
Wind, biomass residue and hydro have very low emissions with average of 25,30 and
41 gCO2e/kWh. Most emissions from wind power are the result of turbine
manufacture. Biomass residue emissions are from the collection and transportation
of low energy density fuel. For hydro, the dam construction contributes most
emissions of greenhouse gases (methane in most cases). Photovoltaics and biomass
energy crop (including bamboo biomass) have low to moderate average emission.
Similar to wind power, emissions from photovoltaics come from the making of
photovoltaic panel. In case of biomass energy crop, emissions are associated with
plantation, fertilizers used, collecting and transportation.(Evans et al., n.d.)
- Water use
Water use can be divided into 2 types, consumption and withdrawal. Consumption is
the water that is evaporated or lost from the system that cannot be return to the
source. Withdrawal is the total amount required to operate the technology and
includes water available for recycling.
Wind power has negligible water use (1g/kWh) since it does not require water for
operation. Photovoltaic also use very little water (10 g/kWh) for cleaning the panel in
some cases.
Hydropower has the largest water withdrawal (13,600 kg/kWh) as it needs the water
flow to produce electricity. However, this water is then return to the system. The water
loss (11kg/kWh) in hydropower is due to evaporation. Biomass residue has large
amount of water used (3.2 kg/kWh) but it is still 10 times less than dedicated energy
crop (34 kg/kWh) because for crops, they need a lot of water to grow. Therefore, in
term of water used, bio-energy crops such as bamboo biomass is the least
sustainable.
- Availability
Wind and sunlight are available everywhere, however, wind speed and sun radiation
is limited by the geological and topological characteristic of a certain site. Therefore,
the right amount of wind and sunlight is not available in every places. For example,
wind turbines can only operate with the wind speed in the range from 5 m/s to 25m/s.
17
Hydropower also has limitation as we cannot place as many dam as we want in a
river system because this will have great impact to the environment.
Biomass shows the highest availability since we can access biomass sources
anywhere in every countries. However, if we look at the particular case of bamboo
biomass, it only available in the region that has favorable conditions for the bamboo
to grow.
- Land use
Land occupation is the area required for a technology to operate. It does not convey
the way the land is used and how much damage is done to the site as a consequence
of the technology. The land used for different technologies in demonstrated in the
table below.
Technology
Land occupied (m2/kWh)
Photovoltaic
0.045
Wind
0.072
Hydro
0.152
Biomass energy crop
0.533
Biomass residue
0.001
Table 9. Land used by different technologies (Evans et al., n.d.)
According to table 8, biomass residue has negligible land use. Photovoltaic and wind
require a significant of land area. However, the use of land for both type is
sustainable (does not change the land quality significantly). Moreover, this is the total
land use for the whole photovoltaic plant and wind farm. If the photovoltaic panels
are mounted in the building and rooftop, this area will be reduced. Same for wind
farm, the actual land occupied by wind turbine is only 1-10% of the total area stated
in the table. The remaining can be use for grazing, agriculture and recreation.
Hydropower land occupation is the second highest due to the reservoir. The land
needed for dedicated energy crops is extremely high (4 times of that for hydropower)
and the cultivation of these crops also impact the soil quality.
- Technology limitation
The intermittent nature of wind and solar radiation is the biggest limitation of these
technologies when the electricity generation is injected to the grid.This require
storage capability for these system, thus increase the pirce of electricity generated.
On the contrary, this is not an issue for hydro and biomass because fuel can be
collected and store until there are sufficient amount available to operate without
interruption. Therefore, electricity generated from biomass and hydropower plants is
much easier to manage and control for grid connected purpose
3.3. Compare to other types of other energy crops
18
Bamboo biomass has relatively higher heating value than other type of biomass which
means it is a good candidate for direct combustion (e.g co-combustion in thermal power
plant). The moisture contain of bamboo is similar to rice husk and rice straw but much less
than bagasse and corn stalk. The low moisture contain reduce the energy input to dry the
biomass, hence, increase the efficiency of utilization. The fuel characteristic of some
biomass feedstocks is provided in the table below.
