With the purpose of increasing the net energy balance of Brassica carinata we hereby propose to recover, in addition to oil from seeds, furfural from straws. To evaluate the net energy yield of transformation, about 600 plants of B. carinata have been cultivated and 100 randomly selected plants analyzed. Seeds and straws were divided, weighed and used for oil and furfural extraction, respectively. The oil content ranged from 2.5 up to 40 g per plant with a mean value of 19.6 g. The quantity of extracted oil resulted strictly correlated to seed weight rather than to oil percentage in the seed. The straw weight ranged from 450 up to 625 g per plant with a mean value of 500.6 g. Furfural was produced with a yield of 6.4% from fresh weight straw. Oil and furfural productivity per hectare were calculated from the obtained mean values per plant. It was found that the energy content in the furfural is similar to that of oil. The furfural production increases the overall energy yield of conversion from 7.1% (calculated considering only the oil from the seeds) up to 13.8% (calculated considering the oil from the seeds plus the furfural from the straws). The steam needed for furfural production and purification can be obtained by burning about one half of the cellulose and lignin, obtained as byproduct after straw processing for furfural extraction. Furfural can be hydrogenated to produce tetrahydrofurfuryl alcohol a renewable bio-fuel of new generation with chemical-physical characteristics very similar to those of kerosene. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Waste Management and Disposal