PHOSPHORUS FERTILIZATION AND HARVEST INTERVALS INFLUENCE ENERGETIC AND PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF BRIQUETTES AND LARGE BRANCHES OF MATE

<div><p>ABSTRACT In mate crop, the commercial part consists of leaves and thin branches, while the large branches (LB) are considered unused residues and left in the field, although they may have potential for use as energy. The objective of this paper was to evaluate the influence of phosphorus fertilization and harvest interval in productivity of mate large branches and in their physical and energetic properties, as well as in derived briquettes. In a seven-year-old plantation, doses of 0, 20, 40, 80, 160 and 320 kg.ha-1 of P2O5 were applied considering harvest intervals of 12, 18 and 24 months. Dry mass, average diameter, P content, and physical and energetic properties of LB were determined. With LB, after its transformation into particles and briquetting, physical and energetic properties were determined, as well as P availability in soil. The phosphorus fertilization increased LB productivity in larger harvest intervals, increasing the amount of energy produced per unit of area, but did not change basic density and gross calorific value of wood. Mate harvest intervals did not affect the apparent density and calorific value of briquettes produced by LB. LB harvested at intervals of 18 and 24 months produced wood with higher basic density and gross calorific value. LB or briquettes have adequate energetic and physical properties, being technically a plant residue with great potential for use as energy.</p></div>