The key to a biomass based economy is the understanding of the whole value chain, starting with the biomass harvesting
Before the arrival of mechanised harvesting, the whole ear of the plant was collected and shelled e.g. at the edge of the field or at the maize mill. Combine harvesters separate the grain from the cobs and discharge the cobs onto the field together with the stover.
In South Africa, during a normal harvest year, there will are ±1.5million tonnes of cobs, which are left behind on the fields. The collection and conversion of the cobs into bio-rewable chemicals and with co-generation of green electricity, provide not only environmental and economic benefits, but also thousands of rural jobs.
For centuries, cobs have been removed from the fields without negative impact on e.g. soil health or water run-off. The above images outline methods that are available today for the harvesting of cobs. We offer solutions that work for small scale farmers or technologies for on-the-go cob harvesting.