Forest Biomass – Eucalyptus and Pine 

The genus Eucalyptus is native from Australia, Tasmania, and other Oceania islands, belonging to the Myrtaceae family. This genus has more than 700 botanically known species, with very diverse physical and chemical properties. Therefore, different species of eucalyptus are used for the most diverse purposes such as firewood, stakes, posts, railroad crossties, charcoal, pulp and paper, fiber and particle boards, even furniture, power generation, medicines, among others.

In addition, some species are fast growing and have a great capacity to adapt to different regions, being the main forest genus planted in Brazil, with great importance in the country’s economy. According to the Brazilian Tree Industry, in 2018 5.7 million hectares were planted with eucalyptus, with an average productivity of 36 m³/ha/year. Eucalyptus plantations are located mainly in the states of Minas Gerais (24%), São Paulo (17%) and Mato Grosso do Sul (16%).

The Pinus genus is the second most cultivated forest genus in the country; it belongs to the Pinaceae family, with approximately 90 identified species. Pinus forests in Brazil have been commercially cultivated since the 1960s and are one of the main sources of raw material for the wood industry. They are located mainly in the southern region of the country, where the climate, with mild temperatures, favors its development. However, the genus can be cultivated in different regions according to the adaptability to climate and soil conditions of each species. Thus, pine can be used for multiple purposes, such as sawmilling, pulp and paper industry, panels, resins, aesthetics, among others.

In Brazil, the planting of pine trees represents about 20% of the planted forests, contributing in a convincing way to face the impact of the deforestation of native trees. According to the Brazilian Tree Industry, in 2018 pine plantations occupied 1.6 million hectares and are concentrated in the states of Paraná (42%) and Santa Catarina (34%), followed by Rio Grande do Sul (12%) and São Paulo (8%).

The main use of eucalyptus and pine wood in Brazil is in the pulp and paper industry. However, these two forest biomasses have characteristics that allow their use in various ways, such as charcoal, by burning the wood; logging, production of wood panels, and the production of biofuels, among others. In this sense, the wood of eucalyptus and pine, being a lignocellulosic biomass, can be used as a raw material for the production of various biofuels with higher added value as bio-oil, cellulosic ethanol and biomethane through different thermal, chemical and / or biochemical routes. In addition to the wood itself, during industrialization a large amount of residues (branches, bark, tips) are generated from these crops that can be used for energy generation.

Fundamental Bibliographical References

A review of the production of ethanol from softwood

Lignocellulosic biomass for bioethanol production: Current perspectives, potential issues and future prospects

Feedstock pretreatment strategies for producing ethanol from wood, bark, and forest residues