The production of a new generation of biofuel – biobutanol from agricultural waste
Invasive species such as Giant Hogweed (Heracelum sosnowskyi) can do a serious harm to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and have negative impact on environment and socio-economic situation. It is a threat to biodiversity, landscape quality and human health. According to the statistics of 2010 the total area invaded by Giant Hogweed in Latvia was 10’230ha. Hogweed eradication activities have proven to be difficult and they haven not brought expected results. The biomass of invasive species and environmental waste is still over the management capacity level. We found a quite unusual solution for that.
1.image. Giant Hogweeds (Heracleum sosnowskyi) – can grow till four metres.
- To develop a sustainable technology for the use of waste materials and their conversion into biobutanol – the 2nd generation biofuel.
- To implement a new technology-based process for biofuel – biobutanol production.
IES developed the methodology for the identification, spatial mapping and biomass assessment of Giant Hogweed by using airborne remote sensing . The data were acquired and processed in two ways: by the ground truth method and by using the advanced airborne remote sensing technologies – a high resolution RGB camera, a LiDAR laser scanner and hyperspectral sensors. In order to calibrate airborne remote sensing data a portable spectrometer was used to collect spectral signatures of Giant Hogweed.
2.image. The portable spectrometer was used to obtain a spectral signature of Giant Hogweed and calibrate airborne remote sensing.
The territories of Cesis municipality invaded by Giant Hogweed were mapped and overall amount of hogweed biomass was measured. The total hogweed biomass is 45-80 tons per hectare. In the laboratory of Riga Technical University it was proved that from one ton of hogweed biomass it is possible to produce 30-50 liters of biofuel. If the fuel prices keep rising, the hogweed biofuel could bring economical return.
3.image. A sampling plot for the identification and assessment of Giant Hogweed and its biomass in airborne hyperspectral images and LiDAR data.
Project duration: 01.12.2010 – 28.02.2013
Project Leader: Tālis Juhna, Vice-rector for Research of Riga Technical University
Project financed by: European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
Beneficiary: Riga Technical University (RTU)