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Sugar cane straw recuperation for energy proposes


Today Brazil is face up to with the perspective of significant increase of the demand of ethanol combustible. This forecast is sustained in three market realities: internal increase of ethanol consumption guaranteed by the success of the alternative flex-fuel engines for light vehicles; expansion of the Brazilian exports of ethanol as function of the worldwide crescent interests for the mixture of the ethanol to the gasoline; Brazilian option for the production of the biodiesel using ethanol in the transesterification of the vegetable oils. In this context the chopped cane harvesting technology, now available, does not collects the straw, witch is burned or left on the soil depending on the harvesting system, (green or burned). One of the principal challenges to make possible the use of this material is the design of a harvesting system witch includes the straw recovery, with cost and quality more compatible with the production of second generation fuels or burning in high pressure boilers. The processes tested up today for straw recovery involve the natural sun drying followed by windrowing and baling. The windrowing process is responsible for the high dirt content of the straw recovered, which varies between 5 and 10%. The straw recovery cost can easily overcome 20 R $ton-1, justifying the need of new methods for straw recovery. In this context this research project aims to test a trash compaction principle that makes possible the design of a compaction device, from the stand point of weight and volume, which is attachable to sugarcane harvesters that will recover the straw before blowing it down to the ground. The principle proposed consists of a denser, with convergent conical threads, that will compact and twist the straw into a "rope" which can be coiled in a spool, sparing the fastening rope. The project will be developed using engineering resources such as structural analysis, as well as simulation and optimization of the continuous compaction process based on the equilibrium of friction forces, together with the construction and evaluation of the experimental unit at the Prototype Laboratory of FEAGRI/UNICAMP. (AU)

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