Applied Technologies and Innovations

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Volume 9
Issue 2
Online publication date 2013-06-06
Title Spartina argentinensis as feedstock for bioethanol
Author Emiliano Jozami, Leandro L. Sosa, Susana R. Feldman
Eighty-five percent of the energy consumed in the world comes from non-renewable sources. The transportation sector, highly dependent on oil, is responsible for 20-27% of the world primary energy consumption and for 13-28% of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) emissions. The main renewable energy sources that can supply this sector are bioethanol and biodiesel. Production of these biofuels is rapidly expanding mainly through food raw materials such as corn, sugar cane, soybean and rapeseed, decreasing their availability as food in the market, thereby raising their price. These food-derived biofuels are called “first generation biofuels”. There are other renewable sources that can be used to produce bioethanol, called second-generation biofuels, which have the great advantage of using lignocellulosic materials, thereafter they do not compete with food crops for fertile land. 

This paper describes the possibility of producing bioethanol and/or electricity using pellets from natural rangelands in the Bajos Submeridionales (Submeridional Lowlands) of the province of Santa Fe, Argentina, where the dominant species is Spartina argentinensis, a C4 perennial grass with high photosynthetic rate, which tolerates the conditions of alkalinity and the recurrent droughts and floods that shape the region. According to our estimates, enough ethanol could be produced in this region to satisfy the energy demand of vehicles with Otto combustion cycle in several Argentine provinces. Pellets production would allow electricity generation via syngas and power turbines. This would allow the production of liquid fuel and/or electricity with sustainability criteria, reducing the emission of GHG and generating jobs, economical growth and development in a depopulated region.
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Keywords Biomass, biofuels, electricity, greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions, lignocellulose, sustainability
Pages 37-44
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