Biomass for energy often mean plant base material although can equally apply to both
animal and vegetable draw from material. Biomass is actually a biological material derive form living or
recently living organisms. Biomass chemical composition is carbon
based and is composed of a mixture of organic molecules containing hydrogen, usually
including atoms of oxygen, often nitrogen and also small quantities of other atoms,
including alkali, alkaline earth and heavy metals, metals are often found in functional
molecules such as the porphyrins which include chlorophyll which contains magnesium.
There are five basic categories of material of biomass such as:
•Virgin wood- from forestry, arboriculture activities or from wood processing.
•Energy crops- high yield crops grown specifically for energy applications
•Agricultural residues- residues from agriculture harvesting or processing
• Food waste- from food and drink manufacture, preparation and processing, and
•Industrial waste and co-products- from manufacturing and industrial processes.
The question is how are we going to use this biomass as a fuel for boilers? But what is
a boiler in the first place? A boiler is defined as “a closed vessel in which water or other
liquid is heated, steam or vapor is generated, steam is superheated, or any combination
thereof, under pressure or vacuum, for use external to itself, by the direct application of
energy from the combustion of fuels, from electricity or nuclear energy.”
Let us then go back to the previous question, how are we going to use this biomass
as fuel for boilers. Nowadays, the prime sources of energy in the world are oil, coal
and natural gas. But these natural sources of energy has their end too, unfortunately
it is already anticipated that within the next 40-50 years these sources of energy will
deplete. Worst is, it is also expected that from these sources lies consequences due
to their emissions such as global warming, acid rain, urban smog. Due to this fact
the world is trying to utilize new sources of energy, there are some renewable energy
sources that can replace harmful energy sources. The solar, wind, biomass etc are
energy sources which are less harmful to the environment but can only be use in a
suitable way. Biomass is one of the earliest ever discovered sources of energy but
only comes with specific properties. It was then discovered that utilizing biomass in
boilers offers many economical, social and environmental benefits such as financial net
saving, conservation of fossil fuel resources, job opportunities creation and CO2 and
NOx emissions reduction.
However, care must also be taken for consideration. Although biomass can be good in
some point there are also disadvantages such as: environmental impacts of biomass
such as land and water resources, soil erosion, loss of biodiversity and deforestation.
Problems associated when burning biomass in boilers are fouling, marketing, low
heating value, storage and collections and handling. The future of biomass in boilers
depends upon the development of the markets for fossil fuels and on policy decisions
regarding the biomass market.