Marnisyahida Ab Rahman

1113128

ASSIGNMENT 1
GLOBAL OUTLOOK OF BIOMASS ENERGY IN CURRENT AND FUTURE
1.1

Introduction
The latest scientific data confirmed that the earth's climate is rapidly changing.

Therefore, it has been widely accepted worldwide that global warming is by far the greatest
threat and challenge in the new millennium. The main factor that causes global warming is the
release of greenhouse gases to the environment. In order to reduce the emission of these
greenhouse gases and to promote sustainable development, renewable energy is the perfect
solution to achieve both targets.
Recently there has been a growing demand for a renewable energy source that covers
the needs of the world population; especially after the OPEC oil crisis which threatened many
small and non-oil producing countries. It is not viable to depend with the fossil fuel in long term
as it will be facing the shortage of source soon. Besides that many external factors such as rising
crude oil prices, environmental concerns, tougher clean Air Act standards and depletion of raw
petroleum sources have urge to the research effort focusing in identifying the economical
alternatives fuels derived from renewable resources. Some example of the renewable energy
products that might be environmental friendly rather than conventional one are biodiesel from
canola oil and bioethanol from cassava.
Increasing population of people leads to increasing amount of fossil fuel being used and
thus will be will be depleted soon. Clearly fossil fuels reserves are finite but it’s only a matter of
when they run out. Globally every year, currently people consume the equivalent of over 11

” 1. But the rate at which the world consumes fossil fuels is not standing still. But if we step up production to fill the gap left through depleting our oil and gas reserves.2 The Availability of Biomass Feedstock for Future Energy The most familiar forms of renewable energy are the wind and the sun. and the oil age will end long before the world runs out of oil. “The Stone Age didn’t end for lack of stone. Even though there are still gas and coal left. Biomass is the primary source of energy for . but if gas production increase to fill the energy gap left by oil then those reserves will only give for only a few years addition to survive. biomass has been a major source of energy throughout the world. As the Saudi Oil Minister said in the 1970s. Since the beginning of civilization. It’s often claimed that the presence of coal are enough to last hundreds of years. And let’s not even think of the carbon dioxide emissions from burning all that coal. Renewables offer us another way.Marnisyahida Ab Rahman 1113128 billion tons of oil in fossil fuels. So does 2088 mark the point that we run out of fossil fuels? The simple answer is no. But biomass. it is increasing as the world's population increases and as living standards rise in parts of the world that until recently had consumed very little energy. New reserves of fossil fuels are becoming harder to find. and those that are being discovered are significantly smaller than the ones that have been found in the past. used since our ancestors learned the secret of fire. Some new reserves will be found which will help extend this deadline slightly. plant material and animal waste is the oldest source of renewable energy. a way to avoid the fossil fuel-based energy time bomb. the coal deposits we know about will only give us enough energy to take us as far as 2088. Crude oil reserves are vanishing at the rate of 4 billion tons a year.

Even the fumes from landfills can be used as a biomass energy source. residues from agriculture or forestry. For thousands of years. Biomass is a renewable energy source not only because the energy it comes from the sun. including plants. wood is still the largest biomass energy resource. via photosynthesis. Biomass is the plant material derived from the reaction between CO2 in the air. . ever since people started burning wood to cook food or to keep warm and today. and has helped make biomass an attractive and promising option in comparison to other renewable energy sources. and the organic component of municipal and industrial wastes. The global use of biomass for energy increases continuously and has doubled in the last 40 years. In the past decade. Typically photosynthesis converts less than 1% of the available sunlight to stored. representing a significant proportion of the rural energy supply.Marnisyahida Ab Rahman 1113128 nearly 50% of the world’s population and wood biomass is a major renewable energy source in the developing world. but also because biomass can re-grow over a relatively short period of time. But many other sources of biomass has been identified a now be used. chemical energy. the number of countries exploiting biomass opportunities for the provision of energy has increased rapidly. Biomass energy or bioenergy has been used by many people which are they are the energy from organic matter. The solar energy driving photosynthesis is stored in the chemical bonds of the structural components of biomass. to produce carbohydrates that form the building blocks of biomass. water and sunlight.

