Jatropha has been a total failure in the world. Thinking that there will be much demand for Biodiesel from Jatropha,thousands of Government Land was taken on lease by some vested interests in India. Many people undertook cultivation of Jatropha in Madagaskar,Kenya,Tanzania etc. But they were not successful.
I had been advocating Biofuel from Agave and Opuntia besides Biogas for power production. Unfortunately in India, we are in most cases imitators but not innovators. First Box Type solar cooker was from India. But often we adopt western designs. Unless west recognizes, we don’t recognize.
I submitted a research project on Biofuel from Agave and Biogas from Opuntia to Government of India. If any industrial houses/organisations are interested in promoting this in India I have collaboration with leaders in the field from Mexico,UK.US and Australia.
Here is more important information:
Agave's lower lignin content (down to 2.4%) and higher cellulose content (62%) makes it ideal for production of Biofuel. Agave can be intercropped with Opuntia(Prickly Pear) which will be used to generate biogas for renewable electricity generation. Biogas power generators from KW size to MW size are commercially available from Germany,China,Vietnam etc. The cost of production per Kwh with Opuntia can be as low as US$ 3.00 per million BTU. On an annual basis,one hectare of agave can yield upto ten times the ethanol one hectare of sugarcane in Brazil. Agave to Ethanol's CO2 e emissions are lower than sugarcane and corn.
Water - footprint -- agave does not have any. Agave uses water,light and soil most efficiently amongst plants/trees on earth. Agave is packed with sugars, on an annual basis one hectare of agave yoelds upto 10 thousand gallons of ethanol(from its sap/juice) and 6500 gallons of cellulosic ethanol. No other plant in the World has such potential.
I have a plan: We have SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONES (SEZ). Just like that we can start YOUTH ECONOMIC ZONES (YEZ). Wastelands can be given to youth on a lease basis(about 10 acres per youth) and 1o such youth can form a co-operative. They can cultivate fast growing multiple use plants like Agave and Opuntia. Power generation plants can be set up at local level. This way there will be decentralised power. This fits in Mahatma Gandhiji's Concept of AGRO INDUSTRIES utilising local resources and resourcefulness. Youth can be given short term training in Agricultural operations. This way we can provide employment to Youth besides bringing waste and vacant land under cultivation.
What is more, large plantations of Agave and Opuntia lead to climate Stability as both are CAM plants. Crassulacean acid metabolism, also known as CAM photosynthesis, is a carbon fixation pathway that evolved in some plants as an adaptation to arid conditions. In a plant using full CAM, the stomata in the leaves remain shut during the day to reduce evapotranspiration, but open at night to collect carbon dioxide (CO2). The CO2 is stored as the four-carbon acid malate, and then used during photosynthesis during the day. The pre-collected CO2 is concentrated around the enzyme RuBisCO, increasing photosynthetic efficiency.
Here is an interesting analysis on Jatropha in India.
“The Indian experience The National, a newspaper published in Abu Dhabi in its May 11, 2009 issue, published an article titled; ‘Jatropha seeds yield little hope for India’s oil dream.’ The article referred to a project that was embarked upon by Professor R. R. Shah in 2005, when he sent a team to Navsari Agricultural University’s most parched and desolate strip of land, a farm in the Vyasa district of India’s northern state of Gujarat. The team was instructed to set up a model farm for jatropha, the hardy shrub with oil-rich seeds that were then emerging as one of the most promising alternatives to crude oil. At the time, jatropha’s promise seemed boundless. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, the president of the University, even used his presidential address that year to extol the virtues of jatropha. “Jatropha can survive in the most arid wastelands”, the story went. And so vast barren swathes of India could be put to productive use. It is inedible so it would not cause a backlash by competing with food crops, it said. The government, according to the publication announced a scheme to plant 13 million hectares, enough to generate nearly 500,000 barrels of jatropha oil per day. But as Prof Shah’s project in Vyasa nears its end this month, the dean of agribusiness at Navsari is sceptical. “There is no yield,” he says. “The literature said that with dry land, after four years’ growth, you can get a yield of 1kg per plant. For us, it is hardly 200g per plant.” The consensus of the team of experts after evaluating India’s jatropa projects from 22 agribusiness colleges across the