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Biomass, a renewable energy source, is biological material derived from living, or recently living organisms,such as wood, waste, and alcohol fuels. Biomass is commonly plant matter grown to generate electricity or produce heat. For example, forest residues (such as dead trees, branches and tree stumps, yard clippings and wood chips may be used as biomass. However, biomass also includes plant or animal matter used for production of fibers or chemicals. Biomass may also include biodegradable wastes that can be burnt as fuel. It excludes organic material such as fossil fuel which has been transformed by geological processes into substances such as coal or petroleum. Industrial biomass can be grown from numerous types of plant, including miscanthus, switchgrass, hemp, corn, poplar, willow, sorghum, sugarcane, and a variety of tree species, ranging from eucalyptus to oil palm (palm oil). The particular plant used is usually not important to the end products, but it does affect the processing of the raw material. Although fossil fuels have their origin in ancient biomass, they are not considered biomass by the generally accepted definition because they contain carbon that has been "out" of the carbon cycle for a very long time. Their combustion therefore disturbs the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere. Plastics from biomass, like some recently developed to dissolve in seawater, are made the same way as petroleum-based plastics. These plastics are actually cheaper to manufacture and meet or exceed most performance standards, but they lack the same water resistance or longevity as conventional plastics.
BIOGAS PLA NTS-BIOMASS Biomass this is an organic matter from plants, animals and micro-organism grown on land and water and their derivatives. The energy obtained from biomass is called biomass energy. Biomass is considered as a renewable source of energy. Biomass resources: In our country there is a great potential for application of biomass as an alter sources of energy. The following are the biomass resources: 1. concentrated wastes : (1) municipal solid (3) industrial waste 2. Dispersed waste residue: (1) crop residue (3) disposed manner . 3. Harvested biomass: (2) Logging residue (2) sewage wood product (4) manure at large lots.

(1) standing biomass plantations.

(2) biomass energy

Biomass conversion process: The following processes are used for the biomass conversion to energy or biofuels : 1. Direct combustion. 2. Thermo chemical conversion. 3. Biochemical conversion. Biogas plants Biogas The main sources of production of biogas is wet cow dung some of other sources are : (1) Sewage (2) crop residue (3) vegetable wastes (4) Water hyacinth (5) Alga (6) poultry droppings (7) pig manure (8) ocean kelp Biogas Applications Biogas is a flameable fuelgas with 60% CH4 and rest CO2. The gas can be upgraded by removel of CO2 with water scuribbing and the gas with high heating value can be usedin i.C. Engine . The main Application of biogas are: (1) Cooking. (2) Domestic lighting and heating. (3) I.C. engine (4) fuel cells Types of biogas plants : 1. Continuous type: -- Single stage type Two stage type

2. Batch Type 3. 4. 5. Fixed dome type Modified fixed dome type Flexible bag type 6. Floating dome type

6. Floating dome type

Biomass sources
Biomass energy is derived from three distinct energy sources: wood, waste, and alcohol fuels. Wood energy is derived both from direct use of harvested wood as a fuel and from wood waste streams. The largest source of energy from wood is pulping liquor or black liquor, a waste product from processes of the pulp, paper and paperboard industry. Waste energy is the secondlargest source of biomass energy. The main contributors of waste energy are municipal solid waste (MSW), manufacturing waste, and landfill gas. Biomass alcohol fuel, or ethanol, is derived almost exclusively from corn. Its principal use is as an oxygenate in gasoline.[4] Biomass can be converted to other usable forms of energy like methane gas or transportation fuels like ethanol and biodiesel. Methane gas is the main ingredient of natural gas. Smelly stuff, like rotting garbage, and agricultural and human waste, release methane gas - also called "landfill gas" or "biogas." Crops like corn and sugar cane can be fermented to produce the transportation fuel, ethanol. Biodiesel, another transportation fuel, can be produced from left-over food products like vegetable oils and animal fats. Also, Biomass to liquids (BTLs) and cellulosic ethanol are still under research.

