This work investigated the utilization of giant reed as energy crop applied marginal areas of the municipality cluster “Unione Terre d’Argine” (UTA), Northern Italy. On one hand, the researchers modeled the giant reed productivity in terms of ton/year for each town of the cluster. They focused on those areas neighboring the local rivers and channels kept unused for farming activities: i.e. riverbanks or detention basin shores. On the other hand, experimental tests were performed to determine the behavior of giant reed as fuel in pilot-scale gasification power plants. Results showed the high potential of small or pilot-scale gasifiers to increase the sustainability of river maintenance operations. From its gasification it is possible to produce electrical power together with biochar. Biochar is a powerful soil amendment that can be used straight in the riverbanks. The tandem process between giant reed growth and its gasification leads to 150 kg of CO2 sequestered for every ton of giant reed processed. Furthermore, the energy production from waste biomasses will help to perform better and more regular maintenance operation to the local rivers and channels, thus reducing the negative effects of possible floods.
Arundo Donax, gasification, carbon sequestration, Renewable energy
Authors are thankful to Giulia Compagnoni and Jessica Riscili, as well as to all the participants in the project REBAF Grant number: PG/2015/854163 “Recupero Energetico Biomasse Alvei Fluviali” - Project co-financed by 2014–2020 ROP ERDF, Emilia-Romagna Region (www.rebaf.it).
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