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Olive Biomass for Energy

The most efficient alternative to coal

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Advantages of Olive Biomass

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Olive Biomass to Energy


biomass details 1. Product Description

Olive biomass is a premium quality agricultural biomass fuel that is sourced for recycling from the olive oil industry. The residues that remain after the virgin olive oil extraction process are called olive pomace or olive cake. Olive pomace is a dark colored paste consisting of crushed olive pits (also called olive stones or kernels), olive husk/skin, pulp, some pomace oil and waste waters. Sometimes the pits are separated from the vegetable parts and waste waters.The olive pits are a form of solid biomass and can be burned directly.

Three types of olive pomace can be differentiated depending on the extraction method. Large quantities of olive pomace to be used as biomass fuel are available only from the industrial scale 3 phase decanter processes. After the olives have been pressed and the olive oil is extracted the olive cake is very wet. The moisture content is approximately 40-70-% depending on the olive oil extraction process. The process of obtaining useful olive biomass from this waste product is by drying it to get a solid fuel. After drying the moisture content goes down to 8-15 %.De-oiled solids contain less than 3% oil and are referred to as exhausted olive cake. With little or no processing these natural waste resources are turned into high value energy products and a premium quality biomass fuel.

2. Product Specifications

 Size:    Small pieces 1-3 cm
 Calorific value: 17 - 19 MJ
 Moisture (humidity) : ~ 10%
 Oil Content : below 3%
 Ash content  :   6-10%

3. Usage of Olive Biomass

Dry olive residue was utilized since ancient times in the Mediterranean for cooking and heating. Direct burning is the oldest and most obvious way to obtain energy from the dry olive cake. When burned, the energy stored in the olive biomass is transformed and released as heat. The calorific value of olive pomace is quite high and comparable to that of coal. Olive biomass releases considerable energy during it's combustion and its calorific value largely exceeds that of wood waste biomass. Olive oil mills and large industrial olive oil production facilities have been using dried and de-oiled residual solids for centuries as an alternative fuel source due to the high heating properties of the material.Exhausted olive cake is very efficient, in terms of energy, cost and environmental impact. It is more than just a valuable resource to be recovered.

Converting Olive Biomass to Biopower

Olive biomass can be used in direct combustion, CHP, co-combustion with coal and co-combustion with other biomass. It is used in coal fired power stations where part of the fossil fuel supplied to the boilers are replaced by this carbon clean alternative. Other uses are in biomass power stations where it is burned together with other biomass materials to produce electricity and useful heat. It can be used as an efficient heating fuel also in smaller, direct combustion heating system.

The emission produced when burning biomass fuel in industrial facilities is less than using fossil fuels (coal, natural gas or oil). The combustion of biomass fuel is considered carbon neutral since biomass crops, plants remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere when they grow and store the carbon in the plant structure.

The Biomass Magazines article titeled "Electric Olives" reports that he first olive-powered electrical plant was built in Palenciana, Spain, in 1995. Since then, four more plants have been built in the Andalusia region. About 3 percent of Spain's electricity consumption comes from biomass sources. Several power plants in England have been burning olive residue since 2003. England imports 175,000 metric tons of olive cake, making it the largest importer of olive residue in Europe. Major Italian energy company Enel cofires olive waste at its coal-fired plant in Brindisi, Italy, in the southern part of the country.

4. Sources of Olive Biomass

The olive biomass is sourced from the Mediterranean region and North Africa from well-established olive oil producers. In essence olive biomass is the solid by-product from the extraction of olive oil. The biomass is sourced basically from the areas with large olive tree plantations and a well-established olive oil industry. Olive is the most widely cultivated fruit crops in the world with a cultivation area of more than 10 million ha worldwide. 95% of the world’s olives are produced in the Mediterranean region.

The exact amount of raw material depends on climate conditions, which determine also the annual production period (5 to 7 months/year). Olives are harvested in the autumn and winter. The season for harvesting olives usually starts with some olive varieties that can be picked already at the end of September, the peak period is November, December and last until February/March. 90% of all harvested olives are turned into oil, while about 10% are used as table olives.his product is obtained in thousands of tones yearly with no real, large scale, practical application other than the use as biomass fuel. The olive fruit has 12-30% oil content which means in biomass terms that the total waste generation is nearly 75% of the olive harvest. Depending on the olive cultivar about 4 to 8 kilos of olives are needed to produce just 1 liter of olive oil. But for the sake of simplicity we can say that every liter of olive oil produced results in roughly 5 kilos of waste. The estimated amount of useful residues in Europe is more than 1.5 million tons generated naturally year after year.

5. Transportation / Delivery

For direct use of olive biomass for energy production the most economical method for transporting is in bulk shipments. The usual size of a shipment varies from 3000- 5000 tones. The shipping time varies based on destination, port to port but takes about 10 to 14 days for most of Europe.

 Classification: biomass, agricultural biomass
 Packaging bulk shipment / containers/ big bags
 Available Quantity: currently we are able to supply yearly about 100,000-150,000 tons of olive biomass in bulk shipments.
 Material: loose biomass, dry olive pomace ( olive pits & husk)
 Quality : premium olive biomass

6. Advantages of Olive Biomass

The olive biomass is a recycled natural waste so no trees are cut down to create our product. All raw materials are sourced from sustainable sources. Moreover olive biomass sourcing does not take up agricultural land that could be utilised for food production unlike many of the other agricultural biomass fuels.The use of olive biomass causes no net increase in the CO2 emissions to the atmosphere therefore olive biomass is a suitable alternative to fossil fuels. It is a readily available, reliable, renewable energy source with high calorific value.

Related Biomass Products :


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