Type of biomass
Moisture %
Ash %
Volatile
matter %
Fixed
carbon %
Higher
heating
value kJ/kg
Rice husk
12.05
12.73
56.98
18.88
14.638
Rice straw
10.12
10.42
60.87
18.80
13.275
Bagasse
50.76
1.75
41.99
5.86
9.664
Palm shell
12.12
3.66
68.31
16.30
18.446
Corncob
40.11
0.95
45.55
13.68
11.198
Corn stalk
41.69
3.80
46.98
8.14
11.634
Bamboo
(Bambusa
Deecheyama)
14.30
3.70
63.10
18.90
15.700
Bamboo
(Dendrocalamus
asper)
5.80
2.70
71.70
19.80
17.585
Table 10. Properties of some common biomass feedstocks (Sritong et al., 2012)
However, using bamboo as a dedicated energy crop for large scale biomass production
will have some drawbacks compare to other energy crop (Poppens et al., 2013) such as:
It is difficult to mechanize harvesting bamboo because only mature shoots should
be harvested selectively.
Non-energy applications in most cases have a more extractive market
Bamboo has to be established vegetative rather from seeds, making large
plantings relatively expensive
It takes several years before a stand can start producing.
Quality for thermal conversion is lower than for wood.
Conclusion
Bamboo biomass has both advantages and drawback in comparison to other type of
energy source. It is hard to evaluate the suitability of bamboo biomass in energy sector in
general. Instead, we should put it in context to assess whether to choose bamboo to be
planted and use as a sustainable energy source.
19
3.4. Potential risks of using bamboo biomass
3.4.1. Environmental and ecological risks
Dr Jun Borras, associate professor of rural development studies at the International
Institute of Social Studies, the Hague, adds that the large-scale farming of any single crop
will necessarily bring negative consequences (Rees, 2011). This is also true for the case
of bamboo plantation for biomass. Demand for bamboo biomass may lead to mass
conversion of natural forest into bamboo monoculture forest which might lead to
biodiversity loss (Poppens et al., 2013). Another concern is that bamboo plantation can
compete with food crops for land. Although bamboo can tolerate poor nutrition soil, no
guarantee can be given that the blooming of bamboo plantation will not take over the
fertilized land used to grow food crops. Further more, if bamboo species is imported for
plantation, there will be a risk of invasion of new species (Schill, n.d.).
3.4.2. Economical risk
There are risks associated with forest investment and the most important risks for bamboo
plantation are poor growth, biological, physical and management risks (Ongugo et al.,
2012).
Poor climate conditions could affect the bamboo growth and delay harvesting. This could
be due to poor fertility and poor establishment methods or poor protection and care.
Bamboo plantation also vulnerable from pests and diseases. The physical risks include
fire and drought.
The potential risks can affect the productivity of bamboo and thus affect the investment
return of a bamboo plantation projects. Also, the bamboo selection together with biomass
quality will have impacts to the efficiency of energy conversion from bamboo biomass.
4. CURRENT SITUATION OF BAMBOO BIOMASS FOR ENERGY
4.1. Bamboo biomass energy in international context
Recently, bamboo has emerged as a new source of biomass for energy production. Many
studies and research has been conducted to evaluate the suitability of bamboo as a source
of energy. Studies has been carried out in many countries (mostly where bamboo are
abundant such as China, India, Indonesia and Thailand). Many studies refered to bamboo
as a competent alternative for biomass resource. However, research on bamboo potential
at country level is not adequate in some countries which has substantial bamboo
resources such as Vietnam and Thailand. However, attention to bamboo is these countries
are being raised and more and more studies are being conducted and more project on
bamboo will be invested.
Many projects on bamboo energy are operating or implementing all over the world. In
Africa, bamboo biomass projects are mostly used to replace firewood or produce charcoal
for domestic use. For instance, a four-year project “Bamboo as sustainable biomass
energy” is carried out in Ethopia and Ghana to provide bamboo charcoal for local people
20
to fulfill energy demands in sustainable way and generate income as well as to takes
pressure off other forest resource.The project is implemented by International Network for
Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) and funded by European Commisison.
India has the largest bamboo forest area, therefore, bamboo biomass projects are
developing fast in this country. Here, bamboo is not only used in direct combustion way,
instead, the technologies applied to convert bamboo biomass are quite diverse and
advanced in comparison to the projects in Africa. Bamboo biomass is used for co-
generation to produce electricity or go through gasification and pyrolysis process.
These studies together with implementing projects will provide us a clearer look to the
future of bamboo biomass as a sustainable energy source.
4.2. Bamboo biomass energy in Vietnam
4.2.1. Bamboo biomass potential in Vietnam
In Vietnam, bamboo has been used mainly for housing materials, handcraft production
and food at village level for local market and floor production at an industrial scale for
export markets.Bamboo is among the 10 fastest growing sectors for export according to
Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency.
