Utilization of olive cake as a potential energy source in Turkey
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With the energy picture getting worse every day, it is now desirable to search for alternative energy sources. This has led to renewed interest in olive cake (OC) as an alternative energy source in Turkey due to some of its advantages, such as negligible sulfur content, reducing environmental impact, low cost compared to fossil fuels, problem-free storage, and lack of transportation requirements if used in an olive oil production facility. OC is a byproduct of olive oil production and is a solid material consisting of seed particles and the fleshy parts of olives. The Mediterranean region represents 98% of the world's olive tree population. In this regard, Turkey is among the top 5 main olive oil-producing countries in the world. The main objective of the present study is to investigate the potential and utilization of OC in the country. It is estimated that over 360,000 tons of OC, corresponding to an average of 150,000 tons of oil equivalent (toe), were produced in the 2000-2001 season in Turkey. Suitable combustion systems, such as fluidized bed systems, stoker fed from the bottom with secondary air supply, etc., should be used for efficient energy production from the OC. There are no limiting values related to emissions for OC in the Turkish regulations of air quality yet. There are, however, some studies being conducted by the Ministry of Environment for the determination of these limiting values. In light of the present study, it may be concluded that OC is a very promising source of energy in Turkey.