In Mexico, biomass is the largest renewable source of energy, mainly due to the intensive use of firewood for cooking and heating (67.3%) and the sugarcane bagasse used for cogeneration of thermal energy in sugar mills (32.7%). In the short and medium term, the most promising application for forest biofuels is the combined use of wood chips with residues of sugarcane (bagasse and straw) to cogenerate electricity in sugar mills and ethanol distilleries.
The sugarcane bagasse is usually directly burned in boilers to provide both process heat and electrical power using steam cycles. This paper describes a methodology to determine the amount of biomass available, as well as the potential for generating heat and electrical power when using sugarcane bagasse produced in Mexico as a decarbonization alternative. An estimate is also presented of the tons of CO2 that would be left to be emitted into the atmosphere due to the use of sugarcane bagasse waste.
The waste generation potential of sugarcane produced in Mexico has been identified and classified as: total potential, accessible potential, available potential, and energy potential. Finally, the potential for generating heat and electrical power when using sugarcane bagasse as a decarbonization alternative is presented.
The estimated potential of electric power generation when using biomass from sugarcane bagasse from the sugar mills of Mexico is de 22.074 MWh, which represents satisfying about 53% of the energy purchased from the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE, for its acronym in Spanish). value translates into economic savings for the sugar mills, contributes to reduce the use of fossil fuels and in addition they would stop emitting approximately 353 tCO2 / MWh (tons of carbon dioxide per MWh of energy consumed) into the atmosphere.