Hydrogen from the sugar cane

The Centro di Ricerca Interuniversitario per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile (CIRPS) carried out a study in Peru in collaboration with the university of Chiclayo and Piura on the possibility to produce hydrogen from the sugar cane.
The sugar cane is one of the most interesting biomasses for the production of energy, for the following reasons:

  • it produces a high quantity of energy per hectare;
  • it produces a wide range of residues with a high energy content (leaves, molasses, bagasse);
  • it has no production or transport cost since most of the residues is produced and used inside companies (the only cost is the cost for the collection of leaves and tops in the fields);
  • it has some very favourable growth characteristics (hot, wet climate, low need for pesticides and chemical fertilizers), but it has a high quantity of water (1500 millimetres per year).

The waste of sugar cane could become an economic source for companies producing sugar, by implementing advanced technologies for the production of energy carriers like hydrogen from biomass. This energy could become one of the most promising and cheapest ways to produce energy, if advanced fuel cell technologies are used.

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