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Idesia (Arica)

versão On-line ISSN 0718-3429


HOMER, Ian; VARNERO, Maria Teresa  e  BEDREGAL, Camila. Nopal (Opuntia ficus-indica) energetic potential cultivated in arid and semi-arid zones of chile: an assessment. Idesia [online]. 2020, vol.38, n.2, pp.119-127. ISSN 0718-3429.

Renewable energies have attracted considerable attention in the past few years, not only at a national level, but also on a global one. This work investigates the use of cactus pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) plantations, as the main source for the production of biogas, and their energy potential for northern Chile. Biogas is an alternative energy for the agricultural sector and is obtained by fermentation processes of different wastes produced daily. Besides the generation of biogas, it is also possible to obtain a stabilized waste, called digestate, which can be incorporated into the soil. The soil in dry and semi-dry zones of northern Chile is poor in organic matter content, which makes it difficult to grow crops. Cactus pear is easily adapted to poor soils and deficient environmental conditions. This species presents the Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM), and is characterized by a superficial fleshy root system that facilitates the absorption of water, allowing it to adapt well to arid conditions. Another important feature of this species is its biomass production, which can reach around 30 Mg ha-1 with the application of good management practices. For this reason, and for its high potential to produce biogas, it is considered a good energy alternative for northern Chile. The selection of the right biodigester will depend on the use and associated costs. The estimated potential for biogas production from Opuntia plantations in northern Chile is 13,406 m3 kg-1 d-1, and can be further improved by adding other wastes produced in the area.

Palavras-chave : alternative energy; biogas; digestate.

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