Biofuel production from lignocellulosic materials
This project will produce second generation biofuels (bioethanol, biogas and biodiesel) from lignocellulosic materials like agricultural and industrial residuals, manure and household waste. Agricultural residuals such as rice husks obtained after harvesting of rice, are usually considered wastes which are discarded. Also sawdusts generated in the wood industry are usually also discarded. Household wastes are not treated today in Ghana - only placed at dump sites. These wastes could be used in a much more sustainable way, producing biofuels instead. With Ghana's commitment to increase its biofuel capacity, this will go a long way to serve that purpose. The use of such biomasses for production of a second generation of biofuels will change the society from a society increasing applying fossil fuel to a modern biomass based society with both socio-economic and ecological consequences. The project will develop and adopt sustainable biofuel production systems for three different types of communities: rural, cooperatives and large cities. The liquid biofuels can be used for agricultural equipment used on the farms to increase production, fuels for the transportation sector and provide power for villagers if the the village is not connected to the national grid. The biogas can be used for cooking and light, or be converted to electricity or used the transportation sector. In addition, residuals from biofuel production will be used as fertilizer adding value and sustainability to the whole process.
Project Completion Report
The main objectives have been achieved through coordinated collaborative research work in 6 work packages:
1. Assessment and mapping of waste and relevant industrial plant sidestream resources. Available lignocellulosic materials/wastes have been identified and described in Ghana.
A nationwide field survey on the quantity of Biodegradable Municipal Solid Waste in
Ghana was fulfilled. This provided the foundation of the project and the potentials for using the different sidestream and waste resources and for defining the most suitable conversion technologies, notably pretreatment methodology.
2. Characterisation and pretreatment of waste resources. To enhance the biological
conversion of the organic fraction of biomasses to biofuels different pretreatment methods have been investigated and developed with focus in low tech methods that can be used in developing countries.
3. Production of 2nd generation biofuels. Bioethanol and biogas has been in focus: The energy potentials of different waste fractions have been determined and suitable technologies developed for conversion of the wastes. Assessment of feasible pretreatment methods suitable for Ghana has been performed and experimentally evaluated. In addition new biological pretreatment (ensiling and fungal) and new high substrate load biogas fermentation technology has been developed.
4. Assessment of the residues from 2nd generation biofuel production. The residuals, considered nutrient-rich residues, from the 2nd generation biofuel production have been evaluated for possible soil applications.
5. Sustainability assessment: Mapping of energy supply and demand in Ghana, model for integrated energy, environmental and financial analysis of the 2nd generation biofuel production systems, analysis of economy of scale in relation to decentralized and centralized systems in realtion to energy use. Descriptions of recycling, energy demands and technology opportunities.
6. Technology implementation involving participatory research. Strategic technology transfer to end-users including notably Zoomlion, a large waste handling company in ghana. Hands-on technology demonstration capacity developed at KNUST.