In Oliveira do Hospital, Portugal, a project to use waste from pruning vines and fruit trees to produce biofuel is being developed.
A project to use waste from pruning vines and fruit trees to produce advanced biofuel is being developed at the BLC3 Campus in Oliveira do Hospital, the campus president said on Tuesday.
The BLC3 association “is developing a circular economy project to use waste from agricultural activities, such as pruning waste from olive trees, vines and other fruit trees” to “produce advanced biofuel,” the president of the BLC3 Technology and Innovation Campus, João Nunes, told Lusa news agency.
The project, “with potential application also to the forestry sector,” also recommends that “waste from crops ” be used in the production of biofuel.
Production, highlighted João Nunes, will be with carbon emission levels much lower than from fossils”.
The advanced biofuel produced by this method is “similar and equivalent to agricultural diesel”.
In Portugal “we have 3.6 million hectares of agriculture (39.5 percent of the total land area), with more than 360,000 farms”, which “represents an average of 10 hectares per farm”.
With this average farm size, the sector is naturally “not very competitive in terms of scale” which has “an impact on the use of resources and carbon emissions.”
Around 360,000 hectares of the land area are olive groves, 178,000 hectares are vineyards and 45,000 for fresh fruit production, which generates “a high amount of biomass waste”, João Nunes said, admitting that “we could be talking about one million tons of waste annually in these sectors alone.”
However, this is “a figure that is always difficult to quantify because it depends on agricultural production itself.”
“Agricultural cultivation systems which generate high quantities of biomass have the potential to produce their own fuel” to use in their machinery, João Nunes concluded.
BLC3 – Campus of Technology and Innovation is a non-profit association, founded in 2010, and is a “new model of development of research activities and technological intensification of excellence, incubation of ideas and companies, and support to the economic fabric in inland and rural regions.”
It is the only organization in Portugal “created for the development and industrialization of biorefineries (second and third generations) and bioeconomy and ‘smart regions’, with a focus on the concept of the circular economy,” according to the BLC3 website.