country was that, indeed, jatropha would grow on wasteland, but would give no appreciable yield. “This is not a wasteland crop. It needs fertiliser, water and good management. Yes, it grows on wasteland, but it doesn’t give you any yield,” the publication quotes Dr Suman Jha a researcher on Prof. Shah’s team as saying. If this observation is anything to go by, then the persistent argument that jatropha could grow on unproductive agriculture land should be looked at again. This argument also challenges the assertion that investors are not a threat to smallholder farmers,whose productive agriculture land stands to be annexed by powerful multinationals for the cultivation of biofuel crops. Non of the projects cited in The National story, including D1 Oils’, a London-listed biofuels company, which has planted about 257,000 hectares of jatropha, mainly in India was successful. The company moved far too early. The report indicated that D1 is also having some nasty surprises on yield. It said in 2006 that it aimed to produce 2.7 tonnes of oil per hectare from areas planted with its new E1 variety, and 1.7 tonnes of oil from normal seed. That is equivalent to about 8 tonnes and 5 tonnes of seed per hectare respectively, or 3.5kg and 2kg a plant. According to the report, Pradip Bhar, who runs the company’s D1 Williamson Magor Bio Fuel joint venture in India’s north east, admits he has yet to achieve a fraction of that. “Hitting 500g is the challenge,” he says. “Mortality is quite high. But if we can reach 500g in two years’ time, after that the bush will continue to grow. Our expectation is that after the fourth year we will hit 1kg. The 1.5kg mark we haven’t touched as yet.” Those are the results from the fertile state of Assam, According to the report. The yields in other, dryer states such as Jharkand and Orissa, he says, are much worse. Mr Bhar intends to hold the area under cultivation steady at about 132,000 hectares this year. As his plantations account for more than half of D1 Oils’ Jatropha crop, the company’s goal of planting 1 million hectares by 2011 looks like a tough one. He is concentrating instead on ensuring his small contract farmers continue tending it for the two or three years needed before it becomes profitable. This challenge is one of the reasons why Prof Shah doubts the 500,000 hectares of jatropha the Indian government estimates has been planted so far. Only last month, he unsettled an annual meeting of the universities researching jatropha and India’s National Oilseeds and Vegetable Oil Development Board by reporting that only 5,000 hectares was actually under plantation in Gujarat, half the official estimate, the report added. The Indian experience can provide sufficient evidence for a careful, and thorough, cost-benefit analysis of Ghana’s jatropha dream, before the bubble most probably bursts. From May 27 to 28, an international conference on jatropha in Ghana would be considering the benefits of the crop to the global economy. Hopefully, the conference would not hype the benefits of jatropha and neglect the possible pitfalls. An objective consideration of all the possibilities, including that of possible failure, as the Indian experience has shown so as to minimize any collateral damage in the long term is necessary for the move forward. The companies investing in jatropha and other non-food crops for the production of biofuels including the ones from India, have lots of lessons to learn from India’s example, so as not to repeat the mistake
Developing countries like ours which have millions of hectares of waste lands can transform rural economy by going in for Agave and Opuntia plantations on a massive scale. As one Economist put it, IT IS NOT THE LACK OF RESOURCES BUT RESOURCEFULNESS THAT EXPLAINS WHY PEOPLE PERISH IN THE MIDST OF PLENTY.
Renewable Energy Expert
Glad to know that India plans to have massive deployment of Renewables.
Here is a BLUE Print for Renewables Usage in India:
1. Promote Offshore Wind Farms.
2. Promote small wind generators as decentralised systems
3. Roof Top PV Solar
4. Creating Renewable Energy Fund. Investment by Income Tax Payers to be exempted
under Section 80C.
5. Wind Farm Co-operatives on the lines of those in Germany,Denmark etc.
6. Solar Co-operatives on the lines of those in US.
7. Energy Conservation by replacing most of the inefficient 2.6 million irrigation
electric pump sets(About 30% power can be saved). Agriculture consumes much power
next only to Industry
8. Reading lights with reliable and quality dual powered(Solar/Electricity/USB) to save
9. Biofuel/Biogas for power generation and cooking from Agave/opuntia care-free
growth,regenerative and CAM plants. In China Biogas for cooking is supplied trough pipes.
In the vast vacant land in India Agave and Opuntia can be grown and power generation
established as decentralised locally.
