With more than 1,400 species of bamboo found around the world, it's often a misnomer to talk about "bamboo biomass" or "bamboo fiber". The fact is that each and every species has a unique set of properties. These species' specific properties become even more complex to separate out and understand when one considers two additional factors that play a significant role in the determination of the properties of any bamboo biomass or bamboo fiber:
- Growing context
Bamboo age is a complicated aspect to tackle, with it being two dimensional and often poorly understood. There is the age of the bamboo plant itself, and the age of each individual bamboo culm or pole itself. The age of the bamboo culm in particular plays a highly significant role in the properties of the bamboo biomass and determines its suitability for any particular end product.
The growing context is also a significant factor in determining the suitability of bamboo biomass for a particular end use. Most bamboo species are fast growing and can absorb a range of elements from the soils in which they are found. While this can be a hugely positive factor, contributing to the ability of carefully selected bamboo species to contribute towards the reclamation of polluted soils, it also results in the bamboo biomass clearly reflecting the contents and properties of the soil in which it grows, and these elements directly transferring into the quality of the bamboo biomass within end products.
Over the past four years EcoPlanet Core Carbon, in conjunction with our sister company, EcoPlanet Laboratories has analyzed the woody biomass of more than 30 species of bamboo to determine the most ideal species for the production of carbonized products including bamboo charcoal, bamboo biochar, bamboo bioenergy and bamboo activated carbon.
In addition to bamboo of different ages and species originating from our parent company - EcoPlanet Bamboo - bamboo plantations in Nicaragua, South Africa and Ghana, we have tested and analyzed bamboo species from Colombia, China, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Indonesia, and other countries all working to industrialize the plant as an alternative natural fiber.
These more than 30 bamboo species show distinct variability in calorific value, ash, volatile and fixed carbon content, as well as the ease of processing.
For bamboo to be truly be industrialized at scale, while maintaining its vast array of positive environmental benefits, its critical that the right bamboo species is selected for the particular end product.
For more information on the applicability of bamboo as a feedstock for carbonized products, including bamboo charcoal, activated carbon and bioenergy, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.