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Biomass BoilersIn a typical installation, biomass byproducts are burned or raised to very high temperatures to release the chemical energy as heat. The heat is used to boil water in biomass boilers, creating steam. The steam is then used to turn turbines and generators to produce electricity.
Biomass GasificationWhen biomass is heated with little or no oxygen it gasifies to a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen known as synthesis gas. Like natural gas, synthesis gas can be used as a low BTU fossil fuel replacement in applications such as steam or electric generation. Gasification systems typically produce lower emissions and thus need less pollution control equipment.
Is this the right technology for my situation?The following elements are important for biomass to be a viable option.
In order to justify the capital expense, biomass fuel costs typically need to be less than 1/3 of the cost per BTU of the fuel it is replacing. Green wood biomass would typically need to be in the $10 -$25/ton range.
Adequate scale is required for good economics. typical thermal load should be in the 20-100 MMBtu range.
Should have adequate site for fuel handling -- fuel storage on site, noise, aesthetics, and traffic implications of a solid fuel stream.
Year round load is critical. Thermal load is much more valuable than electric load. Load factors above 50% provide the best economics.
Combined heat and power applications are usually required for good economics.
Biomass Facts:(Source: DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy site)
Biopower refers to burning biomass directly, or converting it into gaseous or liquid fuels that burn more efficiently, in order to generate electricity.
It is estimated that over 500 million dry tons of biomass, equivalent to 8.09 quads of primary energy, are available now.
Biofuels – Converting biomass into liquid fuels for transportation
Bioproducts – Converting biomass into chemicals for making plastics and other products that typically are made from petroleum
Common types of biomass include:
Logging residue (slash)
Nut and grain hulls and chaff
To read a more in-depth review of this technology, visit the NREL website:http://www.nrel.gov/learning/re_biomass.html
Did You Know?
U.S. BIOMASS MAPClick here to see a larger view of the map.
BIOMASS ENERGY BROCHURE