[For further information on the FAO Biotechnology Forum see the Forum website.
Note, participants are assumed to be speaking on their own behalf, unless they state otherwise.]

-----Original Message-----
From: Biotech-Mod3
Sent: 21 November 2008 11:48
To: 'biotech-room3@mailserv.fao.org'
Subject: 30: Ligno-cellulosic feedstocks for biogas production in developing countries

This is from Ruzena Svedelius, again.

It is a very big challenge to take food scraps and manure and try to figure out the most efficient way to get bioenergy and fertilisers. I try - many others are smiling and arguing. How many of you reading inputs to this conference work with your own hands with bioconversion? I mean in research or on farms etc. I think that persons, who are only reading papers and reports, should be very careful to influence decisions for those that have to survive out there.

Comments to message 23 by Alessandro Flammini (message 29) who wrote: "A number of research centres and international organizations are getting more and more interested in these new technologies for biofuel production in order to assess their real impact and the net benefits that could derive in comparison with other energy crops."

The present problems - access to food and energy in many of the developing countries - should be solved as soon as possible. For that purpose, the simple systems for biogas production are the best solution. As methane fermentation will be improved in developed countries, developing countries can later afford more efficient biogas units. (see Section 4.3 Non-transport biofuels of the background document: "While the major focus today is on production of liquid biofuels for transport purposes, it is also important to keep in mind that the production of biofuels for non-transport needs (lighting, heating, cooking) could have tremendous advantages for developing countries.")

Visiting Uganda and Yemen several years ago, we discussed possibilities to start building biogas units. Unfortunately in those countries they have no resources to build even the most uncomplicated biogas plants. In Yemen, dried cow manure is burned when cooking. During drying the manure evaporation of water means loss of energy. Other emissions like nitrogen and sulphur compounds are polluting emissions and losses of plant nutrients that should go back to cultivated soils.

When cow manure (including urine), and all available organic residues, including human excreta, will be processed locally in closed systems (I visited small biogas units in Vietnam) two valuable products and several other positive aspects will be achieved. Biogas for cooking and lighting, and biofertiliser for improving soils productivity. Carbon sequestration is an extra plus. Only use of organic fertilisers in poor soils (for example in Africa) can build up soil fertility!

Why is there so much talk about ligno-cellulosic feedstocks and ethanol production in the future? Only for supporting the present liquid fuelled cars? Why is it so quiet about gas fuelled cars? Lobbying? Ligno-cellulosic feedstocks are also suitable for methanogenic fermentation for production of biogas. We have to use bioconversion technology based on biological rules. Instead of biogas systems from 1910 (assumed for wastewater management), where water is used as a vehicle for excreta and other organic material, we can in modern facilities blend well-shredded ligno-cellulosic feedstocks that are carbon-rich with animal and human excreta and with other wet nitrogen-rich organic residues. Then mixtures that are well balanced for requirements of microorganisms can be transformed in batch bioreactors to biogas and biofertilisers.

Dr. Ruzena Svedelius,
Nobbelovs Torg 29,
SE 226 52 Lund, Sweden
Biological Transformation of Renewable Organic Material
Phone: +46 707 33 11 20
E-mail: rsvedelius (at) hotmail.com

- Gajdos, R. 1998. Efficient bioconversion of solid and liquid organic waste - Composing and anaerobic digestion in novel systems. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 469:149-156 http://www.actahort.org/books/469/469_14.htm
- Gajdos, R. 1997. Product-oriented composting. From open to closed bioconversion systems. http://chaos.bibul.slu.se/sll/slu/agraria/AGR068/AGR068.HTM
- Proceedings of the 10th international conference of the RAMIRAN network. 2002. http://www.ramiran.net/DOC/E1.pdf
- Sustainable Management of Solid and Liquid Waste. An EU 6th framework programme project. http://eoi.cordis.lu/dsp_details.cfm?ID=26219

Return to Archives of this conference or go to the main Forum pages. Note: you must join the Forum to participate in these discussions.