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Rice husk


Rice Husk Can Fuel Power Plants in Rice Mills, Finds Study

Rice husk, which is mostly a waste product from rice milling, can be used to generate power in rice mills, according to a study by the Affiliated Renewable Energy Center, Central Philippine University (CPU-AREC).

The study on “Rice Husk potential as Energy Source in Panay, Philippines” finds that rice husk can be used to generate energy, which can be alternately used for other purposes like drying in the rice mills. According to Mr. Jeriel G. Militar, Project Director of CPU-AREC, approximately 290 kilograms of rice husk is obtained from a ton of paddy rice milled and it is usually left on paddy fields to be decayed or burned. Most of the mills face difficulty in disposing it. Though the rice husk is used as fuel for cook stoves, pottery kilns, ovens and dyers, its use is by far very limited.

According to the study, rice husk has high calorific value of about 3,000 kcal/kg and it is a renewable source of energy as well as a non-carbon fuel. Mr. Militar and team found that one ton of rice husk can produce approximately 726.46 Kilo watts of energy per hour and 82.93 megawatts of power. They recommend setting up of rice husk fueled power plants in rice mills.

However generating power from rice husk has some disadvantages. Rice husk is difficult to store because of its bulky nature and ash content from rice husk (17 - 26%) is much more than that from wood (0.2 - 2%) and coal (12.2%). The total cost of setting up plant and running it is pretty high. Mr.Militar and his team are identifying rice mills which are ready to invest in rice husk power plants in each municipality in the Panay province of the Philippines. However, the study will be useful in countries such as Pakistan, where power costs are high and supply is inconsistent.

The team is also considering recommendations of earlier studies on the subject. According to previous studies, direct combustion is recommended for most heat applications and gasification is recommended for small to medium scale applications. Already some rice mills in Nueva Ecija province are using 'Flatbed Paddy Dryer' using direct combustion and 'Flatbed Paddy Dryer' using gasifier. Similarly a rice mill in Isabela province has set up 1-MW rice husk fueled Power Plant and another mill in the same province has set up a 2- MW Power Plant.

The study also says that the Philippines government is providing various incentives for energy utilization of rice husk under the Renewable Energy Law.



Next-generation batteries from rice husk

Nano-size silicon particles for the next-generation Lithium-ion batteries could be produced from rice husk, an abundant agricultural waste, according to research recently published in Scientific Reports .

Nano silicon had attracted considerable attention as a promising anode material for such high-performance batteries, which would power future electric vehicles and portable devices, observed Yi Cui, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford University in the U.S., and his colleagues in their paper.

Although nano silicon anodes were superior to graphite ones in terms of performance, methods to produce the silicon anodes at a cost and with scalability comparable to graphite were needed. Current processes to form silicon nanomaterials were usually complex, costly and energy-intensive, they pointed out. In rice husk, silica existed naturally in the form of nanoparticles and accounted for as much as 20 per cent of its dry weight. Using a simple, energy-efficient and easily scalable method , nano silicon could be produced. The silicon that was recovered maintained the unique nanostructure of silica as it existed in the husk, which made for excellent battery performance.

Apart from its use in Lithium-ion batteries, there were many potential large-scale applications for such nanostructured silicon, they added.

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