Bagasse (sometimes spelled "bagass") is the
biomassremaining after sugarcaneor sorghumstalks are crushed to extract their juice and is not used currently as a renewable resource. [ [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9011737/bagasse bagasse -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia] ]
Agave bagasse is a similar material which consists of the tissue of the
blue agaveafter extraction of the sap.
A sugar factory produces nearly 30% of bagasse out of its total crushing.
Many research efforts have attempted to use bagasse as a renewable feedstock for
power generationand for the production of bio-based materials. One successful example has been to cultivate edible mushrooms, such as oyster or shiitake, on blocks or bags of chopped up bagasse.
Bagasse is often used as a primary fuel source for sugar mills [ [http://energyconcepts.tripod.com/energyconcepts/bagasse.htm Burning Bagasse] ] ; when burned in quantity, it produces sufficient heat energy to supply all the needs of a typical sugar mill, with energy to spare. To this end, a secondary use for this waste product is in
cogeneration, the use of a fuel source to provide both heat energy, used in the mill, and electricity, which is typically sold on to the consumer electricity grid.
The resulting CO2 emissions are equal to the amount of CO2 that the sugarcane plant absorbed from the atmosphere during its growing phase, which makes the process of cogeneration greenhouse gas-neutral. [http://www.floridacrystals.com Florida Crystals Corporation] , one of America's largest sugar companies, owns and operates the largest biomass power plant in North America. The 140 MW facility uses bagasse and urban wood waste as fuel to generate enough energy to power its large milling and refining operations as well as supply enough renewable electricity for nearly 60,000 homes. The facility reduces dependence on oil by more than one million barrels per year.
Ethanolproduced from the sugar in sugarcane is a popular fuel in Brazil. The cellulose rich bagasse is now being tested for production of commercial quantities of cellulosic ethanol. Verenium Corporation (VRNM) is currently building a cellulosic ethanolplant based on cellulosic by-products like bagasse in Jennings, Louisiana. They are using a biotech approach to improve ethanol production above and beyond the midwest corn based ethanol production method. This will allow regional cellulosic ethanol production getting around the problem of ethanol transportation. The Verenium approach will get ethanol and E85 fuel to the important markets in California and the Northeast.
Bagasse is also used as a tree-free alternative for making
paper. This process requires no bleaching, is more biodegradable, easier to recycle, and overall has less impact on the environment.Fact|date=January 2008 As in sugar production, the sludge left over after removing the cellulose fibers, is used to power the paper-mills. A number of commercial sites advertise such uses. [ [http://www.fullcircleplanet.com/ Home :: Full Circle Planet ] ] [ [http://www.stalkmarket.net/ Stalk Market - Earth Friendly Disposable Tableware ] ] [ [http://www.tree-free.com Tree-Free Greetings: Earth-Friendly Cards and Gifts, Wholesale Sales ] ] [ [http://www.excellentpackaging.com/pages/1/index.htm EPS Home Page ] ]
Bagasse is used to make insulated disposable food containers, replacing materials such as
styrofoam, which are increasingly regarded as environmentally unacceptable (see styrofoam bans). Insulated disposable food containers made of bagasse are commercially available. [ [http://www.apacbiopaperplastic.com APAC Bio-Paper and Plastic ] ]
Workplace exposure to dusts from the processing of Bagasse can cause the chronic lung condition
* [http://www.columbia.edu/~kjh2103/US-Bagasse-Cogen-Potential.pdf "The Potential of Bagasse-Based Cogeneration in the US"] , Kevin Ho, Columbia University, 2006.
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