Biomass is organic material that comes from plants and animals, and it is a renewable source of energy.
Biomass contains stored energy from the sun. Plants absorb the sun's energy in a process called photosynthesis. When biomass is burned, the chemical energy in biomass is released as heat. Biomass can be burned directly or converted to liquid biofuels or biogas that can be burned as fuels. Examples of biomass and their uses for energy:
Burning is only one way to release the energy in biomass. Biomass can be converted to other useable forms of energy such as methane gas or transportation fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel.
Methane gas is a component of landfill gas or biogas that forms when garbage, agricultural waste, and human waste decompose in landfills or in special containers called digesters.
Crops such as corn and sugar cane are fermented to produce fuel ethanol for use in vehicles. Biodiesel, another transportation fuel, is produced from vegetable oils and animal fats.
Biomass Energy is solar energy stored in plant
material through photosynthesis. The
ecoPHASER Biomass-to-Energy (BTE)
system is designed to extract the
maximum of this contained solar energy
from the biomass and converts it into
heat and electricity via a proprietary
clean gasification process with near
zero emission. High-Btu biomass
products are most propitious as a
renewable energy source for combined
heat and power generation (CHP).
Biomass products that are well-suited for the ecoPHASER system include Muncipal Solid Waste, woody biomass (such as forestry waste), agricultural residues (including crop waste and animal manures), peat moss, excess algae biomass (bloom waste) and purpose-grown biomass crops. Fast-growing or short-cultivation-cycle plant species (such as grasses, canes, and reeds) as well as root crops, when grown for fuel, can offer a sustainable renewable source of energy.
Biomass is considered to be a renewable energy source, as the contained carbon is part of the natural carbon cycle. While incineration generates significant CO2 , NOx and VOCs particulate emissions, CESGI's ecoPHASER produces near zero emissions. In fact, ecoPHASER’s biomass energy can reduce atmospheric CO2 when gasifying fast-growing crops
While the only truly closed-loop system may be the earth itself, some industrial systems can approach such closed loops. The concept then offers a useful ideal for inspiring and assessing improvements in industrial sustainability.
In energy generation, as defined by US Congress, a closed-loop biomass-to-electricity power plant is one in which the feedstock biomass is grown specifically for the purpose of power generation.
The ecoPHASER waste-to-energy system has the capacity to extract energy from mono-fuels as well as varied waste streams. Plant design varies accordingly.
The ecoPHASER converts
municipal solid waste into
clean electricity, after
recycleables are salvaged
for resale. The system can
also process industrial Waste.
MSW is primarily composed of residential solid waste but also includes some types of non-hazardous commercial, institutional and industrial wastes. MSW can be problematic to discard because of its large volume: one commonly adopted solution is to combust the MSW, which both decreases the volume of material and creates energy that can be recovered in the form of heat or steam.
Because some materials have higher heat content than others, the amount of energy that can be produced by combusting MSW is a function of the composition of the waste stream.3 For example, certain types of plastics have more than three times the heat content of yard trimmings or organic textiles. In general, combustible non-biogenic materials are characterized by higher heat contents per unit weight than combustible biogenic materials. Thus, the ratio of biogenic to non-biogenic material volumes can have a considerable effect on the heat content of the waste stream.
The ecoPHASER system extracts energy from forestry or agricultural residues (e.g. sugar cane), as well as purpose-grown king grass and other biomass sources.
CESGI's 12MW ecoPHASER Biomass-to-Energy system can use livestock manures, agricultural waste, as well as crop residues to generate clean and renewable energy. Key in continuous energy generation from agricultural waste is the year-round availability or long-term storability of feedstock.
The ecoPHASER system can also be set up to include non-recycleable waste plastics from farms into the biomass mix that is fed into the system for clean energy generation.
Agricultural operations, including greenhouses, cattle farms and dairy operations, are typically excellent candidates for an off-grid ecoPHASER energy system that provides electricity, heating and cooling, as required.
Sugarcane (which, after sugar extraction, yields Bagasse) is a tropical, perennial grass that forms lateral shoots at the base to produce multiple stems, typically 3 to 4 metres high and 5 cm in diameter. The average yield of cane stalk is 60–70 tonnes per hectare per year
Animal feces (manure) from various types of livestock, including beef cattle, dairy cows and poultry, can be used to generate clean electricity. Manure that has been dried to have a moisture content under 40% makes an excellent fuel for the ecoPHASER system. As one of the oldest fuels on Earth, dung has provided heat for thousands of years.