Biomass conversion process to useful energy

There are a number of technological options available to make use of a wide variety of biomass types as a renewable energy source. Conversion technologies may release the energy directly, in the form of heat or electricity, or may convert it to another form, such as liquid biofuel or combustible biogas. While for some classes of biomass resource there may be a number of usage options, for others there may be only one appropriate technology.
Thermal conversion

These are processes in which heat is the dominant mechanism to convert the biomass into another chemical form. The basic alternatives are separated principally by the extent to which the

chemical reactions involved are allowed to proceed:Combustion,Torrefaction, Pyrolysis,Gasification. There are a number of other less common, more experimental or proprietary thermal processes that may offer benefits such as hydrothermal upgrading (HTU) and hydroprocessing. Some have been developed for use on high moisture content biomass, including aqueous slurries, and allow them to be converted into more convenient forms. Some of the Applications of thermal conversion are Combined heat and power (CHP) and Co-firing.
Chemical conversion

A range of chemical processes may be used to convert biomass into other forms, such as to produce a fuel that is more conveniently used, transported or stored, or to exploit some property of the process itself.
Biochemical conversion

As biomass is a natural material, many highly efficient biochemical processes have developed in nature to break down the molecules of which biomass is composed, and many of these biochemical conversion processes can be harnessed. Biochemical conversion makes use of the enzymes of bacteria and other micro-organisms to break down biomass. In most cases micro-organisms are used to perform the conversion process: anaerobic digestion, fermentation and composting. Other chemical processes such as Converting straight and waste vegetable oils into biodiesel is transesterification.

Environmental impact
On combustion the carbon from biomass is released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (CO2). The amount of carbon stored in dry wood is approximately 50% by weight. When from agricultural sources, plant matter used as a fuel can be replaced by planting for new growth. When the biomass is from forests, the time to recapture the carbon stored is generally longer, and the carbon storage capacity of the forest may be reduced overall if destructive forestry techniques are employed. The existing commercial biomass power generating industry in the United States, which consists of approximately 1,700 MW (megawatts) of operating capacity actively supplying power to the grid, produces about 0.5 percent of the U.S. electricity supply. Currently, the New Hope Power Partnership is the largest biomass power plant in North America. The 140 MW facility uses sugar cane fiber (bagasse) and recycled urban wood as fuel to generate enough power for its large milling and refining operations as well as to supply renewable electricity for nearly 60,000 homes. The facility reduces dependence on oil by more

than one million barrels per year, and by recycling sugar cane and wood waste, preserves landfill space in urban communities in Florida. The amount of biomass available is usually not as great as stated in the example above. Many times, especially in Europe where large agricultural developments are not usual, the cost for transporting the biomass overcomes its actual value and therefore the gathering ground has to be limited to a certain small area. This fact leads to only small possible power outputs around 1 MWel. To make an economic operation possible those power plants have to be equipped with the ORC technology, a cycle similar to the water steam power process just with an organic working medium. Such small power plants can be found in Europe. Despite harvesting, biomass crops may sequester (trap) carbon. So for example soil organic carbon has been observed to be greater in switchgrass stands than in cultivated cropland soil, especially at depths below 12 inches.[ The grass sequesters the carbon in its increased root biomass. Typically, perennial crops sequester much more carbon than annual crops due to much greater non-harvested living biomass, both living and dead, built up over years, and much less soil disruption in cultivation. Using biomass as a fuel produces the same air-pollution challenges as other fuels. Black carbon -a pollutant created by incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuels, and biomass- is possibly the second largest contributor to global warming.In 2009 a Swedish study of the giant brown haze that periodically covers large areas in South Asia determined that it had been principally produced by biomass burning, and to a lesser extent by fossil-fuel burning. Researchers measured a significant concentration of 14C, which is associated with recent plant life rather than with fossil fuels.

Anaerobic digestion
is a series of processes in which microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen and is widely used to treat wastewater.[1] As part of an integrated waste management system, anaerobic digestion reduces the emission of landfill gas into the atmosphere. Anaerobic digestion is widely used as a renewable energy source because the process produces a methane and carbon dioxide rich biogas suitable for energy production helping replace fossil fuels. Also, the nutrient-rich digestate can be used as fertiliser. The digestion process begins with bacterial hydrolysis of the input materials in order to break down insoluble organic polymers such as carbohydrates and make them available for other bacteria. Acidogenic bacteria then convert the sugars and amino acids into carbon dioxide, hydrogen, ammonia, and organic acids. Acetogenic bacteria then convert these resulting organic acids into acetic acid, along with additional ammonia, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide. Methanogens, finally are able to convert these products to methane and carbon dioxide. Previously, the technical expertise required to maintain anaerobic digesters coupled with high capital costs and low process efficiencies had limited the level of its industrial application as a waste treatment technology. Anaerobic digestion facilities have, however, been recognised by

the United Nations Development Programme as one of the most useful decentralised sources of energy supply, as they are less capital intensive than large power plants.

