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Biomass and its sources

Conversion Technology of Biomass

Direct combustion, Gasification, Pyrolysis
Biogas generation
Biogas plants and classification
Advantage and disadvantages of biogas
Application of biogas, site selection
Advantages and disadvantages of biomass
Application of biomass
Bio energy storages
Environment aspect
What is Biomass Energy?

Biomass energy is a form of energy created from the combustion of carbon-

based biological materials such as wood, vegetables or animal waste. All organic
matter is known as biomass, and the energy released from biomass when it is
eaten, burnt or converted into fuels is called biomass energy.

Why use Biomass energy?

Fossil fuels are finite
Biomass is renewable
Global warming reduction

There are a number of benefits to using biomass energy to provide power and
Biomass is less prone to price fluctuations than fossil fuels (such as coal or
petrol). Biomass energy is also kinder to the environment as it is sourced
from sustainable and renewable sources. It also helps to reduce carbon
emissions when compared with fossil fuels as it is a lower carbon form of
It can be sourced locally rather than being shipped in from abroad, so it saves
money and cuts back on carbon footprints caused from use of travel fuel. All
regions of the UK are capable of producing and sustaining biomass.
The use of biomass fuel also provides an incentive to grow more trees and
create better-managed woodland which in turn improves biodiversity.
What are the types of biomass fuel?
Biomass fuel can be derived from a variety of sources. The types of biomass fuel
available include:
Virgin wood This is wood that has had no chemicals added while it has been
growing. As a result, its really clean. It is usually sourced from forests that are
sustainable as trees are cut down for use, other ones are planted or are
already growing to replace them. The virgin wood can be used in many forms to
create the biomass energy required, such as logs, sawdust, bark, wood chips,
wood dust and pellets.
High energy crops High energy crops are similar but are grown specifically for
energy creation. As such, the idea is to get maximum output as much biomass
energy as possible. This can mean that, in order that high levels of biomass be
produced as quickly as possible, various fertilizers are needed. A lot of research
is currently being conducted to identify potential energy crops and to see how
biomass can be produced under different conditions, and to find out which forms
of biomass produce the most energy. High energy biomass crops include willow,
rape, maize and Miscanthus.
Agricultural residue There a number of forms of biomass fuel that are created
as by-products of agricultural crops and processes. These can include straw,
silage, manure, slurry and even animal bedding such as litter.
Food waste This form of biomass fuel can be separated into both dry and wet
food waste. Again, a number of these forms of biomass fuel can be derived
during the processes of food manufacture and distribution. For instance, many
food materials are processed to remove unwanted components such as shells,
pulp, skin/peel and husks. A large amount of food is thrown away in the UK too
and if processed properly this can be used as fuel.
Industrial waste A great many industrial processes can produce waste and
by-products that can be used as biomass fuel. These are split into woody and
non-woody materials: woody wastes include laminates, treated and untreated
wood and wood composite. Non-woody biomass materials include textiles, paper
pulp and even sewage sludge.
Can be stored
Provides rural income & employment
Potentially cleaner than coal for most pollutants
Can be irrigated and fertilized with sewage water
Can be cultivated in such a way as to improve the landscape and remediate soils
Can make use of animal wastes and agricultural residues while providing an effective fertilizer

Land intensive (efficiency of photosynthesis is

~ 1%, with further losses when biomass is converted to secondary forms of energy)
Can compete with land for food
Complex to initiate and manage
Must be tailored to the biophysical and socio-economic circumstances of each region