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Monday, 27 August 2018 15:04

New sustainable and efficient crops are studied for energy proposes

Raúl Tapias, one of the researchers participating in the study Raúl Tapias, one of the researchers participating in the study

A research group attached to the ceiA3 RNM-315 'Analysis and planning of the natural environment' of the University of Huelva is working on a project based on the search of new crops, incorporating nitrogen-fixing species, such as legumes, that can be exploited for energy purposes in a more efficient and respectful way with the Environment than with those we currently have. 

The study, in which researchers from the departments of Chemical Engineering and Agroforestry Sciences of the University of Huelva are working together, is focused on the search of species and varieties, and particularly of clones, which are more productive and efficient in resources usage and have more suitable qualities to produce biomass for energy purposes. Or even for other purposes, such as pulp production.

Raúl Tapias says "the novelty of this study regarding those carried out in previous phases, consists of seeking new crops for energy purposes. As a result, it could have an influence on food price and be more efficient and respectful to the environment.

Manuel Fernández Martínez, one of the project managers of the study has explained, it is also aimed to make the crop requires less water and fewer fertilizers. In this sense, legumes are valuable because of their ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil, not directly exploitable by the plant, but by the bacteria living in symbiosis with them at their roots.

Specifically, researchers are the focus on the leguminous species of Robina pseudoacacia (also called false acacia), which is an ornamental plant present in the streets, as well as other non-fixing species such as elm or eucalyptus.

In short, the purpose of the study is to look for alternative energies to fossil fuels through one of the main sources and with more projection, the biomass.

 

Methodology

This project is based on previous research that has been conducted in the last 8 years allowing the research with different legume species, both in Europe and other parts of the world.

The works are being developed in experimental plots of Huelva, Granada and inland areas. It is being studied the production, adaptation to every place conditions, efficiency in water usage and fertilizers. The biomass is also analyzed and transformed, for example, into pellets and its quality is checked for domestic use, in terms of durability and calorific value.

The project called "Industrial integration and environmental and CO2 balance of thermochemical processes in biorefineries of high productivity forest species and agroindustrial waste", funded through the call of the National Plan has an expected duration of three years. The main researchers are Francisco López Baldovín from subproject CTQ2017-85251-C2-1-R and Manuel Fernández Martínez from CTQ2017-85251-C2-2-R.

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