Cuba Applies Strategies to Convert Forest Biomass into Energy

Havana, Feb 11 (Prensa Latina) Eliminating an invasive plant such as marabú, obtaining high-demand charcoal in the international market and producing electrical energy in the process is one of Cuba”s strategies for using forest biomass.

The Development and Business Specialist of the Agroforestry Company Macurijes, Abelardo Dominguez, spoke with Prensa Latina about the project Marabú and explained that the coal produced by that plant today has the entire market covered due to its high caloric level.

The exports of this vegetable coal began about five years ago, he said and added that it has advantages because this kind of biomass at no cost and with a high-energy potential enables its use in bioelectric plants to produce energy through renewable sources.

Dominguez explained that the company Macurijes is about to realize a business with a European partner to generate electricity from the waste of the forest industry such as the degraded plantations of the marubú and eucalyptus.

The subscription of this agreement would be for the first quarter of this year, and after its execution, start the production of electricity by 2019.

Likewise, other projects are being developed with the marabú, among them, one in Camaguey province with the Vietnamese company Tintan – in process of signing -, and others in Villa Clara and Ciego de Ávila, in all of them it is foreseen that once eliminated The thorny bush will plant energetic plantations to give sustainability to the project, added the specialist.

He specified that in the case of Camaguey is intended to generate some 60 megawatts. Once the marabou has been eradicated, sweet sorghum will be grown for animal feed and the residues will go to a bioelectric plant, as well as the new forest plantations that in total will amount to about 18 thousand hectares.

The perspective of the Marabú Project is to eliminate the plant; he said and explained that it is an invasive shrub whose wood yields are very low between 35 and 40 tons per hectare. In a comparison he commented that a plantation of eucalyptus energetic forest at seven years could reach 150 tons per hectare.

However, Dominguez pointed out that the marabu is a plant that forms soil, since being so intricate protects the land from the erosion of wind and water, so it fertilizes and prepares it for new crops.

The aspiration is to eliminate the marabu and replace it, to return the land to its initial use, in the pasture to plant pastures, if it is the forestry activity to plant forests, or in various crops, he concluded.

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