Ecological Engineering in the Tropics

Costa Rica – MSU / UCR – December 27, 2014 – January 10, 2015

Harvest Pineapple + Residues Disposal – Juan P.

Harvest Pineapple + Residues Disposal

Made by Juan Pablo Rojas

2015-01-06 15.53.44

Pineapple Field. Guácimo, Costa Rica.


The pineapple (Ananas Comosus (L) Merr.) is plant monocot, herbaceuous and perennial. The stem is covered with lanceolate leaves which surround and are arranged in a spiral, are in a number of 70 to 80 leaves per plant, these edges may be provided free of these spines or by variety (Jimenez 1999)

Harvest Pineapple

The pineapple production followed a trend of 10% percent of the production per year. If the trend continues C.R will have 3,626,695 tons of production in 2016 (Figure 1).


Producción de Piña Figure 1. Pineapple production since 2000 to 2012. Source: (Coto, 2013)

Residues Disposal

The Pineapple agro-industry is the second producer of Dry Biomass (without the water content that it normally has) with 24.9% of all the dry biomass (Figure 2), which is only lower that sugar cane.

Crops productionFigure 2. Dry Biomass Production from the most important crops in Costa Rica (Data from 2011).

There are two types of biomass in this crop (Crowns and Pineapple Stover). The 99.8% of the dry biomass is for Pineapple stover and the other is from crowns (they are not very important).

  • Crowns: The top of the fruit (Figure 3), normally is important for the manipulation of the fruit when it is harvested and post-harvest (the people grab the fruit from the crown), it also has importance because it is part of the appearance of the fruit. It has 78.5% water content, the HHV is 11.6 MJ/kg, the normal production in a pineapple packing plant is 0.003 Ton/T of Production for the sector (Coto, 2013). The crown is transformed to waste when it is mutated or if it is a part of a rejection fruit, and when the fruit is peeled and cut into slices or pieces of pineapple.


 Figure 3. Pineapple crown

  • Pinneapple plant stover: The plantations dedicates to seed production ends with less biomass, almost 70 to 150 T per hectare. The fiel how dedicates to mass-production exportation fruits gets green biomass to destruction close 220 to 230 Ton, the growers have to destroy and incorporate this to field. The cycle from the crop (have 2 harvest period) delay close to 25 or 26 moths with a period of 4 months to destroy all the stover and later comes the soil preparation and seed time again. Normally the harvest of this stover should be with special machinery knows as “Trituradoras” or “Cultivator”, this machines destroy al the green biomass. After that like 3 or 4 passes. The field is prepare for the new seed time. Also there is another kin of residual disposal is “Derribo en seco” or Knockdown dry. Consist in the application of herbicide and the fire, with this the water content decrease a lot and is more easy to destroy the residues with the cultivator. This kind of process is more quickly and reduces the spread of the Paletera Fly (Stomoxys calcitrans) who attacks the cattle. The size of the residues decreases with ich pass of the cultivator and the decomposition of the biomass improvement. The cost of the residues treatment cost approximately $1200 per hectare.

Right now, the important group of institutions (MAG, ICE, UCR, MSU) are working to design a process to treat this residues. One of the way is the production of biogas, one of the test of biogas production threw a production of biogas from 500-700 mL of biogas using 100 mL of pineapple stover as a substrate, with 60% of methane in the gas.

As conclusion (Coto, 2013) give this recommendations to solve this problems to converstion of biomass in energy sources:

  1. Continue to deepen the assessment of biomass resources, such as the assessment of the availability of supply growth areas and their relation to sustainability issues that seem important.
  2. Many agricultural crops of the type considered and developed in cycles, could have significant amounts of standing biomass that could become available for bioenergy chains in the country; therefore it is important to develop an approach to this understanding.
  3. You will need to continue to strengthen national and sectoral capacity assessment of bioenergy conversion technologies to support specific sectoral address paths.
  4. Should as soon as possible and once critical paths are defined, solve a number of specific challenges ROA (Residues organic Agriculture) characterization, coupling and technological suitability setting bio energetic cost curves materials

This is a very big problem in CR right now, but should be solve using the Ecological Engineering approaches, with a balance of the ecosystems and the human activities. And also don’t losing  all the ecosystems services.


United Nations Environment Programme. Waste Agricultural bio-mass for Energy: Resource Conservation and GHG Emission Reduction, Final Report 2. May 2014. UNEP.

Jiménez, D.J. 1999. Manual práctico para el cultivo de la piña de exportación 1ª ed. Cartago: Editorial Tecnológica de Costa Rica.


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