Power generation based on agricultural residues gasification: The potential of corncobs

Maria F. Gómez, Laura V. Martínez, Alessandro Sanches-Pereira, A. Manrique

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Interest in biomass-based power generation has increasingly grown during the last decade. Yet, the majority of current biomass gasification projects producing heat and power use wood as raw material in developed countries and sugar cane bagasse and palm oil residues in countries such as Colombia. There is an identified need for diversifying biomass sources that guarantee at least a cost- benefit ratio similar to that for wood gasification processes and promote their implementation in tropical areas. Currently there is no practical experience of this technology that is reported in Colombia and the use of corncobs for power generation is a new approach to utilize the biomass potential in this context. Our goal is to analyze the potential of corncobs for power generation through gasification. The analysis is performed using a case study in the largest wholesale market of Colombia, where not only residues are generated but electricity is required to carry out commercial activities. With a production of three tons of corncobs per day, our estimate indicates a potential to cover about 42% of the actual electricity consumption in the wholesale market. In a first stage we characterize corncobs. Then, we evaluate power generation at laboratory scale for different corncobs loads. Finally, we develop a techno-economic analysis to estimate the Levelized Cost of Electricity – LCOE corresponding to this particular technology in the context of Colombia. Different process variables for a constant load of 12 kW were used in a downdraft gasifier coupled to an internal combustion engine (18 kW installed capacity). It was obtained a LCOE of 0,17 USD/kWh which is lower than the price of electricity currently charged at 0,18 UDS/kWh.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-95
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Biomass Conference and Exhibition Proceedings
Issue number25thEUBCE
StatePublished - Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Forestry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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