Bamboo, the industry of the future.- especially for South Africa

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With climate change  South Africa is in deep trouble.  Time is running out. 

When I think about the farmers in the Western Parts of South Africa, my heart bleed for then, not to mention all the other drought stricken areas who are suffering, communities the most.
Lets put expropriation and politics aside and look at what the future of agriculture can bring to the table. What you are about to read is a glimpse of the future. A self sustainable circular economy where nothing goes to waste. We need a more holistically approach of thinking and we are running out of time. 

The content.
Bamboo, the industry of the future.
Desertification, a new holistic approach to farming.
Indoor/container farming.
Paper pulp mill (wheat stover)
Cellulose Ethanol. (Maize stover)

1.Bamboo farming.
Bamboo, the industry of the future is here.
Bamboo is a grass, it has no legislations binding it to timber policies and licencing issues.(yet)
In South Africa we have only a few farmers in the starting phases.
With a wide untapped market, the opportunities are endless. Poor communities will benefit the most for low cost housing.
Bamboo supplies 10% of the world’s paper pulp. The cost per metric ton of paper is over US$ 700/. It can be estimated that a plantation of giant bamboo with 200 bamboo clumps per hectare can give an annual yield of about 2000 poles with a biomass of as much as 50 metric tons of bamboo for manufacture of paper pulp.
Bamboo pole prices
90-100 mm 6m = R100. 80-90mm 6m = R90. 70-80mm 6m = R80.
60-70mm 6m = R70. 50-60mm 6m = R50.
50-60mm 3m = R30. 40-50mm 3m = R20.
20-30mm 2m = R10.

Fifty metric tons of bamboo can yield 20 metric tons of paper pulp which at a cost of
US $700/ give a potential income of US$ 14000/ per hectare per year.

Bamboo shoots are a nutritious vegetable. Export of canned bamboo shoots is a thriving industry in Indonesia and Thailand. Species suitable for edible shoot production (Dendrocalaumusasper, D. latiflorus) are grown on plantation scale. Such plantations provide both edible shoots and mature poles for construction and generate an income of over US $50 million per year.

Bamboo charcoal and activated carbon are also in high demand. Manufacture of bamboo charcoal is a cottage industry in some parts of Africa.

Running bamboo varieties grow more quickly than clumping plants, with an average growth in height of 3 to 5 feet per year. Clumping varieties grow on average 1 to 3 feet taller per year.

The timber bamboo(Bambusa oldhamii) grows an amazing 2 to 3 feet a day until it reaches 20m or higher.

NON-INVASIVE CLUMPING BAMBOOS. Clumping bamboos make excellent, fast-growing, evergreen hedges or specimen plants. ... The most cold-hardy of these are the Bambusa multiplex and Bambusa textilis varieties, evergreen to around 12 and 15 degrees F, respectively.

Typical height: 15 to 18m

Typical culm diameter: 10cm

Minimum temperature tolerance: -9°C

Climate: Very cold tolerant. Grows well anywhere in Australia

Light conditions:  Full sun to part shade

Growth habit: Upright, bushy

Bamboo can be implemented into Kwazulu Natal’s struggling sugar industry and King Goodwill Zwelithini’s Ingonyama Trust to create community projects, from nurseries to processing.  Currently I am working on a presentation to present to big mining companies so I don’t want to go into to much details for now.  

Livestock farming for commercial and rural areas with desertification project ideas and innovations.

How many of these success stories can be implemented into communities?
Why do people need land if we can do everything indoor with less energy and water. With solar and wind energy marginal cost can be reduced a lot but we need to train the people.

Agricultural Residue
Every year, millions of tons of agricultural residue, mainly corn and wheat stover, are burned and the energy wasted on the fields in order to reduce the biomass before ploughing  and preparing the soil for the next crop. The biggest drawback for the majority of these  agricultural residues to be utilised as a renewable energy resource is the low concentration  of the residues as it is spread out over vast areas of land.

Agricultural residue from irrigated land where very high crop yields are achieved is  concentrated around the water source. Agricultural residue produced in these areas has  higher potential as a renewable energy resource than rain-fed agricultural areas because of the higher concentration of available biomass.

Agricultural residues are produced as a waste product from food crops such as maize, wheat, sunflowers, etc. Currently small amounts of these residues are being used by farmers as feed for livestock and the rest of these are ploughed back into the soil or burned to get rid of the huge volumes of biomass before planting the next crop. The biggest advantage of utilizing agricultural residues is that it does not compete with the production of food, and if it can become a by-product that can be utilized economically for the production of energy, it will result in lower food prices. It is estimated that roughly one ton of residue is produced for every ton of grain harvested. Using the average production of maize, wheat, sunflowers and grain sorghum of the last five years, the primary energy potential from agricultural residues in South Africa is estimated at 225.3 PJ/yr.

