The growth in energy consumption of the world by 2035 is projected to be 55% which is 770 quadrillion Btu. In the process of producing energy to meet the demand associated emissions also increase considerably. To conserve energy and reduce emissions emphasis is to be laid on This utilizing renewable energy resources. This gave solar, wind, biomass and other forms renewable sources great concern. Among the developing renewable energy technologies biomass is a potent source. This report gives a detailed overview of biomass resources and energy production technologies presenting the challenges as well.
Fossil fuels have been a primary source of energy since pre-historic times. They were initially used for heating and cooking. Advancement in technologies paved way to the usage of fossil fuels for generating electricity and as transportation fuel. Even now, fossil fuels are the chief source of fuels and energy all around the world. However, burning of fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases. Since 1751 approximately 337 billion tons of carbon have been released to the atmosphere from the consumption of fossil fuels and cement production. The 2007 global fossil-fuel carbon emission estimate, 8365 million metric tons of carbon, represents an all-time high and a 1.7% increase from 2006.Globally, liquid and solid fuels accounted for 76.3% of the emissions from fossil-fuel burning and cement production in 2007. Combustion of gas fuels (e.g., natural gas) accounted for 18.5% (1551 million metric tons of carbon) of the total emissions from fossil fuels in 2007 and reflects a gradually increasing global utilization of natural gas. Emissions from cement production (377 million metric tons of carbon in 2007) have more than doubled since the mid 1970s and now represent 4.5% of global CO2 releases from fossil-fuel burning and cement production. Gas flaring, which accounted for roughly 2% of global emissions during the 1970s, now accounts for less than 1% of global fossil-fuel releases. The figure 1 shows the emissions of fossil fuel burning in teragrams, in the world from 1990 to 2010.
Fig 1 : Global CO2 emissions from fossil-fuels 1990-2010
With alarming effects of greenhouse gases on the environment alternative energy sources are becoming key focus. Among the available options of renewable resources biomass is one of the potent sources of clean energy. Also, biomass is carbon lean and produces only a fraction of fossil fuel carbon emissions. Most of the biomass fuels release lesser amounts of sulphur dioxide which contributes to acid rain. Advantages like availability of modern combustion techniques of biomass that offer higher combustion efficiencies and lower emissions makes it more beneficial for producing sustainable energy.
II. DEFINITION OF BIOMASS
Biomass is living-matter or that was alive short time ago that include wood, landfills, agricultural waste and animal waste. Biomass can also be derived from living-cell materials like algae, sewage and other organic substances that can be burned to produce energy. Biomass is considered a renewable energy source because it is biological (derived from living or recently-dead) in nature. As long as there is life on earth, biomass is produced. Biomass is a carbon based substance with portions of organic molecules of mainly nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen.
Plants capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere on a regular basis. The carbon component from thus captured carbon dioxide is used by plants to construct biomass. When eaten by animals the plant biomass is converted into animal biomass. In case the plant is not eaten it is either decomposed by microorganisms or burned. When plants are burned CO2 is directly returned to the atmosphere. This is called carbon cycle. The process of burning the plant determines whether or not carbon dioxide or methane is released into the atmosphere. The difference between fossil