10. Simple Box Type Solar Cooker with frying facility( 3D approach,Design,Demonstrate and
11.Cost effective vertical and cylindrical,mobile solar water heater design.
12. Low head Micro hydro device to generate power from the head of falling water from the
delivery pipe of Electric/diesel pumpsets.
13. KW size Biogas power/cooking plant for villages.
14. Simple solar drier
15. Growing CAM Plants in Waste and Vacant lands which act as Carbon Sink.
In carrying out the above innovative projects services of Experts in the field,NGOs etc. can be utilised by the Government.
Renewable Energy Expert
EXcellent. The simplest way to scare birds is to create bird idols with a casette inside resembling cries of dirrefet birds with timer. It can be switched off in the nights. This is cheapest way than the' radar, mobility, and digital recordings of distress calls — and also other alarming noises like the sound of helicopters — is able to drive birds away along a specific trajectory over long distances.'. Perhaps the investment is so high that one person can be employed from 9 am to 5 pm with a mike to set cries of birds.
Bird Scare Flash Tape. Used in agricultural industry to control and scare birds and pigeons by making use of holographic images, these tapes are appraised among clients as it moves in the wind with changing colors and patterns.. Some features of this Bird Scare Flash Tape are as follows:
• Simple to use
BIRD SCARE TAPES
Irri-tape pigeon scarer is effective, according to the distributor, because it flashes as it moves in the wind with constantly changing colours and patterns. The flashing ripple effect unsettles the target species and is perceived as a danger signal. Viewed from a distance, Irri-tape has a reptilian sheen and as a result may beperceived as a predator by other birds, thereby scaring them. The perceived movement of Irri-tape, courtesy of the holographic images, may even be seen by the target species as a rival for food or territory.
Irri-tape not only scares pest species of birds visually but also by making a metallic rattling sound when caught in the wind. The combination of audio and visual scarers in one product makes Irri-tape pigeon scarer an interesting bird control option.
COLORS-SILVER AND RED
WOUND ON 38 OR 24MM PAPER CORES
1000 TAPES PACK
SHRINK PACKED IN CARTONS
ALSO SINGLE PACKING -BLISTER ALSO AVAIALBLE FOR MOQ 10,000 PCS
There is a proverb used for BUTTERING PEOPLE(CROW CATCHING), but is it so difficult to scare Crows?
Local methods used by Farmers to scare birds in Agricultural fields and while sowing Groundnut(Peanut) need to be studied by Solar PV project promoters as well as wind energy promoters.
Renewable Energy Expert
How about quality and reliability?
Some times problems like bird deaths are blown out of proportion. In India there are ambitious Solar Projects in the offing. I suggest the following from common sense point of view.
During sowing of groundnut(peanuts) seeds crows and birds are a menace as they take away the seeds. Local Farmers in India have a simple method. They kill a crow and tie it on a stick in the middle of the field. The crows encircle the stick but won't descend. I suggest a Doll of Crow,Dove and different birds can be erected in the middle of the solar PV field. Another method they employ is to fire crackers. Due to sound and smell birds won't descend. Also in houses when millets are dried in wiinowing basket a black cloth is tied to a stick. Thus the crow menace is avoided.
Let us seek the users suggestions(Farmers) and we can study them scientifically and standardise them.
MODERNISE THE TRADITIONAL - TRADITIONALISE THE MODERN.
As Mao put it,rich work for the rich poor also work for the rich there is hardly anybody who works for the poor. Why Global organisations like The World Bank always think of financing big projects? It is small projects which are decentralised and which can give quick results in poverty alleviation. Even Box Type Solar Cooker has not penetrated in rural areas in India. For a country of 1.2 billion population the Bos type solar cookers sold(but not all used) are about 0.6 million ! Why? Technology is culture specific while science is universal. There is no provision for frying in Box Type solar Cookers. In South India no meal is served with out fried curries. You can't have two systems for cooking one for boiling and another for frying. Why Box Type solar cookers which costs 1/3 of a good bicycle even with subsidy are not popular while millions of bicycles are there in India. No body uses useless things.
It is organisations like The World Bank,UNIDO and NGOs like Bill Gates Foundation who should fund for design of Innovative systems in energy,water etc. There is enough talent and ingenuity among people in developing countries. I have a novel scheme for DEeveloping Countries.
