Every year, the agricultural sector generates more than eight million tons of wood from agricultural pruning and renovation of plantations, most of which are burned in the open. This practice, which involves the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that are very harmful to public health and the environment, also means a waste of very valuable thermal energy, contributing to accelerating the process of climate change.
The industrial research project ‘Clean AgroBiomass Tech’, coordinated by the business group onGranada Tech City, has the ultimate objective of optimizing the use of these agricultural prunings, especially those of the shoots of Spanish vines, for the production of sustainable biomass.
At present, this wood cannot be used to generate thermal energy since it is contaminated with a high content of inorganic waste such as sandstone, clay, stones or metals, which damage the mechanics of the boilers where they are combusted, reducing their power. heat and increase emissions of harmful compounds.
‘Clean AgroBiomass Tech’ is developing a cleaning system for these prunings, which, free of impurities, become high quality and profitable biomass. The project, financed by the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce within the framework of the support program for Innovative Business Groups, is based on a technology developed and patented by the Granada-based company Athisa Biogeneración, which leads the research together with the Malaga-based company Bioazul and the University of Córdoba.
The project contemplates the reengineering of the wood cleaning equipment patented by Athisa, which has already shown its effectiveness for cleaning vine pruning in the region of La Mancha, to convert it into a mobile and more efficient equipment. In addition, it will incorporate new knowledge and 4.0 technologies in terms of filtration of washing and rinsing water; as well as NIRS (near-infrared spectroscopy) technology to quickly and continuously measure the main physical-chemical properties of wood.
In addition, this project also includes carrying out a series of demonstrations of the efficacy and efficiency of the mobile wood cleaning equipment in ten reference agricultural regions, thanks to the participation of collaborators from Extremadura, Galicia, Castilla y León, La Rioja, Aragón , Catalonia, Castilla La Mancha, Valencia and Murcia.
The successful development of ‘Clean AgroBiomass Tech’ will make it possible to use biomass that today is considered residual, such as biomass from pruning and renewal of plantations of woody crops (fruit trees) and stumps of forest species (such as poplar), which it will improve the market share of the biomass utilization sector and the production of sustainable thermal energy.
In addition, it will also benefit the agricultural sector in meeting its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, and especially the wine sector, which will significantly reduce its carbon footprint, making wine production more sustainable, an increasingly important requirement. most demanded in the market.