Dealing With the Question: How Does Biomass Generate Electricity

It is not enough to simply understand what biomass is. The most important concept to grasp is how it can provide sufficient power for our daily needs. Is it really capable of sustaining our energy needs? How does biomass generate electricity?

To make the complex process a little simpler, biomass materials can generate power once it has been processed and converted to usable energy. Biomatter like plants, lumber, wood chips, household waste, foodstuff, landfill garbage and animal manure has to be processed either by combustion, landfill gas capture, alcohol fermentation or gasification.

The biomass power plants play a significant role in the process. It is where the conversion occurs. That way, the raw materials can be successfully changed to a form of energy that we can use for our needs. After proper conversion of biomass materials is done, the by product can be thermal energy, gas like methane or usable fuel like ethanol.

These days, combustion is the most common way of using biomass materials so energy that can be used for small industries may be produced. Since we are already in an era where advanced technology is easy, there are even residential biomass systems for homes.

The typical biomass electric generator uses up materials like wood, waste, manure and other biodegradable materials. In the process of break down, the organic materials get consumed by bacteria. The primary by product is methane although there are also traces of other gases like carbon dioxide. The gases emitted can then be utilized for heating and providing energy.

More and more people should understand the details about energy production using biomass. These days, there are several methods which successfully convert biomass materials so that alternative energy can be generated. It is absolutely a good thing because this means that the goal of reducing the use of non renewable materials like fossil fuels can be achieved. Here are the methods which can answer the question: How does biomass generate electricity for industries and homes?

The most common technique is the direct fired method to generate electricity. This is being used by the power plants across the globe. What happens is that the biomass materials are being burnt so that steam may be produced. It is important that the biomatter should be dried properly before it is used. This steam is necessary in creating alternative energy. Conventional steam boiler is also associated with direct fired method. What makes the difference between the two is the furnace structure. With direct fired method biomass materials are placed at the bottom and the steam goes out from the base. For the steam boiler, the biomass materials are still loaded at the bottom but the by product is released at the top part. In both systems, the steam causes a turbine to rotate and then electricity is produced.

Another way of producing electricity from biomass is done through co-firing method. With this method, producing electricity is not solely dependent on biomass materials. What happens is that after the biomass materials have been converted to usable energy source, it is then combined with fossil fuels like coal and petroleum. This is a method that can significantly reduce the demand for fossil fuels because the biomass materials will partially cover for the energy demand. What is needed to be able to implement such system is a boiler that is capable of burning both fossil fuels and biofuel so that energy may be generated.

Pyrolysis process to generate electricity is also being continuously developed. To this day, this process may cost a little more expensive and setting up the conditions where this can be done may be tedious. With pyrolysis, it is necessary to do combustion with a higher temperature and the atmosphere has to be totally free of oxygen. The by product of this method is called pyrolysis oil or syngas. This can be directly used as source of energy.

The process for landfill gas and AD (or Anaerobic Digestion) is quite similar. When the biodegradable and organic materials go through the process of break down and decomposition, a gas is being released. Majority of the gas produced is methane though there are traces of other gases too. This gas is then collected and then processed so it can be used for producing thermal energy and power. Anaerobic Digestion or AD is more focused on utilizing animal manure and municipal solid waste. On the other hand, landfill gas is derived from the garbage in landfills.