The Challenge today is to harness science to the chariot wheels of progress and to press science as a deliberate tool to serve the basic needs of the common man and contribute to the economic, social, and cultural transformation of the country.
If the benefits of science and technology are to reach the vast majority of our people who live in country side, some serious thinking is called for to develop science to serve the needs of these people. Science must be relevant and percolate to reach these people and involve the people in the process of development. This calls for organisation and management of science and developing science to suit the development of these people.
The new awareness – culminating in quest for Innovative Technology has three components : the realization that man’s inner needs are as great as, if not greater than, his outer requirements ; the appreciation of the inadequacy of our institutions for rethinking and the acceptance of the fact that the world is evolving not towards a plurality of civilizations.
The Innovative Technology arises from the new awareness. A prior commitment to enlightened cosmologies is a necessary pre-condition for the development of the Innovative Technology. As such, the Innovative Technology :
• integrates values with knowledge
• replaces linear thinking of old science by the multi-dimensional systems approach ;
• is multi-cultural, that is, it carries different hopes and aspirations for different groups of people ; and
• gives rise to alternative Innovative Technologies.
The Innovative Technology is based on a new concept and is intended for the well-being of men and his habitat. It encourages direct innovation with human needs and environmental imperatives in view. It is unique to people and their culture, it is their technology and will meet only their needs and their requirements.
Three essential ingredients to evolve such Innovative Technology are :
• Mass scientific network: This is basically an extension network covering agriculture and related activities, public health and industry.
• Local problem-solving capability: Formalized groups within rural industries and other production units:
(a) to articulate its demand for additional inputs ;
(b) to establish outward linkages into the national S&T system ; and
(c)to extend inward linkages into the extension network serving the locality.
Content and Scope of Innovative Technologies
In this field several terms have sprung up and have been indiscriminately used like (a) Intermediate technology or low technology, (b) appropriate technology, and © Innovative Technologies.
(a) Intermediate or Low Technology
Intermediate technology has meant many things to many people as a type of technology which lies in between the primitive technology and sophisticated technology. The concept of intermediate technology comes very near the one propagated by Mahatma Gandhi the Father of our Nation – but this would hardly satisfy our scientists in these countries, who, by training and temperament, are keen on undertaking internationally fashion oriented sophisticated research. Development of intermediate technologies, by and large, has thus remained a programme to be worked at technician’s level.
(b) Appropriate Technology
Appropriate technology is a priori a normative concept which implies that its delimitation can take place only after the norms are decided. These norms change with every shift in time and place. At the advent of Industrial Revolution, technological innovations aimed at diversifying product design and cheapening the production cost for meeting the needs of rapidly expanding consumer market. Appropriateness of technology was considered in terms of profit, with or without a concern for social goals.
Innovative Technology is defined as development of technologies or production systems, which are not only appropriate to a social situation at a particular point of time, but also is free from the deleterious effects such as alienation or environmental imbalances. It considers the possible social and environmental changes, and this has built-in flexibility to adjust changing needs. Since such technologies would have to be essentially based on the integrated development of the total region, the concept becomes more wide in its economic, social and political perspective. At the scientific level it poses new challenges for the scientists to devise new technologies that are not available anywhere. It compels the scientists to come out to the people and try to understand them, their needs, their environment, their traditional technologies and skills, understand the science behind such skills based on experience and observation, and then evolve new techniques of production to suit their resources and native genius and meet their needs.
The quest for Innovative Technology means many things to many people and they are summarised as below:
To people it may mean
- gainful employment ;
- self-help, and competence to utilize their skills and other resources;
- inculcation of scientific temper : with the association of cultural change, they may turn for help to science rather than to quackery;
- acceleration of development with multiplier effects ; and
- a feeling of adventure and pride in achievement
To the Planners and Policy Makers, it may mean
- a different approach to grass-root planning
- science is used deliberately as a tool for growth and selective changes;
- better utilisation of resources (including wastes);
- more and better distributed employment opportunities with less movement of people ;
- an integrated approach with flexibility of adjustment as per available resources ; and
- maintenance of ecological balances.