The estimated cultivation area of bamboo in Vietnam is 800,000 hectares of plantation
with an average annual yield of 10 to 13 ton per hectares and 600,000 hectares of mixed
forest, comprised of up to 70% of bamboo.(Heinze and Zwebe, 2012)
In Southern Vietnam, bamboo is concentrated in Lam Dong province which contains 6.2%
of bamboo plantations and 16% of mixed bamboo forest. In Northern of Vietnam, bamboo
production is concentrated in the four north-eastern provinces of Tuyen Quang, Son La,
Bac Kan and Yen Bai. These five provinces contribute 7% of bamboo plantation and 43%
of mixed forest. (Heinze and Zwebe, 2012)
4.2.2. Bamboo biomass in national plan and current situation of bamboo biomass in
energy production
The current policies framework of Vietnam not yet include the regulation for bamboo
biomass for energy production. However, separated plans for development of biomass
energy and bamboo plantations in Vietnam has been issued. Decision no./11/2011/QD-
TTg dated 18th February 2011 of the Prime Minister on Incentive policies for development
of rattan sector stipulated the investment incentive in taxes, financial support, land lease
and so on for entities who invested in rattan plantation and production. In Decision
no.177/2007/QD-TTg dated 20/11/2007 of the Prime Minister on Bio-energy development
21
study report for period up to 2015, outlook to 2025 the objectives and target for bio-energy
has been established as per following:
o 2010: development of models for experimenting and using of bio-energy,
meeting 0.4% gasoline and oil demand of the country
o 2015: production of ethanol and vegetable oil is 250,000 tons, meeting 1%
of gasoline and oil demand of the country
o 2025: production of ethanol and vegetable oils is 1.8 million tons, meeting
5% of gasoline and oil demand of the country
Bio-energy from bamboo is a new concept and has not attracted attention from the
government as well as from private sector. Currently, biomass for energy production are
mostly municipal waste and animal waste biogas, ethanol production from cassava and
molasses and co-generation of bagasse.
Vietnam already has 6 bio-ethanol plants run on cassava, however, the operation of these
plants is facing with great difficulty in term of financial and cash flow. At the time of
investment of these plant, the national policies stated that by June 2012, it is mandatory
to use E5 gasoline (gasoline contain 5% of ethanol) for vehicles nationwide. In fact, this
regulation has not been implemented yet and there is no timeline for this regulation to take
effects in practice. This constrain make it impossible for bio-ethanol from bamboo to be
invested in the current context of Vietnam.
Nevertheless, the market is still open for bamboo biomass, for example, using bamboo
biomass in co-generation plant to reduce the amount of fossil fuel used and the
commercialization of products from bamboo biomass thermal conversion process
(charcoal, syngas and oil). These thermal pathway is suitable for biomass that rich in
cellulose therefore it less suitable for agricultural residue (such as rice husk or straw) and
municipal solid waste. Hard wood is not as efficiency as bamboo because the harvestable
time is much longer. Thus, bamboo is the best candidate to produce biomass for
gasification and pyrolysis process.
4.2.3. Existing projects
As mentioned in section 6.1, Lam Dong province has the most potential in bamboo
biomass. In fact, this province is known as one of the pioneer province who launch “pilot
projects of plantation, management and protection of Thyrsostachys siamensis bamboo
and Dendrocalamus bamboo”. Therefore, a project called “Bio-energy source from
sustainable bamboo” has been proposed to implement in Lam Dong.
22
The project is hosted by Biocandeo Company (Netherlands), Bamboo Matter Co., Ltd and
International University-Vietnam National University (IU-VNU).
After surveying the situation of bamboo resources in the province, the proposed project
area in 3 districts of Bam Lam, Di Linh and Dam Rong has about 20,000 hectares of mixed
and pure bamboo forest. The aim of the project is to generate bioenergy from sustainable
bamboo from these forest area so that it will create the economic value of local bamboo
and help protect and improve natural forest area and increase income for poor people
living near the forest. The biomass from bamboo will be used to produce sustainable
biofuels with the potential to export through the support of the Council Certified Forest
Management (FSC). (Bioenergy source from sustainable bamboo, n.d.) The project has 5
phases:
o Phase 1: Complete feasibility study on the project
o Phase 2: Training and providing protection system to manage bamboo with
at least 5 training field staffs and five demonstration pilot sites. Training at
least 500 farmers/workers for the management of projects and harvesting.
