Innovative combined supply chains

The objective of this task is to develop new supply chains for annual grassy and SRC (poplar) crops in industrial pilot-scale under real operational conditions, and demonstrate the feasibility of the improvement with the participation of the key players of the logistics system. The project will demonstrate best cultivation and harvesting practices for annual crops and woody crops, new supply chains for grassy energy crops: triticale and sorghum and new poplar supply systems. The demonstration work will be monitored and analysed by scientists. Production costs and biomass quality at the end-user level will be evaluated (CENER), and compared to current practice to assess the gains of improved logistics.

The demonstration will take place in south-western Spain around the Miajadas power plant built in 2010. The plant capacity is 16 MW of electricity (or MWe) and its annual consumption of biomass is 1,298,000 MWh. At the moment, the main fuels are straw and woody residues, the consumption of energy crops being 25,000 tons (i.e. 20 % of the current fuel use). In the future, the share of herbaceous energy crops is expected to increase to 25% of the total biomass consumption. Acciona is looking at the moment for new energy crops for fuel like triticale, oat, poplar and sorghum. Acciona is prepared to establish 15 ha of triticale cultivation and 50 ha for sorghum in the demonstration, 30 ha of poplar having already been implanted.

Besides the economic issues, sustainability will also be addressed in the demonstration, focusing on the environmental aspects. Energy consumption and GHG emissions will be measured and monitored in order to verify the improvements.

Expected outcome:

  1. Decreased cultivation costs for triticale and sorghum, through improved crop management practices targeting better production yields
  2. Decreased harvesting costs through more efficient machinery and a lower number of field operations
  3. Improved biomass quality and lower energy losses with new storing systems and the use of a quality control system
  4. Improved delivery of feedstock to biomass plants with the help of combined energy crops supply
  5. Possibilities for a new approach to the Bioenergy / Biomaterials market for the agriculture sector by means of assuring increased economical profits.