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A proposal for pellet production from residual woody biomass in the island of Majorca (Spain)

Grupo de Agroenergética, College of Agricultural Engineering, Technical University of Madrid, Av. Complutense s/n, 28040, Madrid, Spain

Special Issue: Renewable energy systems and agro-residue management

The use of residual biomass for energy purposes is of great interest in isolated areas like Majorca for waste reduction, energy sufficiency and renewable energies development. In addition, densification processes lead to easy-to-automate solid biofuels which additionally have higher energy density. The present study aims at (i) the estimation of the potential of residual biomass from woody crops as well as from agri-food and wood industries in Majorca, and (ii) the analysis of the optimal location of potential pellet plants by means of a GIS approach (location-allocation analysis) and a cost evaluation of the pellets production chain. The residual biomass potential from woody crops in Majorca Island was estimated at 35,874 metric tons dry matter (t DM) per year, while the wood and agri-food industries produced annually 21,494 t DM and 2717 t DM, respectively. Thus, there would be enough resource available for the installation of 10 pellet plants of 6400 t·year−1 capacity. These plants were optimally located throughout the island of Mallorca with a maximum threshold distance of 28 km for biomass transport from the production points. Values found for the biomass cost at the pellet plant ranged between 57.1 €·t−1 and 63.4 €·t−1 for biomass transport distance of 10 and 28 km. The cost of pelleting amounted to 56.7 €·t−1; adding the concepts of business fee, pellet transport and profit margin (15%), the total cost of pelleting was estimated at 116.6 €·t−1. The present study provides a proposal for pellet production from residual woody biomass that would supply up to 2.8% of the primary energy consumed by the domestic and services sector in the Balearic Islands.
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