On-farm banana methane trial commenced in Queensland

Growcom, the Queensland based horticultural services company, has completed the major infrastructure required for its Banana Waste to Energy project which hopes to transform a laboratory study into a commercially viable energy producing plant.

The project is expected to confirm research findings made by the Division of Environmental Engineering at the University of Queensland in 2005 which demonstrated the technical feasibility of producing methane gas from banana waste.

Infrastructure which has been built on the banana plantation of Bush Holdings at Tully conveys the waste banana material to a purpose-built anaerobic digester where gas will be produced. Loading of the digester has now commenced, utilising the pre-existing chopper unit on the host farm. Mulched banana waste enters the digester automatically via the modified chopper.

Project Manager and Growcom Board Member Keith Noble explains:

An over-riding principle of the project has been to use locally available materials and expertise wherever possible. The system must also integrate with existing farm practices. If on-farm digesters are to have a commercial future they must add to farm efficiency and be simple to operate.

Once methane production commences (nominally two weeks from loading), gas output and quality data will be monitored to assess actual energy production. This will establish the degree of gas cleanup required and gas compression timing. The compressed methane will be stored in 100 litre cylinders.

A diesel ute is being converted to run on the banana gas, as will an on-site generator for electricity production. The figures derived from these practical applications will determine the project’s overall viability and potential for replication on other farms.

The project is being funded by the Sustainable Industries Division of the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Source: Growcom via AutoblogGreen

India to produce bio-CNG from sugarcane

With the help of a European development bank, a German gas company and a German energy research organisation, three sugar factories from Maharashtra, India, will produce a biogas transport fuel made from sugarcane biomass.

Biogas can be produced efficiently from any type of biomass via anaerobic digestion. The renewable gas contains around 60 to 70% methane (CH4) with the remainder being CO2 with minor amounts of contaminants and trace gases. For it to be used as a transport fuel in vehicles as a replacement for CNG, it has to be upgraded, with the CO2 scrubbed out. The fuel then becomes ‘bio-CNG’, a very clean, renewable gaseous energy source. The fuel is already being used on a relatively large scale in Europe, most notably in Sweden, Austria and Germany.

Source: Biopact (thanks for the tip Geoff)

Biomethane recognised in European Parliament

The International Association of Natural Gas Vehicles is trumpeting the success of the Morgan Report in highlighting

the future that gaseous fuels, specifically natural gas and biomethane, should have in meeting future transportation fuel requirements in Europe

to the European Parliament. See Natural Gas Vehicles and Renewable Biomethane Finally on European Agenda for the full article.

If anyone knows of similar activities the Australian Government is undertaking to ensure our future transportation fuel requirements will be met please let us know. Hmmmm, is that silence I hear?