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Energy potential, nutrient uptake and carbon fixation from cassava biomass

Grant number: 11/20885-1
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: July 01, 2012 - December 31, 2014
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agronomy - Crop Science
Principal Investigator:Teresa Losada Valle
Grantee:Teresa Losada Valle
Host Institution: Instituto Agronômico (IAC). Agência Paulista de Tecnologia dos Agronegócios (APTA). Secretaria de Agricultura e Abastecimento (São Paulo - Estado). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers: Cássia Regina Limonta Carvalho ; Denizart Bolonhezi ; Heitor Cantarella ; José Carlos Feltran ; Lilian Cristina Anefalos ; Mônica Ferreira de Abreu ; Ricardo Augusto Dias Kanthack ; Waldir Antonio Bizzo


The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the global demand for clean energy has generated new debates on alternative energy sources. Among them, biomass energy is one of the most promising. However, its use is far below its potential for a number of scientific, technological and economic limitations, recently considered. Therefore, other plant raw materials have been analyzed to be used as new alternatives. Although Brazil has paid little attention to the use of cassava as a source of energy, significant investments have been made in China and in African countries, with cassava ethanol plants already producing. That is because cassava can adapt to different tropical environments, especially low fertility soils and areas with low rainfall rates, unlike other cultivations. The objectives of this work are: a) assess the potential for the production of ethanol from cassava tuberous roots, b) quantify the heat energy produced by the residual biomass (leaves and steams). 3) quantify nutrient extraction from biomass and carbon sequestration; 4) conduct a comparative study on the technical and economic standpoint between cassava and sugar cane. Five different varieties of cassava will be evaluated in several population densities and harvest seasons (early: 12 months after plantation; and late: 22 months after plantation). Changes in the accumulation and partitioning of assimilates between shoots and roots dry matter, may suggest handling alternatives for the production of energy. Nutrients extraction and carbon sequestration will help develop ecological and sustainable handling of the crops. The conclusions of this study might bring improvements to the agricultural production technology and the industrial procedures, optimizing the energy balance by using cassava residual biomass. (AU)

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