Establishment of collection system.
o Phase 3: Get forest certification
o Phase 4: Start the production of biomass. The proposed project will
produce at least 10,000 tons of bamboo biomass. Biofuels will be produced
and marketed internationally.
o Phase 5: preparing for next steps: complete assessment report and
publication of the project study for the community, local government
agencies as a basis for forest owners to expand the business in the context
of regional resources and the relative status of bamboo forest application.
The estimated time to complete the phase of project study is 3 years, 20 years following
the period of sustainable development. Currently, the first research of phase 1 “Nutrient
partitioning, fuel properties and biomass estimation of Bambusa procera (Lo O) in natural
stand” has been completed.
23
CONCLUSION
Bamboo has been planted and used by human for very long times. However, utilization of
bamboo biomass for energy generation purposes is a relatively new approach. Recently,
bamboo receive a lot attention as being a competitive bio-energy crops. Although many people
consider bamboo as a “green gold”, concerns have been raised mostly in sustainable and
environmental aspects.
In theory, bamboo biomass can replace fossil fuel since it is a renewable resources and can
be processed to make different kinds of fuels (solid, liquid and gaseous fuels). Various
technologies can be applied to transform bamboo biomass into other form of energy including
thermal conversion (direct combustion, gasification and pyrolysis) and biochemical
conversion. The products of these processes which can be commercialized are charcoal,
syngas, oil and ethanol.
Bamboo biomass has both advantages and disadvantage in comparison to other renewable
resources as well as other biomass feed stocks. Compare to new renewable technology such
as wind and photovoltaics, its strength point is that beside of electricity generation, bamboo
biomass can produce other energy products (bio-fuel). Moreover, electricity generation from
bamboo biomass plant is easier to be injected to the grid. The drawbacks of bamboo biomass
is land occupation and water use.
Compare to most energy crops, bamboo biomass has better fuel characteristics. It can grow
in degraded land so that it require less care and less compete with food crops for land.
However, bamboo takes time to mature and is hard to harvest. The plantation of bamboo is
also more expensive because it established vegetatively instead of seed.
Just like other energy dedicated crops, plantation of bamboo also projects some
environmental risks including biodiversity decrease, species invasion and land competition
with food crops.
To obtain sustainability in bamboo plantation for energy purpose, evaluation should be made
carefully based on actual situations. It is also a good approach to combine various type of
renewable resources to fulfill energy demand rather than depending solely on some certain
sources.
In many countries, a number of bamboo biomass energy projects are being implemented,
ranging from domestic use to industrial scale. Vietnam has a great potential of bamboo
biomass. However, the use of bamboo in term of energy production are still in initial stage. It
require more studies to assess the ability and the sustainable way to utilize this potential
resource.
24
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... However, it should be noted that the use of bamboo biomass alone cannot meet the world's energy needs. Therefore, it must be combine with other sources to make the best use of its potential and ensure a sustainable energy supply [34]. Bamboo biomass has a relatively high calorific value compared to other types of biomass, which means that it is a good raw material for direct combustion (e.g., co-incineration in a combined heat and power plant). ...
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Bamboo is one of the fastest growing and highest yielding renewable resources with multiple uses in the world. Lack of seedlings in sufficient number has generally been a major constraint in establishing more bamboo plantations. This study investigated the efficiency of regenerating Bambusa vulgaris through cuttings at Busogo sector, Musanze district, using vertical and horizontal methods with and without water treatment. The experiment consisted in a RCBD (Randomized Complete Block Design) with 4 replications. The growth and sprouting of the 64 cuttings were monitored for three months and 18 days (105 days). In terms of planting method, horizontal planting method showed best sprouting percentage of 68%. In terms of treatment used, horizontal planting method without using water treatment showed slightly better sprouting percentage of 60%. The results further show that about 87% of sprouts had between 0 and 30 cm height and 98% of sprouts had basal diameter ranging from 0 to 20 mm only 105 days after planting. Indeed, the horizontal planting methods provided highest survival rate of sprouts than the vertical planting method (74%) of planted cuttings. Furthermore, the results show that, 105 days after planting, cuttings with horizontal method were more productive in terms of root development. In terms of planting method using water treatment, the horizontal planting method with water treatment showed highest rooting percentage (44%). Therefore, farmers should be trained and encouraged to use horizontal planting method using water treatment in order to get better results in regenerating bamboo through cuttings.
