Managing Orange Bagasse in the Central Area of Veracruz State
Orange cultivation occurs mainly in the State of Veracruz. In Martínez de la Torre and San Rafael municipalities, two of the three most important orange juice producing companies operate in Mexico. The orange bagasse generated by each of these corporations ranges from 112 500 - 187 500 tons per production cycle. Managing large orange bagasse quantities is a major economic and environmental problem for this area of Veracruz. The juice producing companies in the area handle bagasse through heat treatments (dehydration for animal feed and combustion for heat generation). However, when the bagasse handling capacity exceeds, companies choose to deposit it in open dumping sites, posing a risk of contaminating soil, water and air due to biomass putrefaction and leachate generation. Therefore, the objective of this trial is to examine the orange bagasse management practices utilized by the juice producing companies installed in the central area of Veracruz. For this purpose, a literature review was performed together with an internship with one of these companies to collect first-hand data. All management strategies have economic-environmental advantages and disadvantages. Theoretically, the most sustainable alternative is the production and use of natural gas from the bagasse anaerobic digestion. Nevertheless, a life cycle assessment of bagasse management strategies should be performed to determine which alternative is the most appropriate based on economic profitability, environmental impact mitigation and energy efficiency.