Burning new biomass contributes no new carbon dioxide to the . biomass functions as a sort of natural battery for storing solar energy. which contributes to the greenhouse effect and depletes a nonrenewable resource. As long as biomass is produced sustainably as well as meeting current needs without diminishing resources or the land’s capacity to re-grow biomass and recapture carbon. these are not renewable within a time-scale mankind can use. the battery will last indefinitely and provide sources of low-carbon energy. However. chlorophyll in plants captures the sun's energy by converting carbon dioxide from the air and water from the ground into carbohydrate. since it takes millions of years to convert biomass into fossil fuels. When these carbohydrates are burned. hydrogen. In this way.Marnisyahida Ab Rahman 1113128 Through the process of photosynthesis. they turn back into carbon dioxide and water and release the energy they captured from the sun. and oxygen. complex compounds composed of carbon. Burning fossil fuels uses ‘‘old’’ biomass and converts it into ‘‘new’’ CO2.

Right now. In addition. Biomass feedstock availability and sustainability is largely dependent upon commodity crop prices. up to one million species of animals and plants are currently at the threat of extinction. it is accepted worldwide that climate change is currently the most pressing global environmental problem facing humanity. because replanting harvested biomass ensures that CO2 is absorbed and returned for a cycle of new growth.Marnisyahida Ab Rahman 1113128 atmosphere. hurricanes as well as droughts will and has occurred because of the alleviation of earth’s temperature. Other detrimental effects of global warming include increment in sea level and subsequently submerging of lowlands. Scientific data showed that hundreds of millions of people could lose their lives if the average global temperatures increase by more than 2°C. fewer than 1 billion dry tons of biomass are available. Biomass is also highly susceptible to climate and climate change. Generally. for instance flooding. deltas and island as well as changing of weather pattern. The net emission of carbon dioxide will be zero as long as plants continue to be replenished for biomass energy purposes. but that number could climb to just over 1 . Many environmental problems.

high yield (maximum production of dry matter per hectare). Desired characteristics will also depend on local climate and soil conditions. The use of biomass feedstock can also help increase profits for the agricultural industry. are called biomass feedstock. composition with the least contaminants. low nutrient requirements. the characteristics of the ideal energy crop are. 1. Demand for energy will . non-food crops desirable. starch and sugar crops and oilseeds. firstly. In general. Potential energy crops include woody crops and grasses/herbaceous plants (all perennial crops). Other important characteristics are pest resistance and fertilizer requirements. such as fast-growing trees and grasses. makes the introduction of alternative. low energy input to produce. the cost of electricity is already now often competitive with fossil fuel-based power generation. This situation has led to a policy in which land is set aside in order to reduce surpluses. when low cost biomass residues are used for fuel. such as the de-population of rural areas and payment of significant subsidies to keep land fallow.3 Driven Causes of Biomass Production for Future Energy The drivers for biomass production for future due to three factors. Numerous crops have been proposed or are being tested for commercial energy farming.Marnisyahida Ab Rahman 1113128 billion with modest changes and higher yields. which producing food surpluses. crop production promise the application of biomass at lower cost and higher conversion efficiency than was possible previously. Related problems. Water consumption can be a major constraint in many areas of the world and makes the drought resistance of the crop an important factor. low cost. For example. These energy crops. The second main stimulus is the agriculture sector in Western Europe and in US. technology development relating to conversion. Only UK climatic conditions are considered in this study.