The process
Main article: Anaerobic respiration

There are a number of microorganisms that are involved in the process of anaerobic digestion including acetic acid-forming bacteria (acetogens) and methane-forming archaea (methanogens). These organisms feed upon the initial feedstock, which undergoes a number of different processes converting it to intermediate molecules including sugars, hydrogen & acetic acid before finally being converted to biogas. Different species of bacteria are able to survive at different temperature ranges. Ones living optimally at temperatures between 35-40C are called mesophiles or mesophilic bacteria. Some of the bacteria can survive at the hotter and more hostile conditions of 55-60C, these are called thermophiles or thermophilic bacteria.[34] Methanogens come from the primitive group of archaea. This family includes species that can grow in the hostile conditions of hydrothermal vents. These species are more resistant to heat and can therefore operate at thermophilic temperatures, a property that is unique to bacterial families.[35] As with aerobic systems the bacteria in anaerobic systems the growing and reproducing microorganisms within them require a source of elemental oxygen to survive.[36] In an anaerobic system there is an absence of gaseous oxygen. Gaseous oxygen is prevented from entering the system through physical containment in sealed tanks. Anaerobes access oxygen from sources other than the surrounding air. The oxygen source for these microorganisms can be the organic material itself or alternatively may be supplied by inorganic oxides from within the input material. When the oxygen source in an anaerobic system is derived from the organic material itself, then the 'intermediate' end products are primarily alcohols, aldehydes, and organic acids plus carbon dioxide. In the presence of specialised methanogens, the intermediates are converted to the 'final' end products of methane, carbon dioxide with trace levels of hydrogen sulfide.[37][38] In an anaerobic system the majority of the chemical energy contained within the starting material is released by methanogenic bacteria as methane.[5] Populations of anaerobic microorganisms typically take a significant period of time to establish themselves to be fully effective. It is therefore common practice to introduce anaerobic microorganisms from materials with existing populations. This process is called 'seeding' the digesters and typically takes place with the addition of sewage sludge or cattle slurry.[39]
THE PROCESS The key process stages of anaerobic digestion

There are four key biological and chemical stages of anaerobic digestion:[7][40]

1. 2. 3. 4.

Hydrolysis Acidogenesis Acetogenesis Methanogenesis

In most cases biomass is made up of large organic polymers. In order for the bacteria in anaerobic digesters to access the energy potential of the material, these chains must first be broken down into their smaller constituent parts. These constituent parts or monomers such as sugars are readily available by other bacteria. The process of breaking these chains and dissolving the smaller molecules into solution is called hydrolysis. Therefore hydrolysis of these high molecular weight polymeric components is the necessary first step in anaerobic digestion.[41] Through hydrolysis the complex organic molecules are broken down into simple sugars, amino acids, and fatty acids. Acetate and hydrogen produced in the first stages can be used directly by methanogens. Other molecules such as volatile fatty acids (VFAs) with a chain length that is greater than acetate must first be catabolised into compounds that can be directly utilised by methanogens.[42] The biological process of acidogenesis is where there is further breakdown of the remaining components by acidogenic (fermentative) bacteria. Here VFAs are created along with ammonia, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide as well as other by-products.[43] The process of acidogenesis is similar to the way that milk sours. The third stage anaerobic digestion is acetogenesis. Here simple molecules created through the acidogenesis phase are further digested by acetogens to produce largely acetic acid as well as carbon dioxide and hydrogen.[44] The terminal stage of anaerobic digestion is the biological process of methanogenesis. Here methanogens utilise the intermediate products of the preceding stages and convert them into methane, carbon dioxide and water. It is these components that makes up the majority of the biogas emitted from the system. Methanogenesis is sensitive to both high and low pHs and occurs between pH 6.5 and pH 8.[45] The remaining, non-digestable material which the microbes cannot feed upon, along with any dead bacterial remains constitutes the digestate. A simplified generic chemical equation for the overall processes outlined above is as follows: C6H12O6 3CO2 + 3CH4

