Ing. Roberto Gaietta, CO.M.I.GE. s.r.l.- PAVIA - - -

In the "ENERGYMAIS" plants installed at the drying center CONSORZIO CEREALICOLTORI DEL BASSO PAVESE in BELGIOIOSO (PAVIA - Italy), we made many combustion tests, and we burned until now: corn and barley grains, wood pellets, rice husks.

After overcome the many technical problems, caused above all by the combustion residues (especially ashes quantity and conformation) it is clear that a key factor in the success of our system is the cost of the biomass burned.

In the choice of the biomass we must also consider the ethical implications, meaning that it is absurd to burn some cereals usually intended for food, when there are people who do not have enough to heat.

It is different for the seconds or byproducts by many works, as for example:

Wood production Sawdust
Cereals cultivation Contaminated Cereals (mycotoxins)
Cereals drying Broken grains, powders, hulls, seconds by cleaners
Cereals mills Seconds by flours
Rice whitening Husk, hull, chaff, powders and seconds by cleaners
Seeds production Cobs, leaves, bad grains, expired coated seeds

In many activities there is a production of seconds or byproducts that represent a disposal cost, so it is interesting to find these seconds that at a zero cost, or better with a saving of the disposal cost, we can use as an alternative fuel.

The last but not negligible problem is the so called "short chain": it is absurd to import the palm kernel shells from India or the palm oil from Brazil or Africa, for burning in Italy: the benefit of the low price is vanified by the transport cost.

It is better to find seconds by local production, nearest to the burning plant, in order to save transport costs, without forgetting that it is better to give priority to local economies rather than those of distant countries.


In the CEREALS HARVESTING AND DRYING CENTERS, a big quantity of CORN, BARLEY, WEAT, RICE, SUNFLOWER are dried, and during the drying process the cereals are cleaned, with separation of the good grains from the seconds, as broken grains, cobs, leaves, straws, husk, hull, etc.

These seconds, with a low or zero commercial value, or sometimes with a disposal cost, can represent about a 3 % of the dried product.

But these seconds has a Caloriphic Value not negligible, about 2.500 to 3.500 kCal/kg at zero cost, so very interesting for the purpose of combustion.

The use of these seconds as alternative fuel for the drying process will bring the following benefits:

  • Savings in the cost of traditional fuels (until 100% !!!)
  • Zero cost of the seconds disposal (reduced to 2% ashes !!!)
  • Contribution to the reduction of the traditional fuels consumption (EU 20-20-20 program)
  • Contribution to the reduction of CO2 emissions (Kyoto)
  • Contribution to the solution of waste disposal.