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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Houma, Louisiana » Sugarcane Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #329278

Research Project: Integrated Crop, Soil, and Water Management Systems for Sustainable Production of Sugarcane for Bioenergy Feedstock

Location: Sugarcane Research

Title: Post-processing, energy production use of sugarcane bagasse ash

Author
item Webber Iii, Charles
item White, Paul
item Petrie, Eric
item Shrefler, James - Oklahoma State University
item Taylor, Merritt - Oklahoma State University

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/11/2016
Publication Date: 7/31/2016
Citation: Webber III, C.L., White Jr, P.M., Petrie, E.C., Shrefler, J.W., Taylor, M. 2016. Post-processing, energy production use of sugarcane bagasse ash. Advances in Sugar Crop Processing and Conversion Conference Proceedings, March 15-18, 2016, New Orleans, Louisiana. p. 374-384.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Sugarcane bagasse ash (SBA) is a multi-process by-product produced from the milling of sugarcane. Bagasse is the fibrous material remaining after removing the sugar, water, and other impurities from the sugarcane delivered to the mill. Louisiana produces an estimated 2.7 mt of bagasse each year. In Louisiana, the bagasse is then often used as a fuel for running the mills (steam and electricity), processing the sugarcane (fueling boilers), and selling excess electricity, and as a result producing over 20,411 mt SBA as a by-product annually. Sugarcane mill owners, operators, and associated researchers have investigated and employed various uses for the sugarcane bagasse ash. Research was conducted to investigate the use of SBA as an amendment to soilless planting media for the production of vegetable seedlings. The ash was combined by volume with a commercial soilless growing media into 5 ratios (0%:100%, 25%:75%, 50%:50%, 75%:25%, and 100%:0%, sugarcane bagasse ash and growing media, respectively). Squash (Cucurbita pepo L.) var. ‘Straightneck’ and cantaloupe (Cucumis melo L.) var. ‘Magnum Hybrid Melon’ were planted in each of the 5 different planting mixtures with 4 replications and each experiment repeated twice. The results indicate that the addition of the ash enhanced squash and cantaloupe seedling growth, depending on the percentage of the ash added to the growth media. Squash plant stalk lengths and plant total fresh weights (stalk, leaves, tops, roots, and total plant) overall responded best at the 75% ash levels. Squash dry weights were consistently greater for all treatments where ash was added to the growth media compared to adding no ash. The 25% and 50% ash media produced the greatest cantaloupe leaf fresh weights. Cantaloupe leaf dry weights followed a similar trend, where the 25% and 50% ash media produced greater plant weights with lesser yields compared to the 75% and 100% ash media. This data suggests that the 75% and 25% ash growth media were suitable potting media combinations for squash and cantaloupe seedling production, respectively. Future research should investigate the addition of starter fertilizers to the sugarcane bagasse ash amended media to further enhance the growth of squash and cantaloupe seedlings. Additional plant species should also be evaluated for their response to sugarcane bagasse ash amended growth media.