For instance, The Greater Gariep agricultural area next to the Orange River between the Vanderkloof Dam and Prieska were evaluated for this research project. This area was chosen because of the following reasons:
• The agricultural land is concentrated next to the Orange River, a permanent water source from where the crops can be irrigated. As a result the crop yields produced are less dependent on the weather conditions making this area a reliable source of agricultural residue.
• Very high yields of maize (11 to 14 ton/ha) and wheat (5 to 8 ton/ha) are produced in this area. These high yields can be ascribed to a combination of fertile soil, favorable climate and the permanent water resource available for irrigation.
• The climatic conditions and permanent water supply allow for the practice of double cropping in this area, thus more than one crop can be produced on the same land in one year. This further increases the amount of agricultural residues produced per hectare per year. A general crop rotation system is followed in this area where typically two crops of maize and one crop of wheat is produced in 24 months allowing the soil to rest for 6 months out of the 24. From time to time, as required, the production of maize and wheat are rotated with legumes to maintain or increase the fertility of the soil.
• As a result of the double cropping practice and very high yields, the agricultural residue produced is too much to be ploughed back into the soil before planting the next crop, thus it is burned on the field to reduce the biomass before preparing the soil to plant the next crop.

It is not in the scope of this project to evaluate and compare the potential of all the different agricultural areas in South Africa, thus there might be many other areas that also have a high concentration and energy density of agricultural residue that can be utilized. The area investigated stretches for approximately 150 km (straight line distance) next to the Orange River from the Vanderkloof Dam to Douglas where the Vaal River meets the Orange River.

From Douglas it stretches for approximately another 115 km (straight line distance) to Prieska. The majority of the fields are located within 2.5 km to 3 km from the river to minimize pumping cost, thus the fields with potential to produce agricultural residue as renewable energy resource are located in an area that is approximately 265 km long and 6 km wide.

Maize and wheat are the main crops produced in this area and only the residue from these crops will be considered as renewable energy resource from this area. Although other crops are planted from time to time, the residues from these (typically legume) crops are very little compared to maize and wheat residue and it is more valuable as animal feed or natural nitrogen and phosphate source to the soil and is used accordingly. In the Greater Gariep agricultural area adjacent to the Orange River between Prieska and the Vanderkloof dam alone an estimated 311 000 ton/yr of maize and wheat straw is available. These agricultural residues have an energy equivalent of 196 000 ton of coal per year and should be utilized as a renewable energy resource or more. (One of many suitable areas in South Africa.

1. Stover technologies.
So lets look at another model of Maize residue and the non-existing Green Agricultural bio mass industry.Especially in continuous-maize regions, Residue is creating an extra revenue stream for farmers who are selling it for other uses. For some maize farmers that opportunity is being provided by a $30 million plant that takes in maize stover purchased from area farmers, and through a propriety process, pelletizes the Residue to be marketed as feed and fuel products. And not only is it putting cash back in farmers’ pockets, aside from a few large operations that opted to harvest the residue themselves, it’s alleviating them of the task. 

Realizing their expertise was in the pelleting process and not in the field, the plant initially began investigating what the feedstock harvest, collection and transportation model would have to look like—baling and hauling 90,000 tons of maize residue is no minute task—and professional industry contacts referred them to an well established Corp. “They were made aware of our experience through our work in cellulosic ethanol, and they reached out to us,” “We’d begun talking to Caterpillar about teaming up with them and their Job Site Solutions Group, so they ended up becoming the supplier for our Technology, and we became the contractor.”  

For the Pellet plant feedstock collection program, the contractor has taken the logistics reins and now heads up the harvesting, baling, stacking and delivery of the residue bales to the pellet plant. The first harvest was last fall, and they will be back in the fields this year as part its contract with the Pellet . “In a nutshell, the Pellet plant has relationships with farmers in and around them, contracts with them that allow the contractor to harvest and remove Residue off their property.” “Once the grain is harvested, the farmer informs them the field is ready, and then we remove it within a certain window.”

From there, the contractor takes charge. “We cut and windrow the maize residue with a flail shredder, then we use our large square bailers to bale the material in the windrows, and we contracted with Stinger, which has self-propelled bale stackers that stack the bales at the field edge. At that point, the trucking company we hired comes in to deconstruct and load the bales on a trailer behind a tractor rig and haul them to the plant.”

That work isn’t as simple as it sounds—in 2016, the contractor worked with over 66 farmers, covering some 16187.42 ha across more than 300 fields to harvest nearly 93,000 tons of maize residue This residue was processed into 143,800 bales and required 3,852 truck deliveries to Pellet plant facility, work that was completed by a fleet of 25 high- horsepower tractors, 12 large square balers, 12 shredders, six self-propelled (Stinger) stackers, and nine tractor trailer rigs.

