Cuba to use sugar cane in new electricity plant

A sugar cane harvester at work in Calimete, Matanzas province, Cuba
A sugar cane harvester at work in Calimete, Matanzas province, Cuba. Cuba will open its first electricity plant using sugar cane as a biofuel hoping eventually to meet 30 percent of its energy needs from the fuel source, the official Granma daily said Thursday.

Cuba will open its first electricity plant using sugar cane as a biofuel hoping eventually to meet 30 percent of its energy needs from the fuel source, the official Granma daily said Thursday.

The plant, being built in Ciego de Avila province, some 400 kilometers (240 miles) east of Havana, will use "biomass from sugar cane (the residue from agricultural products) and forestry" particularly an invasive hardwood species known as "marabu" which provides good quality charcoal.

Initially the aim is to supply the energy needed to run sugar processing plants, an official from the state Azcuba sugar group, Angel Mendez, told a parliamentary committee.

"Increasing the production of sugar and electricity in a parallel fashion is Azcuba's top priority," Granma added. "The aim is meet 30 percent of the electricity needs" of the country.

In 2005 Cuba launched an extensive program to expand and modernize its . The plan which hit a setback amid the economic crisis in 2009 aims to install new generators, replace millions of appliances to ensure they are more energy efficient and repair power lines.


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Dec 22, 2011
they aren't burning the biomass before harvest, they are burning it (i presume) afterwards to make electricity.

it's a carbon-neutral cycle in any case, the carbon emitted having been temporarily sequestered in the biomass, to be re-sequestered in the next harvest, and so on.

Dec 23, 2011
The burning before cutting helps concentrate the sugar in the stalk and of course burns the leaves (biomass) as the fuel. Paulo is actually more off centre on this one. Jamaica has for decades been at the forefront of this technology, running entire sugar mills from their own biomass waste (bagasse).

Dec 23, 2011
As for the carbon arising from burning the sugar cane fields before harvest...

..it is the same carbon that these plants grab out of the air to build themselves during growth. The entire chain is carbon neutral.

Whether you release the CO2 by burning this stuff, letting it rot and let the bacteria that eat it release the CO2 or eating it and exhaling the resultant CO2 makes no difference whatsoever when it comes to the bottom line.

Dec 23, 2011
I wonder if the harvester consumes more energy than you gain from its harvest.

Dec 23, 2011
As for the carbon arising from burning the sugar cane fields before harvest...

..it is the same carbon that these plants grab out of the air to build themselves during growth. The entire chain is carbon neutral.

Whether you release the CO2 by burning this stuff, letting it rot and let the bacteria that eat it release the CO2 or eating it and exhaling the resultant CO2 makes no difference whatsoever when it comes to the bottom line.


Except that burning ethanol produces a lot of benzene compared to idk say solar or wind. If you capture and safely use all that benzene then great but there are cheaper ways to get benzene so they will obviously opt for what I would like to coin: "natural filtration". That is they send is out the smokepipe for our lungs to filter out of the air for them.

Benzene is one of the most mutagenic organic compounds we know of, and we make it by the gigaton. Zombie apocalypse anyone?

Jan 31, 2012
I am waiting for an environmental group or leftist organization to point to satellite imagery showing tremendous amounts of pollution flowing into the oceans not to mention the air and heavy metal pollution from this communist country. I won't hold my breath.

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