Bamboo as an Energy Crop - Eastern Cape Development Corporation

Bamboo as an Energy Crop - Eastern Cape Development Corporation

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

[Dresser Rand]

Heat Exchanger - Steam

Bamboo Biomass




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

under cultivation.

• 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


Biological productivity

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

attention !

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


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