Ecuador: Banana waste for bioenergy

The potential of bananas from a green point of view

Using the geographic information system, the researchers from the Agro-Energy Group at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) analysed the potential use of the residual biomass of bananas, produced in province of El Oro, in the south east of Ecuador, for bioenergy applications.

As reported, this particular waste could provide 55% of the electrical need of the region.

According to the researchers, bananas are one of the most important fruit crops in the world. When cut, its stem and leaves turn into lignocellulosic biomass, as well as bunch rachis, once they arrive to the packaging plant. At this point, the lignocellulosic biomass is either left on the ground to preserve the soil’s richness, or taken to the open landfills, producing in both cases, greenhouse gases as it decomposes.

Another source of waste is rejected fruit that does not meet the standards of commercialisation. This residue can vary between 8 and 20% and is used for animal feed, or it is just rejected because of the economic reasons.

The potential solution, suggested by UPM researchers, are two locations for power stations from lignocellulosic biomass production from rejected bananas. This would include the production of 190,102 tonnes of discarded bananas annually and 198,602ha of lignocellulosic biomass which would result in the installed power of two plants could reach 18MW.

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