Human Resources – Traditional Knowledge and Methods – Great Assets to Developing Countries
Ideas float around in bewildering numbers, and scores of designs, ranging from windmills to the spinning wheel, are available ; papers are circulated stating the wonders of intermediate (not innovative) technology what could be done, why it should be done, what must be done, and how the rural countryside can be changed if intermediate technology is implemented. Experts are called from abroad to tell people this.
In all this talk, there seems to be no place for the ideas generated by farmers, rural artisans. A stand seems to have been taken that this transfer of technology for the socio-economic regeneration of the rural areas is a novelty for country-folk. But rural communities have survived for generations without any help in ideas and materials from outside. They have developed a low-cost technology of their own, suited to their own particular areas. It would be foolish to overlook and take for granted methods used by farmers and artisans. When a ploughshare develops trouble on the field, when a bullock cart breaks down on the road to market, when a house collapses in a storm, the villager uses materials available in the immediate vicinity to solve his problem. It is the scientist who must see these problems as challenges that must be met if there is to be development in rural areas. It is clear that the villagers and scientists will see the problems of the villages quite differently, and it will not always be true that the projects proposed by the scientists will be meaningful to the villages. If projects are imposed on the villagers, they are likely to be skeptical and may well resist rather than co-operate with the programme. Rural Development Schemes, in the broadest sense, requires first a good sociological approach, and as much psychology as scientific knowledge. After all ‘country means people and not soil’.
Problems – People – Solutions
Research, Development and Demonstration projects in developing countries have generated a variety of devices and systems for exploitation – for example, solar cookers, wind battery charges etc. In Innovation theory, this is a classic case of technology push, that is, technical solutions looking for a social application. Technology push innovations might of course be adopted if they happen to satisfy a real demand, or are heavily promoted. Success is much more likely, however if the needs, priorities and demands are studied before attempting to introduce a new technology or system. This is the demand pull approach to innovation.
Often identifying the right problem is difficult rather than finding a possible solution. People are better judges to identify the problems and since they benefit most by the solutions, they can contribute for finding the best solutions.
A novel and innovative scheme is suggested to achieve the above goal.
In developing countries the Government can advertise in the media seeking problems from the people in different disciplines like education, health, energy, industry etc. The problems received can be screened, studied and short-listed by a committee comprising government officials, experts, representatives from N.G.O’s etc. The short-listed problems can be re-advertised seeking solutions from people. The solutions received can be studied in detail and the best solutions given awards. To catch a fish the bait should be attractive enough. As such there should be sizeable incentive so that people can devote their talent and energies for finding solutions. As the saying goes ‘Anything can be done for a Dollar’. In this way the creative potential of the people can be tapped to the full and a thought process will be set in motion in the country. In India a general knowledge programme conducted by a Super Star on TV is a roaring success and children, youth and old-all alike have become addicted to get equipped with general knowledge so that they can try their luck for winning fabulous cash prizes.
The Author has developed Novel solutions and sustainable technologies for the benefits of bottoms billions like Everybody's Solar Water Heater, Simple Solar Drier, Safe Drinking Water from Solar Disinfection,Energy Conservation in Irrigation pumpsets,Hand operated Battery charger, Multiple Uses of Gas Stove,Pedal operated Washing machine etc., Innovation, Invention and creativity are the pillars of progress of any Society / Nation. The greater the participation of people in the developmental activities, the quicker will be the progress. A new approach "Innovative Technology (IT)" deliberately involving people from all walks of life is the need of the hour in identifying the felt needs in the developing countries and finding solutions. Such a technology will contribute to Integrated Development (ID).
Some of the problems that need to be solved:
1.Designing an effective, economic toilet for rural areas 2.Designing a reliable blackboard and chalk Designing 3.Water purification system based on traditional practices 4.Designing a cost effective multiple use solar cooker
5.Use of natural fertilisers/pesticides for clean
6. Hand operated washing machine
7. Pedal operated battery charger
8. Integrated solar water heaters without overhead tank
9. Designing an efficient Biogas stove
10. A cost effective Hydroponic method since vegetable
costs are soaring
Innovation, Invention and creativity are the pillars of progress of any Society / Nation. The greater the participation of people in the developmental activities, the quicker will be the progress. A new approach “Innovative Technology (IT)” deliberately involving people from all walks of life is the need of the hour in identifying the felt needs in the developing countries and finding solutions. Such a technology will contribute to Integrated Development (ID).