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Food insecurity and poverty have been affecting the livelihood of the rural poor since ages. It is posing a major challenge to the sustainable development of a developing country like India. In such countries, land and soil degradation has emerged as an offshoot of excessive population pressure over the limited resources. Agricultural production in the developing countries has seldom matched the needs of the people. Agro forestry has the potential to arrest land degradation and improve site productivity through interaction with trees, soil, crops and livestock. Agro forestry is also a potential option for improving rural livelihood and enhancing integrated management of the natural resource base. Agro forestry systems can play an important role in carbon mitigation programmes through carbon sequestration and can reduce the pressure on existing natural forests by providing fuel, fodder, timber and wood products to the farmers. The current interest in agro forestry in India has transformed the land-use system in terms of economic sustainability. This article briefly reviews about the concept of Poplar and Bamboo based agro forestry systems as adopted extensively by the farmers on a commercial and environmental conservation scale. These systems play a significant role to meet the economic, social and environmental concerns of the villagers.
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The sustainability parameters of electricity generation have been evaluated by the application of eight key indicators. Photovoltaics, wind, hydro, geothermal, biomass, natural gas, coal and nuclear power have been assessed according to their price, greenhouse gas emissions, efficiency, land use, water use, availability, limitations and social impacts on a per kilowatt hour basis. The relevance of this information to the Australian context is discussed. Also included are the results of a survey on Australian opinions regarding electricity generation, which found that Australian prefer solar electricity above any other method and also support wind power, with over 90% support, however coal, biomass and nuclear power have low acceptance rates at 30% or less. Most Australians, greater than 90%, believe that the government is not doing enough to support renewable electricity.
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Bamboo is the common term applied to a broad group (1250 species) of large woody grasses, ranging from 10 cm to 40 m in height. Already in everyday use by about 2.5 billion people, mostly for fiber and food within Asia, bamboo may have potential as a bioenergy or fiber crop for niche markets, although some reports of its high productivity seem to be exaggerated. Literature on bamboo productivity is scarce, with most reports coming from various parts of Asia. There is little evidence overall that bamboo is significantly more productive than many other candidate bioenergy crops, but it shares a number of desirable fuel characteristics with certain other bioenergy feedstocks, such as low ash content and alkali index. Its heating value is lower than many woody biomass feedstocks but higher than most agricultural residues, grasses and straws. Although non-fuel applications of bamboo biomass may be actually more profitable than energy recovery, there may also be potential for co-production of bioenergy together with other bamboo processing. A significant drawback is the difficulty of selective breeding, given the lack of knowledge of flowering physiology. Further research is also required on propagation techniques, establishment and stand management, and mechanized harvesting needs to be developed.
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ECNIS is a Network of Excellence within the European Union’s Sixth Framework Programme, Priority 5: Food Quality and Safety. It brings together some of the best European research groups in a concerted effort to achieve improved understanding of the environmental causes of cancer, of the potential of diet to prevent cancer and of the ways in which heredity can affect individual susceptibility to carcinogens, with the ultimate aim of reducing the cancer burden in Europe. ECNIS is coordinated by Prof. Konrad Rydzyƒski, Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Sw. Teresy 8, 91-348 Lodz, Poland. This review has been prepared as part of ECNIS Work Package 8: Evaluation of the contribution of biomarker technology to the identification/quantification of environmental carcinogenic exposures.
An introduction to biomass technology and environment
  • P Girard
Girard, P., 2013. An introduction to biomass technology and environment.
Ecological and socio-economic study on bamboo farming in the western Mt.Kenya region. Kenya forestry research institute and National museum of Kenya
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Ongugo, P., Langat, D., Musila, Wi., 2012. Ecological and socio-economic study on bamboo farming in the western Mt.Kenya region. Kenya forestry research institute and National museum of Kenya.
Electrical valorization of bamboo in Africa
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Kerlero de Rosbo, G., de Bussy, J., 2012. Electrical valorization of bamboo in Africa. ENEA Consulting.
Bamboo: can it live up to the "green gold" hype? The Ecologist
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Rees, E., 2011. Bamboo: can it live up to the "green gold" hype? The Ecologist.
Advantages Of Fossil Fuels -Conserve Energy Future. Conserve-Energy- Future
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Kukreja, R., n.d. Advantages Of Fossil Fuels -Conserve Energy Future. Conserve-Energy- Future.