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Biomass Energy

What is Biomass?

plants convert
sunlight energy into
chemical energy

•Biomass is
stored sunlight
energy that can be
converted to:

•Biomass is available almost

everywhere in the world

•Good biomass energy resources

have a high yield of dry material
and use minimal land

• Crops should
generate more energy
than their production consume

• Biological power sources are:

Easily stored
CO2 neutral (if
harvested sustainably)

Transport to Bio-Energy Plant

Anaerobic Digestion Biogas

Fermentation Bio-Ethanol Chemicals

Mechanical Oil Fuel

Bio-Energy Plant Processing Bio-Energy Primary Products Bio-Energy Secondary Products

Combustion: Electricity

• Biomass can be burned in power plants to generate electricity

• In combined Heat and Power systems, the waste heat energy is

also used to heat water or nearby homes.
Combustion: Heating & Cooking


Wood can be burned to

• Heat a house
• Prepare food
Anaerobic Digestion: Biogas
Anaerobic Digestion Biogas


•Biogas technology formalizes the natural

decomposition process in the absence of
oxygen = anaerobic digestion
•Biogas digester consists of one or more
airtight reservoirs into which a suitable
moist feedstock is placed
•Digester can be big or small
•Compounds produced by this process is:
1. Methane gas = used for heating,
cooking & electricity
2. Odourless slurry = excellent fertilizer
Fermentation: Biofuel


Fermentation Ethanol Electricity


•Biomass can be converted

into liquid biofuels through

•Maize and sugar cane can

be converted into:

1. Ethanol ̶ a liquid biofuel

2. Methane ̶ a gas
Mechanical Processing: Biodiesel
Mechanical Bio-oil Electricity
Processing Chemicals
Transport fuel

•Sunflower seed oil and

soybean oil can be converted into

•These fuels are more effective

than wood = a more concentrated
energy source

• Effect of monocrops on nature?

• Dare we use food for fuel?

What is Biomass Energy?

Biomass means all materials which come from living

organisms. For instance, waste material of plants and
animals, wood, agricultural wastes, dead parts of plants and
animals. Since all living organisms contain carbon
compounds, biomass has energy stored in the form of
chemical compounds. The method of harnessing energy
from each one of them could be different. Direct burning of
these materials generally causes pollution but could be the
cheapest form of energy
Biomass conversion technologies

Biomass can be converted into different forms of energy by

using varius processes. Biomass can be converted into three
main products: power or heat generation, transportation fuels
and chemical feedstock.

Thermo-Chemical Bio-Chemical

Combustion Digestion


1. Thermo-chemical conversion
In thermo-chemical conversion, energy is produces by
applying heat and chemical processes. There are four
thermo-chemical conversion processes

•Combustion process

•Pyrolysis Process

•Gasification process

•Liquefaction process
1.1 Combustion process
Combustion is an exothermic chemical reaction, in which biomass is burned in the
presence of air. In this process chemical energy which is stored in the biomass is
converted in the mechanical and electrical energies. This process is used for
domestic applications as well as commercially in biomass power plants in order to
produce electricity.
. Production of electricity by combustion of Biomass

Pollution Control

Combustion Steam Boiler

Biomass Chamber


Steam Steam

Generator Condenser Valve

1.2 Pyrolysis Process
it is the process of conversion of biomass to liquid (bio-oil), solid
(charcoal) and gaseous (fuel gases) products by heating in the
absence of air at 500 °C
1.3 Gasification process
in biomass gasification, charcoal, wood chips, energy crops, forestry
residues, agricult ur a l waste and other wastes are transformed into
flammable gases at high temperature (800-1000°C. In this process fuel
(biomass) reacts with a gasifying medium such as oxygen enriched air,
pure oxygen, steam or a combination of both. The product gas can be
used as a feedstock (syngas) in the production of chemicals like
1.4 Liquefaction process
This process is used to get maximum liquid yields with higher quality
than from the pyrolysis process. The product have higher heating value
and lower oxygen content which makes the fuel chemically stable. The
main purpose of the liquefaction is to obtain high H/C ratio of the
product oil
2.Bio-Chemical conversion
Biochemical conversion makes use of the enzymes of
bacteria and other living organisms to break down biomass
and convert it into fuels. This conversion process includes
anaerobic digestion and fermentation.
2.1 Anaerobic digestion process
This is a process in which organic material directly converted to a gas
which is termed as biogas. It is mixture of methane, carbon dioxide and
other gases like hydrogen sulphide in small quantities. This biogas can
be directly used in spark ignition gas engines and gas turbines and can
be upgraded to higher quality natural gas by removing carbon dioxide.
The overall conversion efficiency of this process is 21%.
2.2. Fermentation process
Fermentation is an anaerobic process that breaks down the glucose
within organic materials. It is a series of chemical reactions that convert
sugars to ethanol. The basic fermentation process involves the
conversion of a plant’s glucose (or carbohydrate) into an alcohol or acid.
Yeast or bacteria are added to the biomass material, which feed on the
sugars to produce ethanol and carbon dioxide. The ethanol is distilled
and dehydrated to obtain a higher concentration of alcohol to achieve
the required purity for the use as automotive fuel. The solid residue from
the fermentation process can be used as cattle-feed and in the case of
sugar cane; the bagasse can be used as a fuel for boilers or for
subsequent gasification
Biomass energy:
Advantages and
Advantages of Biomass Energy
1. It’s a renewable source of energy.
2. It’s a comparatively lesser pollution generating energy.
3. Biomass energy helps in cleanliness in villages and cities.
4. It provides manure for the agriculture and gardens.
5. There is tremendous potential to generate biogas energy.
6. Biomass energy is relatively cheaper and reliable.
7. It can be generated from everyday human and animal wastes,
vegetable and agriculture left-over etc.
8. Recycling of waste reduces pollution and spread of diseases.
9. Heat energy that one gets from biogas is 3.5 times the heat from
burning wood.
10. Because of more heat produced the time required for cooking is lesser.
11. Pressure on the surrounding forest and scrubs can be reduced when
biogas is used as cooking fuel.
12. It is a more cost effective means of acquiring energy as compared to oil
supplies. As oil supplies are getting depleted day by day, it is becoming
a costly commodity.
13. Growing biomass crops use up carbon dioxide and produces oxygen.
Disadvantages of Biomass Energy
1. Cost of construction of biogas plant is high, so only rich people can
use it.
2. Continuous supply of biomass is required to generate biomass
3. Some people don’t like to cook food on biogas produced from
sewage waste.
4. Biogas plant requires space and produces dirty smell.
5. Due to improper construction many biogas plants are working
6. It is difficult to store biogas in cylinders.
7. Transportation of biogas through pipe over long distances is difficult.
8. Many easily grown grains like corn, wheat are being used to make
ethanol. This can have bad consequences if too much of food crop
is diverted for use as fuel.
9. Crops which are used to produce biomass energy are seasonal and
are not available over whole year.