Modernise the Traditional – Traditionalise the Modern
Renewable Energy Expert
Good article. For an agrarian country like India the best option is Biofuel/biogas generation from care free growth plants like Agave and Opuntia.
A group of Mexican researchers believe they've discovered what they call the "missing energy crop," and though it hasn't exactly been missing-it grows abundantly in Mexico and in some southern U.S. and South American locations-these scientists claim agave possesses characteristics superior to other feedstocks currently being examined for biofuel purposes, such as cellulosic ethanol production.
Agave is arguably one of the most significant plants in Mexican culture. It has a rosette of thick fleshy leaves, each of which usually end in a sharp point with a spiny margin, and is commonly mistaken for cacti.
President Barack Obama’s Plan to tackle Climate Change includes,” The US will increase its research and development of bio ethanol as fuel. I believe biomass and ethanol are a part of the solution and belong in the green transition. Yet bio fuels and ethanol are many things. Not all are green and not all are sustainable in the broadest sense. For bio ethanol to belong in the green economy it has to deliver substantial greenhouse gas savings and avoid negative impact on food prices. Only then will it be good business for farmers and good for the climate. The technology is available and ready to be scaled up. Second generation bio ethanol is an emerging market with the potential to reduce 85 pct. of CO2 emission compared to regular fossil fuels in transportation. It is also a local resource increasing energy independence and creating local jobs in agriculture, factories and logistics.”. It is most welcome.
Hitherto Corn and Sugarcane are used in the biofuel production. In the debate on FOOD Vs FUEL, it is necessary to find alternatives.
“Agave has a huge advantage, as it can grow in marginal or desert land, not on arable land,” and therefore would not displace food crops, says Oliver Inderwildi, at the University of Oxford. The majority of ethanol produced in the world is still derived from food crops such as corn and sugarcane. Speculators have argued for years now that using such crops for fuel can drive up the price of food.
Agave, however, can grow on hot dry land with a high-yield and low environmental impact. The researchers proposing the plant’s use have modeled a facility in Jalisco, Mexico, which converts the high sugar content of the plant into ethanol.
The research, published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science, provides the first ever life-cycle analysis of the energy and greenhouse gas balance of producing ethanol with agave. Each megajoule of energy produced from the agave-to-ethanol process resulted in a net emission of 35 grams of carbon dioxide, far below the 85g/MJ estimated for corn ethanol production. Burning gasoline produces roughly 100g/MJ.“The characteristics of the agave suit it well to bioenergy production, but also reveal its potential as a crop that is adaptable to future climate change,” adds University of Oxford plant scientist Andrew Smith. “In a world where arable land and water resources are increasingly scarce, these are key attributes in the food versus fuel argument, which is likely to intensify given the expected large-scale growth in biofuel production.”
Agave already appeared to be an interesting bio ethanol source due to its high sugar content and its swift growth. For the first time Researchers at the universities of Oxford and Sydney have now conducted the first life-cycle analysis of the energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of agave-derived ethanol and present their promising results in the journal Energy & Environmental Science.
On both life cycle energy and GHG emissions agave scores at least as well as corn, switch grass and sugarcane, while reaching a similar ethanol output. The big advantages agave has over the before mentioned plants is that it can grow in dry areas and on poor soil, thus practically eliminating their competition with food crops and drastically decreasing their pressure on water resources.
Plants which use crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM), which include the cacti and Agaves, are of particular interest since they can survive for many months without water and when water is available they use it with an efficiency that can be more than 10 times that of other plants, such as maize, sorghum, miscanthus and switchgrass. CAM species include no major current or potential food crops; they have however for centuries been cultivated for alcoholic beverages and low-lignin fibres.
They may therefore also be ideal for producing biofuels on land unsuited for food production.
In México, there are active research programs and stakeholders investigating Agave spp. as a bioenergy feedstock. The unique physiology of this genus has been exploited historically for the sake of fibers and alcoholic beverages, and there is a wealth of knowledge in the country of México about the life history, genetics, and cultivation of Agave. The State of Jalisco is the denomination of origin of Agave tequilana Weber var. azul, a cultivar primarily used for the production of tequila that has been widely researched to optimize yields. Other cultivars of Agave tequilana are grown throughout México, along with the Agave fourcroydes Lem., or henequen, which is an important source of fiber that has traditionally been used for making ropes. The high sugar content of Agave tequilana may be valuable for liquid fuel production, while the high lignin content of Agave fourcroydes may be valuable for power generation through combustion.
