Scientists use apple pomace to produce biogas

Scientists use apple pomace to produce biogas

Researchers from the State of Campinas (Unicamp) and Federal of ABC (UFABC) universities have developed a new process that uses apple pomace to produce biogas. According to scientists, this is a sustainable way to reduce the use of fossil fuel in industry.

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Studies show that the apple is one of the most consumed fruits in the world — both fresh and processed in the form of juice, vinegar or cider. The problem is that the by-products generated by the food industry are discarded without being used again.

“The biorefinery with anaerobic digestion technology can generate electrical and thermal energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and value apple residue converted into organic fertilizer”, explains professor of Food Engineering at Unicamp Tânia Forster Carneiro, co-author of the study .

anaerobic digestion

The system known as anaerobic digestion is a microbiological process that uses the consumption of nutrients to produce methane. The dry variant — with a total concentration of solids inside the reactor above 15% — is considered a viable alternative for the treatment of solid waste when compared to conventional sanitary landfills.

According to the researchers, a yield of 36.61 liters of methane per kilogram of solids removed from the environment can generate approximately 1.92 kilowatt-hours of electricity and 8.63 megajoules of heat per ton of reused apple pomace.

“Our study shows that the bioenergy recovered by the industry during this apple bagasse reuse process could supply the equivalent of 19.18% of electricity and 11.15% of heat in the operating expenses of a reactor”, adds Carneiro.

good for the planet

The scientists concluded that this reuse system could avoid the emission of 0.14 kg of carbon dioxide — during the electricity generation process — and 0.48 kg of CO2 in the production of thermal energy per ton of apple pomace.

With this, biofuels and bioelectricity could contribute to the development of public policies, considerably reducing the consumption of fossil fuels and the emission of greenhouse gases from organic waste.

“Anaerobic digestion technology is stable and can be implemented in small and medium-scale industries, helping in the transition to the circular economy and offering a better destination for fruit residues, which is an alternative for the recovery of by-products, providing gains for the production chain”, concludes Carneiro.

Source: FAPESP Agency