The World needs quick and practical 'fixes' to avoid a gathering storm of crises, most immediately the energy supply crisis, and potential farming/food production crises.
The Anaerobic Digestion (AD) and biogas industry is recognised as one of the required quick fixes. The reasons are many:
- AD’s ability to mitigate methane emissions from rotting organic wastes, positions it among the ‘fastest, most immediate and cost-effective’ ways to solve the issues raised above - "low hanging fruit" as it were, and will play a crucial role in delivering the Global Methane Pledge.
- AD produces natural fertiliser, a ready organic replacement for its petro-chemical counterpart, where a 20% slump in supply, forecast to last for several years, has led to ‘famine’ warnings.
- AD produces renewable energy, that cuts costs of manufacture, allows governments to insulate economies from international price hikes.
- AD can produce biomethane as clean transport fuel – dramatically reducing so-called 'carbon (dioxide) emissions and cutting air pollution in our cities ( as a replacement of diesel fuels), delivering health benefits valued in the billions of dollars/pounds.
- AD and biogas are the readily available, ready to deploy at scale, solution to these global challenges. With the right enabling environment AD can deliver millions of skilled jobs, especially potentially transitioning from the oil and gas industry, rural sustainability, energy and food security.
- As a circular solution the deployment of AD has a ripple effect – stimulating sustainable practices across society. That is why the International Energy Agency (IEA) says AD sits at the heart of a circular economy and is the poster boy for net zero.
- AD sits at the heart of an integrated energy response to the challenges we face, delivering immediate results and ushering in an era of flexible energy management systems that integrates technologies across different energy vectors (electricity, heat and gas) and Supporting Food Production with the by-products (Compost etc).
Developing the enabling environment to unleash the power of biogas is what global thought leadership summit's explore, with industry leaders addressing best practice to de-risk and short-circuit AD deployment.
In summary: Some key features of bioenergy:
- Available now
- Applicable in all energy sectors (electricity, direct heat, transport)
- Readily integrated with existing infrastructure
- Storable – it can support expansion of intermittent renewables
- It can deliver negative emissions when linked to Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS): BECCS / Bio-CCS
Bioenergy contributes to climate change mitigation when:
- Biomass is based on waste/residues
- Converted to energy products efficiently
- Used to displace GHG-intensive fuels
Bioenergy encompasses many potential feedstocks, conversion processes and energy applications. It interacts strongly with the agriculture, forestry and waste management sectors, and its prospects are linked to the growth of a broader bioeconomy. Bioenergy can only expand if supplied and used in a sustainable manner.
The Palm Oil industry generates large quantity of wastes whose disposal is a challenging task. In the Palm Oil mill, fresh fruit bunches are sterilized after which the oil fruits can be removed from the branches. The empty fruit bunches (are left as residues, and the fruits are pressed in oil mills. The Palm Oil fruits are then pressed, and the kernel is separated from the press cake (mesocarp fibers). The palm kernels are then crushed and the kernels then transported and pressed in separate mills. In a typical Palm Oil plantation, almost 70% of the fresh fruit bunches are turned into wastes in the form of empty fruit bunches, fibers and shells, as well as liquid effluent. These by-products can be converted to value-added products or energy to generate additional profit for the Palm Oil Industry.
Palm Kernel Shells (PKS)
Palm kernel shells (or PKS) are the shell fractions left after the nut has been removed after crushing in the Palm Oil mill. Kernel shells are a fibrous material and can be easily handled in bulk directly from the product line to the end use. Large and small shell fractions are mixed with dust-like fractions and small fibres.
Moisture content in kernel shells is low compared to other biomass residues with different sources suggesting values between 11% and 13%. Palm kernel shells contain residues of Palm Oil, which accounts for its slightly higher heating value than average lignocelluloses Biomass. Compared to other residues from the industry, it is a good quality Biomass fuel with uniform size distribution, easy handling, easy crushing, and limited biological activity due to low moisture content.
Press fibre and shell generated by the Palm Oil mills are traditionally used as solid fuels for steam boilers. The steam generated is used to run turbines for electricity production. These two solid fuels alone are able to generate more than enough energy to meet the energy demands of a Palm Oil mill.