Along with Agave species described above, some other economically important species include A. salmiana, A. angustiana, A. americana, and A. sisalana. Agave sisalana is not produced in México, but has been an important crop in regions of Africa and Australia. Information collected here could thus be relevant to semi-arid regions around the world.
Agave is a CAM Plant. Crassulacean acid metabolism, also known as CAM photosynthesis, is a carbon fixation pathway that evolved in some plants as an adaptation to arid conditions in a plant using full CAM, the stomata in the leaves remains shut during the day to reduce evapotranspiration, but open at night to collect carbon dioxide (CO2). The CO2 is stored as the four-carbon acidmalate, and then used during photosynthesis during the day. The pre-collected CO2 is concentrated around the enzyme RuBisCO, increasing photosynthetic efficiency. Agave and Opuntia are the best CAM Plants.
Agave Competitive Advantages
* Thrives on dry land/marginal land. Most efficient use of soil, water and light
* Massive production. Year-around harvesting
* Very high yields with very low or no inputs
* Very high quality biomass and sugars
* Very low cost of production. Not a commodity, so prices are not volatile
* Very versatile: biofuels, byproducts, chemicals
* World-wide geographical distribution
* Enhanced varieties are ready.
Another route of power production is biogas generation from Agave as well as Opuntia. Biogas power generators are commercially available. This way power can be generated at local level with local resources. Both agave and Opuntia are regenerative plants.
In their research paper SARAH C. DAVIS et al conclude:
"Large areas of the tropics and subtropics are too arid or degraded to support food crops, but Agave species may be suitable for biofuel production in these regions. We review the potential of Agave species as biofuel feedstocks in the context of ecophysiology, agronomy, and land availability for this genus globally. Reported dry biomass yields of Agave spp., when annualized, range from 1 to 34Mg /ha/yr without irrigation, depending on species and location. Some of the most productive species have not yet been evaluated at a commercial scale. Approximately 0.6Mha of land previously used to grow Agave for coarse ?bers have fallen out of production, largely as a result of competition with synthetic ?bers.
Theoretically, this crop area alone could provide 6.1 billion L of ethanol if Agave were reestablished as a bioenergy feedstock without causing indirect land use change. Almost one-?fth of the global land surface is semiarid, suggesting there may be large opportunities for expansion of Agave crops for feedstock, but more ?eld trials are needed to determine tolerance boundaries for different Agave species(The global potential for Agave as a biofuel feedstock, GCB Bioenergy (2011) 3, 68–78, doi: 10.1111/j.1757-1707.2010.01077.x)."
Agave and Opuntia are the best choice to grow in waste and vacant lands in Asia,Africa and Latin America.The advantage with the plants is both are regenerative and thrive under harsh conditions.
Agave tequilana webercan yield figures far outshine the plants that are dominating ethanol and bio fuels R&D and investment today, not only in terms of potential ethanol yield per acre, but also in terms of energy balance (the ratio of energy in the product to the energy input to produce it), as well as actual and prospective planted acreage.
Corn ethanol, for example, has an energy balance ratio of 1.3 and produces approximately 300-400 gallons of ethanol per acre. Soybean bio diesel with an energy balance of 2.5, typically can yield 60 gallons of bio diesel per acre while an acre of sugar cane can produce 600-800 gallons of ethanol with an energy balance of 8.0. An acre of poplar trees can yield more than 1,500 gallons of cellulosic ethanol with an energy balance of 12.0, according to a National Geographic study published in October 2007.
According to Arturo Velez, Agave Expert:
“On an annualized basis agave produces 3X more distilled ethanol than sugar cane in Brasil; 6X more distilled ethanol than yellow corn in the US; at least 3X more cellulosic ethanol than switchgrass or poplar tree. Producing one gallon of distilled ethanol from agave costs at the most half the cost of one gallon from sugar cane and one fourth of corn's production cost.
One hectare of Agave captures at least 5X more CO2 than one hectare of the fastest growing Eucalyptus on a high density plantation and in one single year agave produces the same cellulose pulp Eucalyptus produces in 5 years”..
