Turkey sees biomass playing a key role in its pursuit for green growth


A sunflower field in Turkey.

By Anders Lorenzen

As the moves to decarbonise our economies increase, Turkey is looking to biomass for solutions. The country has just sanctioned its first state-backed biomass energy project which according to its project manager Figen Ar will propel its economy towards green growth. 

The Sustainable Use of Biomass Project will take five years to complete and aims to repurpose agricultural residues for the production of energy. Farmers usually burn these residues, which in turn results in the emission of several atmospheric pollutants. These residues will now be used to generate heat, cooling and electricity for the agricultural food industry.  

The project is jointly led by General Directorate of Research and Policies (TAGEM) and the Industrial Development Organization of the United Nations (UNIDO) and will collect agricultural waste from regions across the country that will generate enough biomass energy to reduce emissions by 400,000 tons of CO2. The factories will be dotted around the country and it is estimated they will produce a staggering ten gigawatts (GW) of power. 

Biomass fuel boilers designer

Ar has argued that modern bioenergy technologies could be effectively utilized to improve energy performance, increase competitiveness in the agricultural sector and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. She explained that looking at energy alone, biomass is a lot more efficient than using coal as Turkish coal (lignite) has an average heating value of 2,100 kilocalories (kcal) per kilogram whilst in comparison sunflower stalks, a residue used for biomass production has almost double that at 4,060 kcal per kilogram.

Ar hopes that this project will see Turkey fully exploiting the potential of its ample agricultural residues from its fertile ground, stating: “We will disseminate the conversion of agricultural residues; such as sunflower, cotton, rice husk to renewable energy by using modern bioenergy technologies. This will reduce the equivalent of 440,000 tons of carbon-dioxide emissions.”

Ar explained that the beauty of biomass energy is that it is the only renewable energy technology that has the potential to deliver a continuous production of both heat and fuel.

As per 2018 figures, per capita Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in Turkey stood at 5.09 tonnes CO2e (tCO2e) per person.

Categories: Agriculture, energy, Turkey

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