Green Energy: Biomass

Biomass as a renewable energy source, is biological material from living, or recently living organisms. As an energy source, biomass can either be used directly, or converted into other energy products such as biofuel.

1) Biomass is plant matter used to generate electricity with steam turbines & gasifiers or produce heat, usually by direct combustion. Examples include forest residues (such as dead trees, branches and tree stumps), yard clippings, wood chips and even municipal solid waste.

2) Biomass includes plant or animal matter that can be converted into fibers or other industrial chemicals, including biofuels. Industrial biomass can be grown from numerous types of plants, including miscanthus, switchgrass, hemp, corn, poplar, willow, sorghum, sugarcane, bamboo, and a variety of tree species, ranging from eucalyptus to oil palm (palm oil).

.1Biomass power plant in Medan, North Sumatra

Biomass energy is derived from five distinct energy sources: garbage, wood, waste, landfill gases, and alcohol fuels. 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 second-largest source of biomass energy. The main contributors of waste energy are municipal solid waste, manufacturing waste, and landfill gas. Biomass can be converted to other usable forms of energy like methane gas or transportation fuels like ethanol and biodiesel. Rotting garbage, and agricultural and human waste, all release methane gas—also called “landfill gas” or “biogas.” Crops, such as 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.

A biomass plant can be used by farms e.g. a 500 kW plant, or bigger up to several mW to provide e.g. cities with electricity.

If Biomass is environmental friendly are still under critical discussions. Biomass is a renuable source of energy.

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