CAM species such as Agave show considerable promise as a biofuel crop for the future due to their high water-use efficiency, tolerance to abiotic stress (e.g., drought and high temperatures), and potential for high biomass production on marginal lands .
The optimal use of water to grow a selected feedstock is of critical importance because water scarcity, more than any other factor, determines whether land is suitable for growing food crops. Thus, growing plants with high water-use efficiency on land that is too dry to grow food crops is a potentially powerful strategy for producing biomass feed stocks in large amounts while minimizing competition with the food supply. Additionally, making productive use of semi-arid land can have positive effects on poor rural areas. The water-use efficiency (WUE) value (grams CO2 fixed/kilogram water transpired) varies markedly among plants with different types of photosynthetic metabolism. C3 plants typically have WUE values of 1–3; C4 plants, between 2 and 5; whereas crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) plants have values between 10 and 40. Therefore, CAM plants can be cultivated in arid or semi-arid land normally unsuitable for the cultivation of most C3 and C4 crops. It is exceedingly unlikely that a C3 or C4 plant could be developed, with or without genetic modification, with water-use efficiency approaching that of CAM plants.Moreover, CAM plants are native to essentially every state in the USA except Alaska, although they are prominent parts of ecosystems only in the Southwest.
In spite of this potential, CAM plants have received much less systematic study or development as energy crops relative to inherently less water-efficient plants such as corn (maize), sugarcane, switch grass Miscanthus, poplar, sugar beets, Jatropha, soy, and canola.
Cellulose content is far more in Agave Americana compared to Deciduous Wood,sugarcane,wheat straw,corn stover and switch grass while lignin content is far less in Agave Americana as compared to the others mentioned.
The cultivation of nopal((OPUNTIA FICUS-INDICA), a type of cactus, is one of the most important in Mexico. According to Rodrigo Morales, Chilean engineer, Wayland biomass, installed on Mexican soil, “allows you to generate inexhaustible clean energy.” Through the production of biogas, it can serve as a raw material more efficiently, by example and by comparison with jatropha.
Wayland Morales, head of Elqui Global Energy argues that “an acre of cactus produces 43 200 m3 of biogas or the equivalent in energy terms to 25,000 liters of diesel.” With the same land planted with jatropha, he says, it will produce 3,000 liters of biodiesel.
Another of the peculiarities of the nopal is biogas which is the same molecule of natural gas, but its production does not require machines or devices of high complexity. Also, unlike natural gas, contains primarily methane (75%), carbon dioxide (24%) and other minor gases (1%), “so it has advantages from the technical point of view since it has the same capacity heat but is cleaner, “he says, and as sum datum its calorific value is 7,000 kcal/m3.
Javier Snchez et al in their extensive study on Opuntia as potential input for bioethanol concluded:
“Prickly pear is a widely-known crop in the SE of Spain, where it is currently used for forage, fodder and fruit. Now it is being considered as a potential crop for bioethanol production from its whole biomass. In order to estimate the potential bioethanol production in the province of Almeria (SE-Spain) and the optimal location of bioethanol processing plants, a GIS analysis involving a predictive yield model of prickly
pear biomass was undertaken following specific restriction criteria. According to this analysis, the total potential bioethanol production in Almeria would be up to 502,927.8 t dm•year–1 from 100,616 ha maximum that could be cultivated with prickly pear, with a calculated yield ranging between 4.2 and 9.4 t dm•ha–1•year–1. An exclusive suitability analysis and a preferable suitability analysis based on the
Analytic Hierarchy Process were performed in order to estimate the optimal location of the subsequent processing plants within Almeria’s road network by a discrete location-allocation model.”(Javier Snchez , Francisco Snchez , Mara Dolores Curt & Jess Fernndez (2012) Assessment of the bioethanol potential of prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill.) biomass obtained from regular crops in the province of Almeria (SE Spain), Israel Journal of Plant Sciences, 60:3, 301-318).
In the developing countries like India which have vast waste land Opuntia can be grown along with Agave for Biofuel/Biogas and subsequent power generation. Once India was leading in Biogas but now China is world leader. Apart from power generation biogas for cooking can be supplied in villages through pipes with metering system. China has this.
Why solar PV slow in Sunbelt Developing countries?
Excellent. Congratulations Paula Mints for the fine piece.