In warmer climates, giant grass and root species have become significant fuels for biomass energy generation. With fast growth cycles, often more than one harvest per year, the crops offer a phenomenal renewal rate, compared with traditional forestry. CESGI's system calls for a <75mm (3”minus) chopped product to meet the timing of the reactor’s sublimation cycle.
A renewable crop, grown solely for energy generation is considered “closed-loop”. Many such crops, including Giant King Grass, have been non-GMO hybridized by natural selection and cross pollination.
ecoTECH urges feedstock growers to cultivate crops sustainably and does
not condone the use of food crops or farm land for fuel or power markets.
Biomass-to-Energy crop cultivation can mitigate such unsustainable practices by selecting land which cannot be used for standard food crop agriculture, for reasons such as pollution, poor drainage, natural arsenic or salt and climate conditions hostile to food crops. Grass and reed species in particular, can be cultivated in poor soils, creating a seasons-free, rapid growth-cycle and a sustainable source of energy.
The hybrid Giant King Grass is hearty, thrives on warmth and
sunshine, and can be grown on lands unsuitable for food crops.
It can be harvested at 13-16 feet tall (every 150-180 days) and
can produce 375 tonnes of biomass per hectare annually.
Cana Brava (Gynerium sagittatum) is a tall grass that grows up to 6 metres (20 feet) high. It is a very vigorous species that has a considerably dense vegetation mass. It is harvested as a semi-crop, mainly in Latin America, and has several uses.
Napier Grass (Pennisetum purpureum) is a perennial tropical grass. It requires low water and nutrient inputs, but has high biomass production. Harvested 5 times a year, it can produce 40 tonnes/ha.
Miscanthus sinensis is a species of flowering plant in the grass family Poaceae, native to eastern Asia. It is an herbaceous perennial grass, growing to 1 to 2 metres tall (3–7 ft), up to 4 m (13 ft).
Various hybrid species of Pauwlonia, a very fast-growing
tree, are cultivated for biomass energy. Once harvested,
Paulownia regenerate from their existing root systems.
Hybrid species are typically non-invasive, drought-tolerant,
require little fertilization, and can be harvested annually.
“CX-! Energy Sweet Potato Root” is non-GMO hybrid root crop, developed as a biomass fuel to achieve super-sized proportions and a high energy/mass yield. This shortgrowth crop (150 days to maturity) can be cultivated in dry environments with very low nutrient inputs.
Forestry waste and other woody biomass
can be fed directly into the ecoPHASER
system for clean energy generation.
ecoTECH recommends the use of wood
waste, in the form of abandoned log
culls (from clearing paths to marketable
timber logs), unmarketable trees felled
for land clearing, fire-damaged timber,
chopped forestry residues and chipped
or shredded wood mill waste.
Greenleaf is an example of the small but burgeoning biomass industry which is turning previously unusable wood and other agricultural residue into energy, either by burning it or by converting it into biofuel
Biomass from forestry residues has great potential for large-scale electricity generation, industrial heat, biofuels and valuable natural chemicals.
So you're taking more sustainable biomass from the forest, reducing wastage, but also looking at areas for growth for the bioenergy industry in general.
Peat forms naturally, over time, from decaying vegetation. The sustainability of peat as a biomass product is contested in some countries, where it is viewed as a finite resource since the ongoing decay of plant matter no longer takes place. In many locales, however, continual deposits of dead plant matter are regular, seasonal and therefore sustainable as a feedstock source for clean energy.
Algae blooms can be triggered by farm fertilizer run-off or other spills that congest open water ways and result in odorously rotting biomass. Similarly, Sargassum and other seaweed blooms create odorous tidal piles as they decay on shore. Seaweed and algae, dried below 40% moisture content, make for an excellent feedstock, thus managing an environmental issue while generating clean energy.
CESGI is a Cleantech
company. We create innovative technologies to supply
renewable and sustainable energy products that meet
regulatory requirements and community needs across the
As societies grow and develop, our world faces unprecedented social challenges and environmental pressures. Technological innovation is key in addressing these problems and creating a shared sustainable future on a healthy planet.
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