Biomass energy is the energy which comes from industrial waste, agricultural crop residues, and energy plantation. The energy is originally from plants that converted the sun’s energy through photosynthesis and stored it in different forms. This form then can be converted to fuel, electricity and heat.
Actually biomass production works with different processes depending on which form of biomass is being and wanted used. The processes of biomass energy including fermentation, gasification and cogeneration to tap it into the renewable energy resource. However, the basic principle is always the same. So how does biomass work?
Plants store the sun’s energy and bind carbon dioxide. By releasing the stored energy, also the carbon dioxide stored inside the plant is being released and put into our atmosphere. Because we will continue to make waste and plant trees, the carbon cycle will continue and thus biomass can be considered renewable energy.
Some common methods of biomass energy conversion:
- Burning the biomass, e.g. coal or wood, which produces energy for cooking, grilling, or heating.
- Alcohol fermentation in which starches are converted to sugar, then to alcohol and subsequently to fuel. Fermentation can be used with materials such as wheat, yeast, potatoes, barley, and even sawdust. After the fermentation process, the product can be used as an alternative of fuel.
- Gasification. The product of gasification is used to generate electricity by burning solid fuels into combustible gases. This process is still relatively new and thus not quite ready for commercial use yet. Landfill gases. For example, methane can be extracted through landfill from industrial waste, manure and livestock and then can be used to produce electricity or heat.
Some resources that is usually used to produce biomass energy are wheat, sugarcane, plants, barley, trees and basically all plants that use photosynthesis to store the sun energy.
Source: New Energy Portal