Food and Fuel - innovative options for developing countries

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Ron Oxburgh
14th May 2008, Royal museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium

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Food and Fuel - innovative options for developing countries

  1. 1. Food and Fuel – innovative options for developing countries Ron Oxburgh
  2. 2. 21st Century - a Changing & less Predictable World • A more unpredictable climate • The need to limit GHG emissions • Profound changes in price relativities with much local variability – >$100 oil; all fossil fuels more expensive – Other non-renewable raw materials – more expensive – Water - scarcer/costlier many places – Land – more competition – >6.5 billion people & rising - labour – relatively cheaper ? • Future total dependence on what can be grown – food, materials and some fuel What hasn’t changed: • The need to eat • the urge to travel
  3. 3. Travel – Internal Combustion Engine! • Rising demand for liquid fuel – needed as long as the ICE is used – minimum 25 years • Mineral oil – environmentally damaging – alternatives? • Hydrogen? – very distant future • Fuels from plants: – Can be less damaging to the environment than mineral oil – Opportunities for poor farmers
  4. 4. Suitable bio-molecules Available in: • Food crops: • sugars & starches – Corn • Vegetable oils – Wheat – Sugar • Proteins – Barley • Cellulose – Canola • lignin rich residues – Soy – Palm • Bye products • Non-food products • Straw from marginal land • Forestry • Jatropha • Animal wastes • Prolific grasses • Sewage • Others?
  5. 5. Biofuels • Fuel liquids can be made from anything that can be grown or once grew: • Must make sense: – Financially – In energy-balance – Environmentally Even if otherwise acceptable, a mono- product biofuel industry based on agricultural land would be too small to be globally significant – not enough land
  6. 6. Biofuels – impossible on agricultural land ?+ other bye- products and Forests Deserts organic wastes 42CONTINENT 45 +?Algae New crops 150 Crops 16 Tropical Savannah 23 OCEANS Wetlands, Tundra, Grass, Ice, etc. 360 World Diesel World Gasoline Requirement Requirement (areas – million km2 )
  7. 7. Ethanol from Straw 1. Agricultural residues First Cellulose Ethanol Shipment: April 21, 2004 Co-production of food and fuel
  8. 8. 2. New Feedstocks i NATIVE JATROPHA TREES Robust & undemanding on marginal land
  9. 9. Jatropha curcas • Perennial tree – 30-40 yrs; full fruiting after 5 yrs. • Grows on degraded or marginal land - reforestation • Efficient use of water • Minimum-tillage planting • Can be largely fertilized with residues • C-sequestration in root system • Oil inedible
  10. 10. Jatropha curcas (2) • Labour intensive: ca. one person/ha – jobs where needed • Wild tree yield ca. 1.7 t/ha • Crude oil used directly in heavy static diesel engines • Emissions saving >60% over mineral oil • Anti-feedant properties • D1/BP – ca. 200,000 Ha on three continents
  11. 11. Jatropha, Swaziland with okra intercrops
  12. 12. J. Curcas - Expelling the oil
  13. 13. Jatropha - sustainable biofuel story • Reforestation of degraded or marginal land with orchards of jatropha curcas • Short rotation intercrops between j.c. rows • Carbon sequestration in root systems • Fruit: – Seeds for fuel oil (non-edible) – Seed cake for protein feed – Hulls for char • About one job/ha created • Local self-sufficiency in biodiesel
  14. 14. 2. New Feedstocks ii Miscanthus
  15. 15. 3. ALGAE The Joker?
  16. 16. Jatropha Carbon Economics – System Approach A: ‘C-credits’ B: ‘C-debits’ – Energy content of biofuel – Tillage soil gas release – Carbon sequestration in – Fuel – transport, tree & root system processing, cultivation – Credit for co-products – ? Fertilizer – ? Displaced plant life • Environmental Impact P e.g. drainage, water use & quality, erosion, ecosystems, community life etc.
  17. 17. Jatropha Cash Economics • Land costs • Planting and husbandry costs • 1.7 Toe/Ha - or more? • Local transport • Crushing and de-gumming costs • Crude oil transport to refinery • Key economic differentiators – Yield – Logistics • Unless oil price collapses, within five years Jatropha oil should be fuel of choice on both cost & environmental grounds
  18. 18. Kg CO2eq/ MJ Et ha no l( 0.1 0 0.01 0.02 0.03 0.04 0.05 0.06 0.07 0.08 0.09 Et St ra ha w no ) l( w Et he ha at no ) Bi l( od Be ie et se ) Et l( ha ra no pe l( ) U U s nl C ea or n) de d Pe Lo tro w l S D ie se l Biofuels & Biofuels – C saving Data from Elsayed et al 2003
  19. 19. Conclusions • Agriculture will be of massive importance in 21st century - sustainability • All parts of the plant will be used – co-production – Food – Fuel – Raw materials – Fabrication – Fertiliser • New cultivars needed for more variable conditions • Job opportunities for the very poor • There are ‘good’ biofuels and ‘bad’ biofuels

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