Herbaceous biomass such as straws sequester carbon dioxide during their growing cycle, which is then released during energy production, making them a near carbon neutral energy source. Fast growth cycles and adaptability to different environments makes them ideal replacements for imported wood pellets, which are common feedstocks for bioenergy production.
By using underutilised waste streams, such as sludges from bioethanol production, we can ensure we extract as much energy as possible from these feedstocks rather than leaving the wastes to decompose in the environment.
This research provides alternative candidates for the next generation of solid fuels that can be used to diversify current biomass feedstocks, broadening the market and making the waste to energy process far more sustainable.
The research has the potential to improve the efficiency of bioenergy production facilities and diversify usable feedstocks by significantly reducing ash build up and the associated facility downtime, thereby lowering energy production costs and increasing their viability against traditional fossil-fuel production.