The cultivation of nopal, a type of cactus, is one of the most important in Mexico. According to Rodrigo Morales, Chilean engineer, Wayland biomass, installed on Mexican soil, “allows you to generate inexhaustible clean energy.” Through the production of biogas, it can serve as a raw material more efficiently, by example and by comparison with jatropha.
Wayland argues Morales, head of Elqui Global Energy that “an acre of cactus produces 43 200 m3 of biogas or the equivalent in energy terms to 25,000 liters of diesel.” With the same land planted with jatropha, he says, it will produce 3,000 liters of biodiesel.
Another of the peculiarities of the nopal is biogas which is the same molecule of natural gas, but its production does not require machines or devices of high complexity. Also, unlike natural gas, contains primarily methane (75%), carbon dioxide (24%) and other minor gases (1%), “so it has advantages from the technical point of view since it has the same capacity heat but is cleaner, “he says, and as sum datum its calorific value is 7,000 kcal/m3.
As a more positive element, the Chilean engineer mentions that “the process of obtaining methane generated as organic sediment and water products, which are processed for incorporation into the soil by earthworms, which permits the treatment of organic waste.
In turn, the water nitrogen obtained from the reactor also included in nopal plantations as fertilizer back into the modern irrigation system. And all with no less a fact: this type of cactus is well suited not only to unfavorable weather conditions for other crops but also degraded soils, of low quality.
Thus, a set of products is generated from the use of cactus as biomass: biogas, electricity, water, nitrogen, humus, earthworm flour as animal feed and carbon credits by participating in the process the carbon dioxide absorption. .
Anecdotally, it is worth mentioning that the nopal biogas is used for more than 100 years in China and other Asian countries, but not until 1984 that researchers at the University of Chile generated the knowledge so that this plant is capable of producing large amounts of energy growing in marginal conditions.