Though the end use of the residue is different than the contractors previous end uses, the efforts are the same. “We’re taking on more responsibility than we have in the past by providing all of the services, but what’s going on is more or less identical to the ethanol projects,” he says. 

Now, the contractor is gearing up for another harvest, and will draw on last year’s experience to maximize overall efficiency of the logistics operations. But, there’s still knowledge to gain. “Despite the fact that we have this vast experience, we still learned a lot this year, and a lot of it was surrounding equipment performance and how to maximize it, and how to minimize downtime and maintenance costs,” he adds. “We’re always learning something we didn’t know, and I think that puts us in a pretty good position, because we already had a lot of experience, and we continue to add to that every harvest Stover Makeover:

Animal feed pellets from Maize residue
After gazing upon a seemingly endless sea of maize stubble one day, a man had a vision in which he saw much more than stalks, leaves and cobs left to rot. What he thought must surely be possible then has since proven to be true. The result is a $30 million Pellet plant that for months area residents have watched emerge from the earth.
He invented the process by which maize stalks, extremely difficult to work with and not unlike bamboo in their rigidity, are reduced to a material that is “like the inside of a pillow.” The plant’s final product supports both the agriculture and energy industries while also supplying feed using raw materials and processes that are both local. At the bottom line is a plant capable of producing 250,000 tons of animal feed by a staff of 39 new employees and growing (the facility was designed with expansion in mind from the outset). The injection of dollars into the area economy during the three month spike of construction was much higher, of course, than will be the case when the plant settles into ongoing production over years of time.
In those months some 300 workers came and went during the various construction stages, a reality that added up to 300 local hotel rooms, hundreds upon hundreds of meals purchased and more. Why the area? If one queried Google Earth, “Where is the most irrigated maize on flat ground on the planet” the arrow “would point right here.” High quality maize and top yields are what the plant must have to assure its own product maintains rigid standards for quality, consistency, traceability, sustainability and value. “We look at it as the next generation of feed,” “Our specialty is taking fiber and adding value to it.”The feed pellet industry has many bridges to ethanol.

“Ethanol takes stuff apart. We’re putting it back together.” Maize residue, he said, “Is a big problem,” for farmers. That problem is being reversed into an asset by the fewer than 100 area farmers who gained income of $111 to $370 per hectare by selling more than 100,000 tons of stover to the plant in its first year. Income per acre for growers varies based upon a number of factors that include yield and whether the farmer or the company gathers and bales the stover.

Three area landowners earned a premium last season by harvesting their own fields.

“This year, was pretty good for a kick-off year.” The company produces three different formulations depending upon the nutrients it adds during processing. The first which is a consistently sized, 3/8 inch residue only pellet with no added ingredients to be used strictly for its effective fiber benefits. The second, adds precisely formulated co-products, obtained from ethanol plants as one source, to the processed residue base material. Pellets are further refined into feed that best serves animals as they advance from one life stage to another. The third, specifically supplements the diet of cows and calves on pasture grass. Is the direct customer the livestock producer operation directly, or are dealers used to distribute the finished product?“ Both,” said Ives. “We love to sell direct,” however the company also understands there are advantages specific to a network of dealers, too.

The company, recognizing the value for farmers in maize residue left undisturbed on fields, takes that into consideration at the start. Less than 50 percent of the residue on a given field is removed. All the rest is left in place. In addition a producer’s fields are rested by carefully-managed residue harvest rotation from one growing season to the next. About that aforementioned, already designed-in plant expansion? It would be a fool’s wager to bet against that happening light of the incredible 2.5 million tons of residue that are produced in a single year within just 50 miles area. There has never been a shred of doubt maize is the multi-faceted economic heavy-hitter in and around our area.
Now, with the arrival of this technology , the industry is taking “value-added” in a whole new direction.

A Chinese paper-making company has reached a deal to bring its first manufacturing plant to the East Coast of the United States. CCTV 

Meanwhile across state
The $184 million investment is slated to bring 60 to 100 skilled jobs to the site.
 The new wheat straw pulp plant is slated to open by April 1, a company official says. The Pulp liquid co-products product manager gave an update during an Expo and Farm Forum. “This is a first-of-its-kind facility," "There's no other plant in the world doing what we do. “The plant, based is the first pulp mill to be built in the U.S. in the last 35 years.  The Pulp plant purchased a technology license for from a separate company, Sustainable Fiber Technologies. Pulp the plant produces is aimed for molded fiber, tissue and towel, specialty and packaging markets. Biopolymers are targeted for de-icing, crop and soil health, erosion control, dust suppression, animal nutrition and construction material markets. The plant will use 250,000 tons of wheat straw per year to produce 150,000 tons of pulp and 95,000 dry tons, or 155,000 wet tons, of biopolymers. The plant can produce 400 metric tons of dry wheat straw pulp and 433 wet tons of biopolymer per day.

