Using Cactuses to Generate Energy

Article: http://www.climatechangenews.com/2016/02/08/worlds-first-cactus-powered-plant-opens-in-mexico/

Nopalimex is a Mexican enterprise, considered a pioneer in the generation of energy from the biomass of cactuses (nopales in Spanish). Overall, the process consists on mashing the cactuses, and letting them decompose for them to release methane. This gas is then used as fuel to generate electricity.

Although this project is starting at a low scale, it already has the potential to provide with cheaper and carbon neutral energy to the population of Zitacuaro, Michoacán; the municipality where the company operates. In this sense, this technology could help Mexico to comply with a recent law that was passed in 2015 in an effort to fight climate change. It establishes that 35% of the power generation has to come from clean sources by 2024, without putting its energy security at risk.

Even though it is starting at a small scale, there are various agents that can be benefited with it. First, the is the population in Zitacuaro, as they are going too access a portion of the energy they need at a lower cost. Secondly, the government in its three levels can be considered a stakeholder because, as mentioned before, this technology will help the country to achieve its clean energy goals, while ensuring its energy security.

Scaling up this technology is not going to be easy. The main issue regarding its implementation is the availability of the cactus. Feasibility studies are going o be needed to ensure this plants can be produce in a larger scale in a sustainable way. On the other hand, the recent energy reform gives a lot of benefits to renewable energy projects, from which Nopalimex could be benefited.

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One thought on “Using Cactuses to Generate Energy

  1. A very interesting idea. I guess the Mexican desert isn’t going to run out of cacti any time soon. I’m curious why a specific technology is needed for cacti. Could villages also include their compost or unused agricultural plant material?

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