FAQs Solid Biomass

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What is solid biomas?

Biomass is the term used to describe all the organic matter, produced by photosynthesis that exists on the earth’s surface. The source of all energy in biomass is the sun, the biomass acting as a kind of energy store.[1]

What are the uses of solid biomass?

Solid biomass is widely used in developing countries, mainly for cooking, heating water and domestic space heating. Biomass is available in varying quantities throughout the developing world - from densely forested areas in the temperate and tropical regions of the world, to sparsely vegetated arid regions where collecting wood fuel for household needs is a time consuming and arduous task.[1]

How can you use solid biomass as fuels?

Biomass can be directly combusted or co-fired with fossil fuels.

Indirect application: A number of non -combustion methods are available for converting biomass to energy. These processes convert raw biomass into a variety of gaseous, liquid, or solid fuels that can then be used directly for energy generation. The carbohydrates in biomass, which are comprised of oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen, can be broken down into a variety of chemicals, some of which are useful fuels.[2]

What are the benefits of solid biomass?

Benefits of solid biomass:

  • Potential to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Burning biomass releases about the same amount of carbon dioxide as burning fossil fuels. Fossil fuels release carbon dioxide captured by photosynthesis millions of years ago. Biomass, on the other hand, releases carbon dioxide that is largely balanced by the carbon dioxide captured in its own growth (depending how much energy was used to grow, harvest, and process the fuel). Replacing the biomass harvested results in a sustainable cycle of carbon dioxide emission and sequestration.[3]
  • The use of biomass can reduce dependence on foreign oil because biofuels are the only renewable liquid transportation fuels available.[3]

What is briquetting or pelletization?

Both of these techniques are based on compacting the original loose material to yield one basic advantage: a higher energy densification. Briquettting is a also a popular method of converting solid biomass into bio-fuel in developing countries.

What are the socio-environmental impacts of solid biomass?

Burning solid biomass is inefficient at converting energy to heat for cooking, and releases a toxic mix of health damaging pollutants that contribute to climate change at regional and global levels. The use of solid biomass puts women and children’s safety at risk;depletes forests, which can weaken soil causing mudslides and destroying agricultural land; and jeopardizes human health and household and community air quality through toxic smoke emissions.[4]

What is biomass heat and power?

Power and/or heat generation from solid biomass includes forest product wastes, agricultural residues and waste, energy crops, and the organic component of municipal solid waste and industrial waste. It also includes power and process heat from biogas.[5]

Further Information