Can biomass be burned to produce electricity?
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Can biomass be burned to produce electricity?


What is biomass?

Biomass includes plants, animals and their excreta, garbage and organic waste water. In a broad sense, biomass is organic matter produced by plants through photosynthesis, and its energy initially comes from solar energy, so biomass is a kind of solar energy, and its generation process is as follows.

(chlorophyll + solar energy) CO2 + H2O → (CH2O) + O2


Specific forms of biomass:

The most important and frequently seen among plant species are wood, crops (straw, rice straw, wheat straw, soybean straw, cotton straw, grain hulls, etc.), weeds, algae, etc. The main non-plant species are animal manure, animal carcasses, organic components in waste water, organic components in garbage, etc.


Energy contained in biomass:

Due to the huge number of living things on the earth, many organic substances are excreted and metabolized by these living things, and the energy contained in these substances is quite amazing. According to biologists’ estimates, the total amount of bioenergy growing on the earth is about 140-1800 billion tons (dry weight) per year, which is equivalent to 10 times the total energy consumption of the world at present.


If we consider the increasing amount of municipal waste and domestic sewage, livestock manure and other biomass resources, China’s annual biomass resources amount to more than 700 million tons of standard coal.


Since biomass energy is a widely distributed renewable energy source that does not increase the net emission of carbon dioxide, the development and use of biomass energy will effectively relieve energy pressure, reduce atmospheric pollution and mitigate the greenhouse effect, and reduce the environmental pollution caused by the massive use of fossil fuels, so the development of biomass energy has been paid attention to by countries around the world.


Can biomass power generation generate electricity?

Biomass power generation is power generation by using biomass with biomass energy, which is a kind of renewable energy generation, including direct combustion of agricultural and forestry waste, gasification of agricultural and forestry waste, waste incineration, landfill gas and biogas power generation.


What are the current biomass power generation technologies?

1.Biomass combustion power generation technology

*Biomass direct combustion power generation technology: This technology is basically mature and has entered the promotion stage. The collected biomass is simply treated or directly put into the combustion furnace to generate electricity, and this technology requires special combustion furnace equipment. Due to the large size and low density of biomass, it is difficult to collect and transport biomass, and the combustion value of such biomass is also low.


*Waste power generation technology: Incineration of waste is one of the main technologies for municipal waste treatment currently used around the world, and it is also gaining great attention in China because it can recover heat energy and does not occupy land.


* Biomass forming and combustion power generation technology: Biomass forming is to crush rice husk, wood chips, peanut shells, bagasse and other biomass raw materials to a certain size, and under high pressure conditions, use machinery to extrude them into a certain shape. Biomass forming fuel has many characteristics of coal and firewood, and can replace coal and firewood as fuel in many occasions.

2.Gasification power generation technology

Biomass gasification power generation is a preliminary commercialization technology, mainly using gasification technology to convert biomass waste into combustible gas, and then send it to gas-fired generators for power generation after purification treatment such as tar removal. The economics of biomass gasification for power generation is good, so the development of medium-scale biomass power generation technology will have good economic benefits and development prospects. Gasifier is the main equipment of biomass gasification, which mainly includes fixed-bed gasifier and fluidized-bed gasifier.

3.Biogas power generation technology

Biogas combustion power generation is a biogas utilization technology emerged with the continuous development of comprehensive utilization of biogas, which uses biogas on the engine and equipped with integrated power generation device to generate electricity and heat, which is an important way to effectively use biogas. At present, the equipment used for biogas power generation mainly includes internal combustion engine and steam turbine.