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Gasifying lantana, an invasive weed, has positive spin-offs

  • Published
    26th Feb, 2022
Context

Recently, Centre for Social and Environmental Innovation (CSEI) launched Gasification, a lantana-focused initiative.

About

About Lantana camara:

  • Lantana camara was first introduced in 1807, had spread to wildlife reserves, river banks and the Project Tiger areas where it had obliterated native grass and reduced biodiversity.
  • Lantana (Lantana camara) has become one of the world’s most invasive weeds.
  • It competes with native plants for space and resources, and also alters the nutrient cycle in the soil.
  • This invasion has resulted in the scarcity of native forage plants for wild herbivores.
  • Lantana occupies 154,000 sq.km forests (more than 40% by area) in India’s tiger range.
  • Among forests, Shivalik Hills in the North, fragmented deciduous forests of Central India, and Southern western Ghats are worst hit by its invasion.
       

Invasive Species:

  • An invasive species is an organism that is not indigenous, or native, to a particular area and causes harm.
  • They are capable of causing extinctions of native plants and animals, reducing biodiversity, competing with native organisms for limited resources, and altering habitats.
  • They can be introduced to an area by ship ballast water, accidental release, and most often, by humans.

The lantana gasification trial:

  • CSEI-ATREE teamed up with BioTherm to explore the possibility of using lantana as the fuel in a gasifier.
  • The sun-dried lantana wood chips were placed in a gasifier of 50 kg per hour capacity for eight hours.
  • This process generated 1.2 million Kcal (kilocalories) of energy, and produced a blue flame indicating that the gas produced was clean and devoid of any particulate matter or tar.
  • The eight-hour trial also produced 30 kg of biochar from the 400 kg of lantana gasified.
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