due to high emission levels of greenhouse gases (CO2) being the most important one).and low-moisture contents. has become a major stimulus for renewable energy sources in general. aquatic plants. Apart from specific applications or needs. 1.4 Global including Malaysia Concern about Biomass Energy for Future Development Although the future of the global and U. Aquatic plants and manures are intrinsically high-moisture materials and as such. The center has nine primary areas of focus including renewable energy.S. Thirdly. and site remediation and environmental control technologies. the potential threat posed by climate change. The use of biomass therefore does not contribute to a buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere. transport fuel. In his opening . woody plants and herbaceous species and these will be the types of biomass investigated in this study. most commercial activity has been directed towards the lower moisture-content types.Marnisyahida Ab Rahman 1113128 provide an almost infinite market for energy crops grown on such (potentially) surplus land. biomass emits roughly the same amount of carbon during conversion as is taken up during plant growth. electrical/heat energy. herbaceous plants can be further subdivided into those with high. Within this categorization. The EERC is a research. While researchers characterize the various types of biomass in different ways but one simple method is to define four main types. renewable energy industry is hazy. manures. When produced by sustainable means. Biomass can be converted into three main types of product. one thing is clear-biomass power will play a significant role. chemical feedstock. namely. waste utilization and management. woody plants. demonstration and commercialization organization on the University of North Dakota campus. development. herbaceous plants/grasses. are more suited to ‘wet’ processing techniques.

a lot of that is dependent upon political decisions and regulatory decisions." he said. Malaysia is a country rich in biomass energy resource. and carbon management. Biomass is part of that. "There is a major portfolio of energy technologies that are going to address the needs of this world. In this context. "Some people think there are silver bullets that will solve all of the energy issues and that is not true. cap and trade. latest report has shown that the world. including Malaysia can no longer turn away from renewable energy as fossil fuel reserves can only last for the next 30 to 40 years. On the other hand. Besides. I don't know how big it's going to be. Malaysia needs to have an effective and . Millions of hectares of land in Malaysia is occupied with plantation generating huge quantities of biomass.Marnisyahida Ab Rahman 1113128 address. the energy demand is expected to be almost 100 Mtoe (million tons of oil equivalent). biomass industries appears to be a very promising alternative as a source of raw materials including renewable energy in Malaysia. For the year 2030. many material can easily convert to biomass. In order to meet the increasing demand of energy and to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide while ensuring energy security. EERC Director Gerald Groenewold said there is much confusion in the world right now regarding energy.

the ban of agriculture open burning and the large number of palm oil mills. Malaysia is the second palm oil producer in the world after Indonesia. with the lack of landfill space. Plantation such as palm oil. coal. The need for an urgent source of renewable energy is further supported by the current increasing price of fossil fuel mainly petroleum. With the large amount of available palm oil waste. Table 1 shows that based on 2005 data. wood and timber and pepper is under supervised on the Ministry of Primary Industry and Commodities in Malaysia.Marnisyahida Ab Rahman 1113128 sustainable source of energy. cocoa. The large areas in Northern region of Malaysia are dedicated to sugarcane plantation to supply the required sugar. it is inevitable that the Malaysian government has to start looking for reliable source of renewable energy urgently.5% of the energy came from renewable sources such as biomass. Malaysia is endowed with abundant supplies of biomass resources. However. . sugarcane cultivation produces granulated sugar. the main sources of biomass in Malaysia are come from plantation residue and agricultural residue. From the biomass energy view. If this trend was to continue on. diesel and oil) and only 0. These plantations are highly potential to be used as biomass residue for electricity generation. rubber. about 93% of Malaysia energy consumption depended heavily on fossil fuels (natural gas. bagasse and dry leaves and cane tops that can potentially be converted into useful energy. Therefore. Malaysia would suffer from lack of energy security as the Malaysia fossil fuel reserves is predicted to last only for another 30 to 40 years. there is a good potential for the biomass project using palm oil waste.