Energy content: A plastic container used in the United States for storing gasoline.
Gasoline contains about 32.0 MJ/L (9.67 kWh/L, 132 MJ/US gal or 36.6 kWh/US gal). This is an average; gasoline blends differ, and therefore actual energy content varies from season to season and from batch to batch, by up to 4% more or less than the average, according to the US EPA. On average, about 19.5 US gallons (16.2 imp gal; 74 L) of gasoline are available from a 42-US-gallon (35 imp gal; 160 L) barrel of crude oil (about 46% by volume), varying due to quality of crude and grade of gasoline. The remaining residue comes off as products ranging from tar to naptha.[10]

Volumetric and mass energy density of some fuels compared with gasoline:[11] BTU/Imp gal 150,100 BTU/US gal 125,000 Research octane number (RON) Min 91[clarification

Fuel type

[clarification needed]

MJ/litre 32.0 26.8 23.5 17.9 29.2 31.2 38.6 33.3-35.7 [14]
[clarification needed]

MJ/kg 44.4[12] 46 31.1[13] 19.9 36.6

87 Octane Gasoline Autogas (LPG) (60% Propane + 40% Butane) Ethanol Methanol Butanol Gasohol (10% ethanol + 90% gasoline) Diesel(*) Biodiesel Aviation gasoline (high octane gasoline, not jet fuel) Jet fuel (kerosene based) Liquefied natural gas Hydrogen 1-10

108 101,600 77,600 84,600 64,600 129 123 91-99[clarification


145,200 45.4 166,600

120,900 138,700



33.5 35.1 25.3

[clarification needed]

46.8 43.8 55 121

144,400 151,242 109,000

120,200 125,935 90,800 130[15]

(*) Diesel fuel is not used in a gasoline engine, so its low octane rating is not an issue; the relevant metric for diesel engines is the cetane number

A high octane fuel such as Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) has a lower energy content than lower octane gasoline, resulting in an overall lower power output at the regular compression ratio an engine ran at on gasoline. However, with an engine tuned to the use of LPG (i.e. via higher compression ratios such as 12:1 instead of 8:1), this lower power output can be overcome. This is because higher-octane fuels allow for a higher compression ratio - this means less space in a cylinder on its combustion stroke, hence a higher cylinder temperature which improves efficiency according to Carnot's theorem, along with fewer wasted hydrocarbons (therefore less pollution and wasted energy), bringing higher power levels coupled with less pollution overall because of the greater efficiency. The main reason for the lower energy content (per litre) of LPG in comparison to gasoline is that it has a lower density. Energy content per kilogram is higher than for gasoline (higher hydrogen

to carbon ratio). The weight-density of gasoline is about 740 kg/m (6.175 lb/US gal; 7.416 lb/imp gal). Different countries have some variation in what RON (Research Octane Number) is standard for gasoline, or petrol. In the UK, ordinary regular unleaded petrol is 91 RON (not commonly available), premium unleaded petrol is always 95 RON, and super unleaded is usually 97-98 RON. However both Shell and BP produce fuel at 102 RON for cars with hi-performance engines, and the supermarket chain Tesco began in 2006 to sell super unleaded petrol rated at 99 RON. In the US, octane ratings in unleaded fuels can vary between 86-87 AKI (91-92 RON) for regular, through 89-90 AKI (94-95 RON) for mid-grade (European Premium), up to 90-94 AKI (95-99 RON) for premium (European Super).

What are the disadvantages of biogas plants?

There are a few disadvantages of biogas and these include:

The main disadvantage is the loss of the organic waste for compost or fertilizer -Very limited in the quantity of electricity it can produce on the global scale -There is little or no control on the rate of gas production, although the gas can, to some extent be stored and used as required.

