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TAS Country : November 11th 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010 Tasmanian Country 13 News HEAT-SEEKER: Marcus Brandsema will travel overseas to look at burning biomass to heat glasshouses. Picture: CHRIS KIDD Burning issue to satisfy a winner JENNIFER CRAWLEY NORTH-WEST tomato grower Marcus Brandse- ma has won a national award to investigate the use of biomass power to heat up glasshouses. Mr Brandsema won the 2010 TQA Australia Global Insights Award, which recognises excellence in environmental assurance, quality assurance and food safety. The $10,000 award will allow Mr Brandsema to travel overseas to look at companies already using biomass gasification energy generation. ''I'm quite stoked about it,'' Mr Brandsema said yesterday. The Brandsema family grow and pick year-round in 1.1ha of glasshouses at Turners Beach. ''To heat the greenhou- ses we need a reasonable amount of heat, especially in winter -- even this time of the year, when it's 12 degrees at night and the greenhouse needs to be about 17,'' Mr Brandsema said The family grow all cherry tomatoes. Half are the distinctive Perino tom- atoes, which go to super- market chain Coles in Tas- mania, Victoria and South Australia, and the other half are regular cherry tomatoes. Biomass is any organic material, such as wood waste, straw, grape marc or crop residue. The Brandsemas are looking at using pyrethrum crop residue to fuel biomass gasification. ''The factory Botanical Resources is only 2km away from us and it's an obvious fuel source,'' Mr Brandsema said. ''We want to gasify the pyrethrum marc, that pro- cess causes the gas to be driven off the product and you can either burn that gas the same way you burn natural gas or LPG, or you can use it to fire an engine and generate electricity.'' The family have tried to use biomass in the past with mixed results. ''We use wood waste at the moment,'' Mr Brand- sema said. ''We combust it using a conventional boiler, but it doesn't burn that well. That's why we are looking at this new technology.'' There have been trials of biomass gasification in Denmark and the Nether- lands. Mr Brandsema will travel to India, where bio- mass gasification is used to generate energy. ''They need to be more innovative because of their unreliable electricity,'' he said. ''There are companies that produce this tech- nology, that's why I want to go and have a look.'' Mr Brandsema will travel to India when it is less busy on the farm towards the middle of next year. He said gasification was good for the environment because the end result was biochar. ''The advantage is that you are locking up the carbon in the waste prod- uct into biochar and taking it out of the system,'' Mr Brandsema said. ''You can use it as a soil additive, even as landfill. It's still of benefit, it is inert but still locks up carbon. ''Three guys in Sweden made a gasifier and stuck itonthebackofanold Volvo and drove it for about 5500km in 20 days and used seven cubic me- tres of wood to fire it. ''I find that quite fasci- nating, that you can fire your car on wood.'' The runner-up in the TQA awards was Tim Hunt, who plans to im- plement an Australian sal- mon welfare standard. The TQA Australia Glo- bal Insights Award presen- tation ceremony was part of the Connecting Rural Communities three-day event at Clarendon.
November 4th 2010
November 18th 2010