Inspirational ideas: Corn cob as a renewable energy source

The corn residue (woody ring corn pith and husks) is frequently discarded as a by-product in the field because it rots too slowly. A Slovenian Operational Group is exploring options to use the corn cob as an energy source on farms.

Twelve different maize hybrids were sown on all the participating farms involved in the project. In 2019 the most appropriate corn hybrid was identified, which will be recommended for sowing for grain and corn cobs. In 2019 they developed computer models of two prototypes: a picker of corn cobs as a combine harvester or tractor attachment and picker of corn cobs as a harvester attachment – combine harvester upgrade. This year they made one of them. They have evaluated and investigated the positive and negative effects of removing corn cobs and affecting the humus structure. Because corn cobs contain only 0.33% N, 0.11% P2O5 and 0.62% K2O of the total plant matter of maize, their removal would not have a significant impact on the quality or economics of fertilisation. They have also investigated the suitability of combustion plants and examined the use of corn cobs on an individual plant. The results of the study showed that corn cobs can be used as an alternative renewable energy source, but must be properly processed (proper granulation).



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