[CHALLENGE] Using biomass for energy production

Continuing the discussion from Bio-inspired scale and methods to rethink energy production:

Proposed by Dr. Jérôme Payet, CEO and Florent Querini, LCA engineer @ CYCLECO:
How could we use the energy that is embed in green waste to produce electricity BEFORE using their nutriment values for soil regeneration ?

  • Tons of annual green waste are generated by pruning hedges and trees along the roads plus other landscaping activities. They are generally either left on the soil to decompose after shredding, or brought to a field for composting
  • All this shredded wood has energy built into it, wasted through the decomposition
  • Nutriment are still there after burning

Electricity from biomass is usually produced from large-scale power plants, burning trees that could be used for construction, while waste from landscaping activities contain energy that is lost during decomposition.
The challenge here is to propose a way of producing electricity from these waste at a very small scale (1 m3 of biomass).
Electricity is already produced by nature at the microscopic small scale of cells, which generate a small electric current thanks to ion exchanges through the cellular membrane. Taking inspiration from this could help designing a breakthrough technology for small scale electricity generation.

Hi Dr. Payet,

There is a very clever design by American physicist Carl Johnson who has built biodecomposition space heaters. We are looking at doing this in South Africa:

in certain provinces where there is a lot of green yard waste.