Papers Proceedings »
STUDY OF THE POTENTIAL OF THE BIOMASS OF ATRIPLEX NUMMULARIA PLANTATIONS AS A RAW MATERIAL
In the coastal dry land of the semiarid region of Coquimbo in Chile, there are around 60,000 ha. with plantations of shrubs, most of them with the species Atriplex nummularia Lindl. , established with the purpose of supplying fodder for small livestock and possibly scarce firewood in the arid environment. Due to the lack of proper management, most of them have lost their forage capacity transforming into woody plants. This situation opens up the possibility of harvesting this biomass and guiding it towards the production of solid biofuels, such as firewood and charcoal or of higher value such as pellets and briquettes. Recovering its original foraging ability given its ability to rejuvenate, allowing sustainable management opening new options for economic activities, contributing to improve the quality of life of the inhabitants of this rural sector. The objective of the study was to provide information on the chemical composition of the woody biomass of Atriplex as well as its potential as solid biofuels such as charcoal and pellets, to establish its potential as an energy raw material. Sampling and extraction of biomass was carried out in plantations representative of areas to be intervened in the region, which provided the samples for physical determinations in the field and the combined sample for laboratory analysis. In this way, three stack of plants cut at ground level were first obtained as fresh or green, semi-dry and dry biomass. The volume fluctuated between 3 and 4 cubic meters of stacked material. Each of the biomass stack was processed with three drying times (humidity levels), at which the stacked volume was measured and proceeded to grind it in a portable chipper, registering the times and mass of chips obtained in each case. Samples were extracted from each of the stack and stored in impermeable bags for laboratory determinations, which were performed according to standardized or recognized laboratory methods. A decrease in moisture is verified by natural drying in the field. Similarly, the density stacked (stereo) is low, there being no significant differences between the lots with more time in the field once cut (dry) and recently cut (green). The chipping performance of the green material is markedly greater than the dry material and produces less dust and fines in the operation. The chemical composition of the wood is similar to that of hardwoods, except that it has a higher percentage of ash (3, 97%), with an abnormally high sodium value that greatly exceeds that reported for wood. The charcoal obtained is of good quality, unlike pellets that have a low mechanical durability.