The plant expects demand for straw to eventually increase to more than 1 million tons each year as the company adds facilities in other locations. The company is already looking for a site for a second facility, he said. The company uses more than 4 million tons of wheat straw per year from farmers within a 150-mile radius of the plant. A contractor is mainly the sole supplier of straw.. The company pays $40 per ton to pick up straw stacked and baled next to the road, and $55 per ton for straw that is delivered to the company. The price increases $5 per ton if the farmer contracts for 25,000 tons or more, and an additional $2 per ton if the supplier is self-performing, using an app to scale and unload themselves in the company stackyards. "We're bringing this facility into the middle of dryland wheat country.” "Those communities are almost always hurting for good, family living-wage jobs."

Cellulosic Ethanol Biotechnology from Abengoa. Abengoa's patented second-generation (2G) cellulosic biotechnology process breaks down the tough fibers in corn stover to create naturally derived ethanol fuel. See the science behind how we're turning the natural sugars in corn stover -- the inedible stalks and husks left over after the harvest -- into the next great renewable fuel with new enzymes that will help bring about a revolution in sugar-based, renewable materials.

An Advanced Biofuel company will build an on-site enzyme manufacturing (OSM) facility of $275 million. The facility will be integrated into other technology package, replicable in future facilities. For the Project, the OSM will directly pipe enzymes into the production process without requiring downstream processing, stabilizers and other chemicals required for enzyme transportation.
New enzymes developed are also expected to improve effectiveness of the enzyme mix, further reducing costs for the process. One company has been awarded the contract for the design, engineering and construction management. Basic engineering is complete, and construction is expected to begin in late spring or early summer.
The Project is a cellulosic ethanol plant that uses corn cobs, leaves, husk and some stalk to produce renewable biofuel. Over the last 18 months significant design improvements have been made to the plant and further investments to improve yields and make the process more consistent and reliable. The facility is producing at a rate of 70 gallons per bone-dry ton of biomass, near the target conversion rate, and is currently in a ramp-up phase.
“Enzymes for cellulosic ethanol have been improving dramatically in recent years, and this is another leap delivered by our partner in both cost and performance,” “It will be a valuable addition to the partners integrated licensing package.”
“We have reached some important production thresholds in recent months. This gives us the confidence to move to this next level of technology development,” “The startup and ramp-up of the Project have provided valuable experience for developing a cost-effective process that can be replicated across the U.S. and world.” Stover are collected in a 100 mile radius.

We are moving into the 4th Agricultural/ Industrial Revolution - We are on the verge of another revolution in how we produce our food but there is more, the Fourth Industrial Revolution creates not only new opportunities that have some affinity to the challenges but world class innovations to.

We all recognises that a clean, resource-rich natural environment supports the growth of business and the economy and is vital for healthy communities. With Solar we can Reducing energy consumption and increase profitability.

The sun is the most abundant and reliable source of energy supplying the earth and strictly speaking indirectly responsible for wind, wave, biomass and hydro resources as well. For the purpose of this study, solar energy only refers to the direct conversion of solar energy to heat or electricity. The average annual solar radiation onto the earth is more that 7 500 times the global primary energy consumption of 450 EJ in 2005 (WEC, 2007) all of which is obviously not exploitable, but only 0.015% has to be exploited to meet the world’s current energy demand.
South Africa has some of the highest solar energy potentials in the world with an average daily solar radiation between 4.5 and 6.5 kWh/m2 (DME, 2003). South Africa sit in a position where we can go and take the best technology from the East and the West by combining it. We have the best of both worlds, without even touching degradable plastic products or the Hemp Industry. All above can be done within a few years and other areas

People it is time to start planning the future. It is time to challenge government. We will turn agriculture around, create better living standard for all and do it in 10 years, will the ANC be able to deliver basic toilets, I think not, lets challenge them. Up to now not one politician nor agricultural union has mention any of these innovations. They do not know how important agriculture is for the future. We don’t need government. We need to make noise and go public with a damn good deal on the table and get the public behind us.
Agricultural processing plants like Afgri and alike need to dump Eskom at and built there own solar plants. It can be a meter company on its own, generation revenue for future generations from the sun. Green finance is everywhere for this.

For more information around existing Business models and Corporate planning feel free to contact me This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 0826192968. 
Johan Boshoff.

We took out all the links in this article- Contact Johan directly for all the information.

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