What is bagasse? Bagasse is the remnant of sugar cane trunks. Their characteristic of bagasse is the fiber that can be extracted from the sugarcane and are agricultural residues from the sugar industry.
The applications of bagasse are shown as follows:
- Used as a fuel for generating electricity
Bagasse is a by-product of the sugarcane crushing process. Bagasse is flammable, it consists of the main elements carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. It has a low heating value which is suitable for use as a fuel for generating electricity.
- Food packaging
Food packaging made from bagasse pulp is friendly with users and the environment which is a product of biotechnology that uses waste materials such as bagasse left over from the sugar industry. Because Thailand is the world’s largest sugar producer. As a result, there is a lot of bagasse left over from the production, so it can be used as a food packaging instead of foam boxes that cause environmental and human problems.
Although the bagasse packaging is human and environment-friendly, it still not very popular in Thailand. While in Europe, America, or Japan, bagasse packaging is more popular than foam because it is safer for consumers, but costs about twice the price of foam. If the government dominantly supports the use of bagasse packaging, it could be the lower packaging costs.
Bagasse pulp can be used to produce ethanol due to the increasing price of molasses (3,000 – 3,500 baht / ton, 2020 AD), resulting in higher ethanol production costs. If it is not a sugarcane crushing factory that has raw materials from molasses, it may be difficult with ethanol production costs. As a result, many energy industries are turning to sugarcane bagasse to produce ethanol, which is more cost-effective.
- Used to produce medium density fiberboard
Bagasse can be used to produce medium density fiberboard which can increase the value from bagasse around 400 times. Bring the bagasse, especially the long fiber pulp, crushed it like cotton wool. Mix the glue and chemicals with the bagasse together into the dryer. After that, transfer into a compress machine with a steam and heat. Finally, medium density fiberboards are obtained.
Bagasse can be used to produce pulp for paper industry. Although there are few paper mills from bagasse pulp in Thailand, because most paper mills use eucalyptus wood as main raw material. However, it is very popular in other countries, especially Brazil.
It can be concluded that bagasse has many benefits including agriculture, energy, paper industry, construction materials industry, depending on the user’s application especially in the energy field. The bagasse is another form of natural energy that is environmentally friendly. We believe that our country has sufficient potential to use agricultural waste to produce a lot of energy, which is able to add value to the waste products. Currently, there is a purchase of bagasse in front of the factory about 800-1,000 baht / ton in Thailand.