Suitability of Bamboo as an Energy Resource: Analysis of Bamboo Combustion Values Dependent on the Culm’s Age

Benjamin Engler, Siegmar Schoenherr, Zheke Zhong, Gero Becker


Bamboo has gained increasing attention, especially due to its fast growth and its versatile utilization. It is used by millions of people in their daily lives and is a resource for timber, pulp and paper, and for food industries—not only in Asia. So far, the bioenergy sector has shown only marginal interest in bamboo, whose energetic properties are less intensively studied than its physical properties. This paper presents physical and chemical properties of two bamboo species—Phyllostachys pubescens and Bambusa emeiensis—for energy recovery. Both species were tested on calorific value, moisture, ash and chloride content in dependence on the culm’s age, and the sample’s position along the culm. Furthermore, the sustainable biomass potential from bamboo stands for energetic utilization of Phyllostachys pubescens was assessed. The obtained results show that both bamboo species have a potential for energy recovery and are essentially suitable to be used as an energy source for combustion. Compared to woody biomass, both species show similar calorific values and only slightly higher chloride and ash contents. Keywords: bamboo, bioenergy, combustion, Phyllostachys pubescens, Bambusa emeiensis, calorific value, China. Received 7 July 2011, Revised 21 June 2012, Accepted 4 July 2012.

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ISSN 0843-5243 (print) and 1913-2220 (online).