An Evaluation of the Use of Midribs from Common Date Palm Cultivars Grown in Saudi Arabia for Energy Production

Ramadan Abdel-Sayed Nasser

Abstract


This study was conducted to evaluate the suitability of date palm midribs as an alternative source for energy production. The physical properties, chemical constituents, and fuel characteristics of the midribs of five common date palm cultivars (Barhi, Khalas, Khodry, Sukkari, and Sullaj) were determined. In addition to the frond base, the midribs were divided into three distinct parts (base, middle, and top) along the frond. The results showed that both the fibre saturation point and volumetric shrinkage of the date palm midribs were much higher than those of solid wood. There were significant differences in all of the chemical constituents of the midribs between the five date palm cultivars. The date palm midribs were characterised by higher levels of extractives (19.3% for Barhi to 21.7% for Sullaj) and ash contents (3.3% for Khodry to 5.8% for Khalas). The other chemical constituents were within the ranges found for other lignocellulosic materials, including softwood and hardwood. The heating values for the midribs ranged between 17.30 MJ/kg for the Barhi cultivar and 17.89 MJ/kg for the Khodry cultivar. The higher ash content and lower density of date palm midribs makes them less desirable for energy production. It can therefore be concluded that the frond base is not suitable for energy production.

Keywords


Date palm midrib; Energy production; Fibre saturation point; Fuel value index; Heating value

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