There are also a few advantages of biogas:

-Uses a renewabe fuel

-Non-polluting -Waste is disposed of at the same time and in the same operation -Consumes methae that might otherwise leak into the atmosphere and increase the greenhouse effect. -Biogas can also be used on a small scale, e.g. a pig farm.

Biomass energy is the utilization of energy stored in organic matter. Examples of biomass include wood, leaves, animal waste, crops, bones, and scales. The abundant plant life is our planet is natures store house of solar energy and chemical resources. Whether cultivated by man, or growing wild, plant matter represents a massive quantity of a renewable resource that we call biomass. Put another way, biomass is stored solar energy that can be converted to electricity or fuel. Biomass is a renewable resource.


Carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and water from the earth are combined in the photosynthetic process to produce carbohydrates or sugars. These sugars form the building blocks of biomass. The solar energy that drives photosynthesis is stored in the chemical bonds of the structural components of biomass. If biomass is burnt efficiently, That is to extract the energy stored in the chemical bonds, oxygen from the atmosphere combines with the carbon in plants to produce carbon dioxide and water. The process is cyclic because the carbon dioxide is then available to produce new biomass. Thus biomass is definitely a renewable energy source. The organic matters are burned directly to produce heat or they are refined to produce fuel like ethanol or other alcoholic fuels.


In terms of energy content the total annual production of biomass is estimated at 2,740 Quads (1 Quad = 10,000,000,000,000,000 Btus). Biomass production is about eight times the total annual world consumption of energy from all sources (about 340 Quads). Therefore, biomass represents a very large energy resource. At present the world population uses only about 7% of the annual production of biomass. Therefore, we are only partially exploiting nature's abundant renewable resource.


The chemical composition of biomass varies among different species, but in general biomass consists of : 25% lignin 75% carbohydrates or sugars. Within this range of lignin and carbohydrates most species also contain about 5% of a third portion of smaller molecular fragments called extractives.


The most important advantage of biomass is that it is everywhere and very easily available. In the agriculture industry, residuals like bagasse (fibers) from sugarcane, straw from rice and wheat, hulls and nutshells, as well as manure lagoons from cattle, poultry and hog farms are usable. Similarly, the timber industry has a lot to offer. Wood wastes like sawdust, timber slash and mill scrap are considered organic materials. Even in cities, paper and yard wastes are usable. Fully utilized biomass reduces pollution in underground water bodies by offsetting the amount of waste in landfills. Methane and other poisonous gases that form from dead organic matters can be found in landfills and water treatment plants. These can be captured and converted in to fuels suitable for generating electricity. Economic benefits :
Rural economies will grow because of the development of a local industry to convert biomass to either electricity or transportation fuel. Because biomass feedstocks are bulky and costly to transport, conversion facilities will be located where the crop is grown. That means more people have chances of getting employed. Farmers will see their income rise thanks to these new markets -- for both agricultural wastes and crops that can be grown sustainably on marginal land. As new markets are created, the rural economy will become more diversified.

Energy benefits :
Energy producers and consumers will have available a renewable energy option with uniquely desirable characteristics. Biomass has the greatest potential of any renewable energy option for baseload electric power production. It is also the renewable resource with the most promise for producing economically competitive liquid transportation fuels. Co-production facilities will allow the production of electricity when it is needed and ethanol when it is not -- acting, in effect, as "seasonal peaking" facilities. The energy security of a nation will be significantly enhanced. With sustainable agricultural practices, biomass fuels could replace half or more of the nation's entire current level of gasoline consumption. Burning new biomass contributes no new carbon dioxide to the atmosphere because if we replant harvested biomass, carbon dioxide is returned to the cycle of new growth. Bioconversion and thermal conversion techniques for transforming biomass into fuels are currently under development at NREL and other research laboratories. These new technologies will reduce our reliance on oil and coal with no net addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. New thermal conversion techniques coupled with chemical catalysis are making it possible to exploit the previously discarded lignin fraction by converting it into valuable chemicals that we now get from non-renewable fossil sources.

