Cogeneration of Bagasse

Cogeneration of bagasse is one of the most attractive and successful biomass energy projects that have already been demonstrated in many sugarcane producing countries such as Mauritius, Reunion Island, India and Brazil. Combined heat and power from sugarcane in the form of power generation offers renewable energy options that promote sustainable development, take advantage of domestic resources, increase profitability and competitiveness in the industry, and cost-effectively address climate mitigation and other environmental goals.

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According to World Alliance for Decentralized Energy (WADE) report on Bagasse Cogeneration, bagasse-based cogeneration could deliver up to 25% of current power demand requirements in the world’s main cane producing countries. The overall potential share in the world’s major developing country producers exceeds 7%.

There is abundant opportunity for the wider use of bagasse-based cogeneration in sugarcane-producing countries. It is especially great in the world’s main cane producing countries like Brazil, India, Thailand, Pakistan, Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, Philippines and Vietnam. Yet this potential remains by and large unexploited.

Using bagasse to generate power represents an opportunity to generate significant revenue through the sale of electricity and carbon credits. Additionally, cogeneration of heat and power allows sugar producers to meet their internal energy requirements and drastically reduce their operational costs, in many cases by as much as 25%. Burning bagasse also removes a waste product through its use as a feedstock for the electrical generators and steam turbines.

Most sugarcane mills around the globe have achieved energy self-sufficiency for the manufacture of raw sugar and can also generate a small amount of exportable electricity. However, using traditional equipment such as low-pressure boilers and counter-pressure turbo alternators, the level and reliability of electricity production is not sufficient to change the energy balance and attract interest for export to the electric power grid.

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On the other hand, revamping the boiler house of sugar mills with high pressure boilers and condensing extraction steam turbine can substantially increase the level of exportable electricity. This experience has been witnessed in Mauritius, where, following major changes in the processing configurations, the exportable electricity from its sugar factory increased from around 30-40 kWh to around 100–140 kWh per ton cane crushed.

In Brazil, the world’s largest cane producer, most of the sugar mills are upgrading their boiler configurations to 42 bars or even higher pressure of up to 67 bars.

Technology Options

The prime technology for sugar mill cogeneration is the conventional steam-Rankine cycle design for conversion of fuel into electricity. A combination of stored and fresh bagasse is usually fed to a specially designed furnace to generate steam in a boiler at typical pressures and temperatures of usually more than 40 bars and 440°C respectively.

The high pressure steam is then expanded either in a back pressure or single extraction back pressure or single extraction condensing or double extraction cum condensing type turbo generator operating at similar inlet steam conditions.

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35MW Bagasse and Coal CHP Plant in Mauritius

 

Due to high pressure and temperature, as well as extraction and condensing modes of the turbine, higher quantum of power gets generated in the turbine–generator set, over and above the power required for sugar process, other by-products, and cogeneration plant auxiliaries. The excess power generated in the turbine generator set is then stepped up to extra high voltage of 66/110/220 kV, depending on the nearby substation configuration and fed into the nearby utility grid.

As the sugar industry operates seasonally, the boilers are normally designed for multi-fuel operations, so as to utilize mill bagasse, sugarcane trash, crop residues, coal and other fossil fuel, so as to ensure year round operation of the power plant for export to the grid.

Latest Trends

Modern power plants use higher pressures, up to 87 bars or more. The higher pressure normally generates more power with the same quantity of Bagasse or biomass fuel. Thus, a higher pressure and temperature configuration is a key in increasing exportable surplus electricity.

In general, 67 bars pressure and 495°C temperature configurations for sugar mill cogeneration plants are well-established in many sugar mills in India. Extra high pressure at 87 bars and 510°C, configuration comparable to those in Mauritius, is the current trend and there are about several projects commissioned and operating in India and Brazil. The average increase of power export from 40 bars to 60 bars to 80 bars stages is usually in the range of 7-10%.

A promising alternative to steam turbines are gas turbines fuelled by gas produced by thermochemical conversion of biomass. The exhaust is used to raise steam in heat recovery systems used in any of the following ways: heating process needs in a cogeneration system, for injecting back into gas turbine to raise power output and efficiency in a steam-injected gas turbine cycle (STIG) or expanding through a steam turbine to boost power output and efficiency in a gas turbine/steam turbine combined cycle (GTCC).

