Colombia’s Palm Oil Tree Might Be the Answer

Energy, Renewables    Oct 18, 2018 2:13 PM

Colombia is the fourth palm oil producer worldwide, but only 10% of the tree is leveraged for energy production. Here is how the product can be efficiently used.

For each kilo of ‘raquis’, or spare piece of palm tree harvest, the country could produce 0,83 KW/h of energy after developing a gasification process to produce gas synthesis.

The process involves a mix of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and methane, said Juan Solarte, expert in Chemical Engineering from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, who designed a process that allows energy generation with the help of an intern combustion motor to leverage the ‘raquis.’

“Colombia does not leverage the trees’ left overs such as leaves, steams, seeds and empty fruit bunches; they are usually burnt or left in crops,” he said, adding that his team aims to show authorities how much more efficient processes related to palm oil tree might be if they are done the right way.

According to El Nuevo Siglo, Solarte’s team traveled to Puerto Salgar (Cundinamarca) to bring about 80 kilos of ‘raquis’, since that area is known for its palm oil trees. They then processed the raw product at the Biotechnology and Agro-business Institute and found a cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin content of 42, 23 and 18%, respectively, in them.

That, the source added, allows identifying potential uses of this raw material, and use it accordingly to its potential, preventing waste.

Bottom-line: Initiatives like this will change Colombia’s path towards a more sustainable development.

Aside from bringing it a step closer to complying with its international environmental goals, Solarte’s discovery can also turn the country into an international benchmark in sustainable energy production.



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