biodiesel has a wide variety of sources. These energy resource known as biofuels and usually include rotted trees. As they come from living sources we . animals or waste products from organic resource. It is mainly produced with maize and is used primarily as a transportation fuel. including algae. manure and tree components. states and cities. These fuels are usually blended with the petroleum fuels — gasoline and diesel fuel. biodiesel is vegetable oil.S. and fats left over from food preparation. wood chips.5 Advantages and Disadvantage of choosing Biomass as Renewable Energy Some of the advantages of biomass energy in the future are first. and can usually be burned with little modification.Marnisyahida Ab Rahman 1113128 Biofuels are transportation fuels like ethanol and biodiesel that are made from biomass materials. biodiesel is intended for use in diesel engines. sewage. 1. but they are also cleaner-burning fuels.S. it is abundant since it can be found anywhere and includes organic matter such as plants. the same type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages. Whereas ethanol is mainly produced from corn. Besides.. and the use of 10% ethanol gasoline is mandated in some U. In the U. In the U. Many points are considered on this debate including the total energy balance from ethanol. Using ethanol or biodiesel means we don't burn quite as much fossil fuel. Ethanol is ethyl alcohol. Ethanol and biodiesel are usually more expensive than the fossil fuels that they replace. most cars on the road today can run on blends of up to 10% ethanol.or animal fat-based diesel fuel. Whereas ethanol is meant to be used in standard gasoline-burning engines. and the production of ethanol in relation to food prices. producing fewer air pollutants. but they can also be used on their own. and up to B100 with some modifications. soybeans. all diesel engines on the road today can run on blends of up to 20% biodiesel (B20) with no noticeable change in performance.S. There is considerable debate over whether ethanol can or will replace gasoline as a primary transportation fuel.

Marnisyahida Ab Rahman 1113128 will never run out. oil will gradually run out if people do not switch to a renewable energy source such as biomass. In addition. Meanwhile. potentially warming the planet. Finally. On top of the equipment and installation. For example. however the installation of a biomass boiler has to be seen as an investment. a huge advantage of biomass energy is its ability to take harmful waste and turn it into a useful energy resource. with the majority of homes and businesses using oil to provide energy. less pollution is generated through the production of biomass energy due to the completely natural intake. with a tons of wood pellets derived from waste wood materials typically costing around £150-£200. rather than a cost. first is high initial cost. it can be used in such commercial businesses as airlines. . The use of biomass will therefore reduce the dependency on fossil fuels. resulting in harm to the ozone layer and increases in the effects of greenhouse gases. rubbish in theory. Once oil is gone. Moreover. the use of sustainable fuels to generate power can drastically reduce household bills. there is still some disadvantage for the biomass energy. meaning there are no carbon dioxide side effects in its use. This cost will rise for commercial and business use. meaning it is good for the environment and good for businesses. can be burned to create useable biomass energy. Many other energy sources struggle to control the amount of carbon dioxide realized. As biomass is relatively clean. the initial costs of a biomass boiler are quite daunting to most. so long as there are living things on the earth and there is someone to turn these components and waste products into energy. However. fuel costs need to be taken into consideration. it is gone forever.

for example. Thirdly. In order for biomass energy to be a renewable resource. .Marnisyahida Ab Rahman 1113128 Secondly. it is harmful to the environment. Moreover. there is an increase in methane gases. they try to bring the biomass as the major source of future energy. Thus. crops have to be replanted in order to keep the process continually moving – the process is sustainable as long as new plants continue to grow to replace the fuel used. in order to acquire enough lumber to power a plant. companies would have to clear large forest area. providing the fuel is locally sourced the emissions are much lower than that of fossil fuels. However. scientist and engineer are working hard to find the solution to minimize the drawback for the consumption of biomass as the main source of energy in the future. These methane gases can omit unpleasant smells that can possibly attract unwanted pests. This makes the use of trees and tree products to power machines inefficient and can create environmental problems. although there is a large reduction of carbon dioxide emissions compared to other systems. Lastly are the replant of plants. which can also be harmful to the Earth’s ozone layer.