RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
Biomass-Fuel For the Future
Silva Ortus has spent more than 5 years conducting extensive research and development on various bamboo species. One very important fact is that bamboo is a biomass that is excluded from the food for fuel debate. Whilst certain bamboo species’ shoots can be eaten, bamboo is not officially regarded as a staple food crop. Due to the fact that bamboo can grow on extremely marginal soils, not usually recommended for growing traditional food crops – bamboo is truly in a category of its own.
Biomass Process Technology Research - five years of bamboo research, specifically involving Giant Bamboo species, resulted in the conclusion that this bamboo was indeed very well suited to its use in various biomass process technologies. The Silva Ortus then turned its attention to the process technologies that could use bamboo biomass as a feedstock to produce renewable energy types – in different physical formats.
To circumvent both issues, Silva Ortus decided to invest in a self-funded program to propagate its own bamboo plants by establishing a tissue culture laboratory in Swaziland. The laboratory has developed its own specific and unique tissue culture protocols for the propagation of its bamboo. To date, this activity alone has been a 30 month journey of intensive scientific research, conducted by highly qualified and professional staff. The result has been the successful propagation of Giant Bamboo that has now been very successfully planted out into the field. This is a great achievement, attained in a very short period of time.
The developed countries of Europe and North America fall far north of the tropics and hence no bamboo is commercially cultivated in these countries. Surprisingly, bamboo is not grown in any significant quantities in Brazil, the reason being that the Brazilian government heavily subsidised companies and communities to grow sugar cane for the country’s bioethanol production program. Brazil is a world leader in bioethanol fuel production.