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Are you ready to recover agricultural waste into clean energy in situ ?


The ball-point pen, the potato masher, the vacuum cleaner, the parachute, the lawn mower, the Milles Bornes card game… Every year since 1901, the Concours Lépine competition has afforded inventors of innovative products the opportunity to showcase their creations in France. A sign of the times, one of the prize-winners from among the 600 projects entered in the 2015 edition is a ‘green’ innovation in the field of recycling and energy recovery from agricultural waste.

The H-énergie mobile granulator, which was awarded the Prix du Président de la République at the 114th Concours Lépine, is in line with the current trend of promoting recycling through the use of local recycling solutions. As its name suggests, the granulator designed by three craftsmen from the Alsace region, all of whom specialise in climate control, electricity and artistic metalwork, is a mobile device.
Installed in a lorry’s trailer, it enables farm waste to be recovered at the source: straw, branches, vine stalks, and so on. The machine grinds down the waste, even when wet, and transforms it into aggregate. This can then be used as fuel for biomass boilers and heating stoves. The installation’s output is one tonne of material per hour. In two hours, it is capable of producing the energy equivalent of 1,000 litres of fuel.

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There are many advantages to this solution. By offering farmers energy self-sufficiency, it provides them with energy that is half the cost of fuel or gas. Consequently, it reduces the use of fossil fuels, and therefore greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, by travelling to the very heart of farm operations, it also avoids emissions of CO2 generated by transporting waste to industrial facilities. Already in use in Alsace where it is processing ten tonnes of waste per day, the only unit of this type currently in existence is bound to see its numbers increase rapidly. Thanks to the visibility offered by the Concours Lépine, contacts have been established to export the invention to Australia, Egypt and Canada. Looking to the future, the three inventors are examining ways to modify their machine to enable it to handle industrial waste or sludge, which could then be used in specific boilers.