Bamboo as an Energy Crop
Bamboo is a valuable energy crop
• Electricity generation using our hybrid fast pyrolysis process –
a rough-cut mass-energy balance:
‣ Bamboo [dry] – higher heating value = 19.0 MJ/kg
‣ For 100t bamboo [± production/ha/year] = 1 900 000 MJ
‣ = 530 100 kWh potential [As 1 MJ = 0.279 kWh]
‣ less 30% biochar production
‣ less 10% CO 2 emissions
‣ and 38% yield on residual potential
‣ = 120 000 kWh
• = 12 000 small households for 1 day [10kWh/day/household]
• If biochar [charcoal] production is not the priority, the energy
output could be much higher.
A context for energy from bamboo
• Bamboo could be the primary source of energy in the Eastern
Cape from, from small scale combustion applications to large
scale electricity generation.
• As far as I know, the EC has no oil or coal resources [a
blessing in disguise!]
• The EC has land, soil, sunlight, water, labour, skills and
• Bamboo is the most versatile biomass crop available.
• The EC has a long history in forestry and agriculture.
• The EC could supply the energy required for all of its economic
growth from sustainable renewable resources including
biomass [including existing alien and forestry waste] and
specifically bamboo as the biomass of the future.
• It will require and ENTREPRENEURIAL approach: thinking and
planning BIG and executing PROGRESSIVELY BIG and
Images to describe the use of biomass to
generate electricity and produce biochar.
2.6 MW Steam Turbine
and Electricity Generator
Heat Exchanger - Steam
Relevant figures in practical terms
• A 1.8 MW electricity generation unit will require 43± tons per
day biomass at about 30% moisture content.
• 18 MW electricity generation will require 430 tons biomass per
day at about 30% moisture content.
• To produce 430 x 365 = 156 950 tons biomass per year at 100
tons per hectare yield [e.g. bamboo] will require 1570 hectares
• This biomass will deliver about 31 000 tons of biochar per year.
• 90 MW electricity generation will require 7 800 hectares
bamboo under cultivation and deliver about 157 000 tons of
• At 40 tons per hectare this biochar could be applied to about
3 900 hectares.
Existing and potential future forestry
Annual solar radiation
Degree of land degradation
A proposal for future action
• The previous four pictures superimposed on one another will
point at the locations with the highest potential.
• Use the available resources of alien vegetation and forestry
waste as the starting feedstock, but immediately start building a
bamboo capacity for future feedstock.
• Do not ignore the potential of the MSW of the cities in the EC.
• Knowledge capacity building is already underway e.g. the
CERES in the EL IDZ and at the universities in the Province –
expand and accelerate it.
• Start developing the value chains of bamboo.
• Guard against “analysis paralysis” – create and entrepreneurial
environment and just DO IT!
Thanks for your
Vision and Mission
• To pursue the quest towards carbon
negative systems at the organizational
and personal levels
• To develop, implements and operate
projects which will continuously aim to
achieve and maintain a carbon negative