Environmental benefits :
Agricultural land that might otherwise be converted to residential or industrial use -- because we will need fewer and fewer acres to meet the market demand for food -- can be used to grow biomass crops that will restore soil carbon, reduce erosion and chemical runoff, and enhance wildlife habitat. Perennial energy crops can be harvested without damage to the root structure and thus continue to serve as a soil stabilizer and stream buffer and habitat for wildlife. The use of biomass will greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Fossil fuels remove carbon that is stored underground and transfer it to the atmosphere. In a combustion system, biomass

releases carbon dioxide as it burns, but biomass also needs carbon dioxide to grow -- thus creating a closed carbon cycle. In a gasifier-fuel cell combination, there is a net reduction of carbon dioxide. In addition, substantial quantities of carbon can be captured in the soil through biomass root structures, creating a net carbon sink.


The burning method of biomass is not clean. I is similar to the burning of fossil fuels and produces large amounts of carbon dioxide. However, it produces much less harmful pollutants (e.g. sulfur), as the main elements found in organic materials are hydrogen, carbon, oxygen and nitrogen. Furthermore, the extra energy crops and other plants can consume the additional carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. The term "biomass" encompasses diverse fuels derived from timber, agriculture and food processing wastes or from fuel crops that are specifically grown or reserved for electricity generation. Biomass fuel can also include sewage sludge and animal manure. Some biomass fuels are derived from trees. Given the capacity of trees to regenerate, these fuels are considered renewable. Burning crop residues, sewage or manure - all wastes that are continually generated by society -- to generate electricity may offer environmental benefits in the form of preserving precious landfill space OR may be grown and harvested in ways that cause environmental harm. At present, most biomass power plants burn lumber, agricultural or construction/demolition wood wastes. Direct Combustion power plants burn the biomass fuel directly in boilers that supply steam for the same kind of steam-electric generators used to burn fossil fuels. With biomass gasification, biomass is converted into a gas methane - that can then fuel steam generators, combustion turbines, combined cycle technologies or fuel cells. The primary benefit of biomass gasification, compared to direct combustion, is that extracted gasses can be used in a variety of power plant configurations. In terms of capacity, biomass power plants represent the second largest amount of renewable energy in the nation. Because biomass technologies use combustion processes to produce electricity, they can generate electricity at any time, unlike wind and most solar technologies, which only produce when the wind is blowing or sun is shining. Biomass power plants currently represent 11,000 MW - the second largest amount of renewable energy in the nation.

What are the environmental impacts?

Whether combusting directly or engaged in gasification, biomass resources do generate air emissions. These emissions vary depending upon the precise fuel and technology used. If wood is the primary biomass resource, very little SO2 comes out of the stack. NOx emissions vary significantly among combustion facilities depending on their design and controls. Some biomass

power plants show a relatively high NOx emission rate per kilowatt hour generated if compared to other combustion technologies. This high NOx rate, an effect of the high nitrogen content of many biomass fuels, is one of the top air quality concerns associated with biomass. Carbon monoxide (CO) is also emitted - sometimes at levels higher than those for coal plants. Biomass plants also release carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary greenhouse gas. However, the cycle of growing, processing and burning biomass recycles CO2 from the atmosphere. If this cycle is sustained, there is little or no net gain in atmospheric CO2. Given that short rotation woody crops (i.e., fast growing woody plant types) can be planted, matured and harvested in shorter periods of time than natural growth forests, the managed production of biomass fuels may recycle CO2 in one-third less time than natural processes. Biomass power plants also divert wood waste from landfills, which reduces the productions and atmospheric release of methane, another potent greenhouse gas. Another air quality concern associated with biomass plants is particulates. These emissions can be readily controlled through conventional technologies. To date, no biomass facilities have installed advanced particulate emission controls. Still, most particulate emissions are relatively large in size. Their impacts upon human health remain unclear. The collection of biomass fuels can have significant environmental impacts. Harvesting timber and growing agricultural products for fuel requires large volumes to be collected, transported, processed and stored. Biomass fuels may be obtained from supplies of clean, uncontaminated wood that otherwise would be landfilled or from sustainable harvests. In both of these fuel collection examples, the net environmental plusses of biomass are significant when compared to fossil fuel collection alternatives. On the other hand, the collection, processing and combustion of biomass fuels may cause environmental problems if, for example, the fuel source contains toxic contaminants, agricultural waste handling pollutes local water resources, or burning biomass deprives local ecosystems of nutrients that forest or agricultural waste may otherwise provide.