Gas turbines, unlike steam turbines, are characterized by lower unit capital costs at modest scale, and the most efficient cycles are considerably more efficient than comparably sized steam turbines.

Overview of Biomass Energy Technologies

A wide range of bioenergy technologies are available for realizing the energy potential of biomass wastes, ranging from very simple systems for disposing of dry waste to more complex technologies capable of dealing with large amounts of industrial waste. Conversion routes for biomass wastes are generally thermo-chemical or bio-chemical, but may also include chemical and physical.

Thermal Technologies

The three principal methods of thermo-chemical conversion corresponding to each of these energy carriers are combustion in excess air, gasification in reduced air, and pyrolysis in the absence of air. Direct combustion is the best established and most commonly used technology for converting wastes to heat.

During combustion, biomass is burnt in excess air to produce heat. The first stage of combustion involves the evolution of combustible vapours from wastes, which burn as flames. Steam is expanded through a conventional turbo-alternator to produce electricity. The residual material, in the form of charcoal, is burnt in a forced air supply to give more heat.

Co-firing or co-combustion of biomass wastes with coal and other fossil fuels can provide a short-term, low-risk, low-cost option for producing renewable energy while simultaneously reducing the use of fossil fuels. Co-firing involves utilizing existing power generating plants that are fired with fossil fuel (generally coal), and displacing a small proportion of the fossil fuel with renewable biomass fuels.

Co-firing has the major advantage of avoiding the construction of new, dedicated, waste-to-energy power plant. An existing power station is modified to accept the waste resource and utilize it to produce a minor proportion of its electricity.

Gasification systems operate by heating biomass wastes in an environment where the solid waste breaks down to form a flammable gas. The gasification of biomass takes place in a restricted supply of air or oxygen at temperatures up to 1200–1300°C. The gas produced—synthesis gas, or syngas—can be cleaned, filtered, and then burned in a gas turbine in simple or combined-cycle mode, comparable to LFG or biogas produced from an anaerobic digester.

The final fuel gas consists principally of carbon monoxide, hydrogen and methane with small amounts of higher hydrocarbons. This fuel gas may be burnt to generate heat; alternatively it may be processed and then used as fuel for gas-fired engines or gas turbines to drive generators. In smaller systems, the syngas can be fired in reciprocating engines, micro-turbines, Stirling engines, or fuel cells.

Pyrolysis is thermal decomposition occurring in the absence of oxygen. During the pyrolysis process, biomass waste is heated either in the absence of air (i.e. indirectly), or by the partial combustion of some of the waste in a restricted air or oxygen supply. This results in the thermal decomposition of the waste to form a combination of a solid char, gas, and liquid bio-oil, which can be used as a liquid fuel or upgraded and further processed to value-added products.

Biochemical Technologies

Biochemical processes, like anaerobic digestion, can also produce clean energy in the form of biogas which can be converted to power and heat using a gas engine. Anaerobic digestion is a series of chemical reactions during which organic material is decomposed through the metabolic pathways of naturally occurring microorganisms in an oxygen depleted environment. In addition, wastes can also yield liquid fuels, such as cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel, which can be used to replace petroleum-based fuels.

Anaerobic digestion is the natural biological process which stabilizes organic waste in the absence of air and transforms it into biogas and biofertilizer. Almost any organic material can be processed with anaerobic digestion. This includes biodegradable waste materials such as municipal solid waste, animal manure, poultry litter, food wastes, sewage and industrial wastes.

An anaerobic digestion plant produces two outputs, biogas and digestate, both can be further processed or utilized to produce secondary outputs. Biogas can be used for producing electricity and heat, as a natural gas substitute and also a transportation fuel. Digestate can be further processed to produce liquor and a fibrous material. The fiber, which can be processed into compost, is a bulky material with low levels of nutrients and can be used as a soil conditioner or a low level fertilizer.

A variety of fuels can be produced from biomass wastes including liquid fuels, such as ethanol, methanol, biodiesel, Fischer-Tropsch diesel, and gaseous fuels, such as hydrogen and methane. The resource base for biofuel production is composed of a wide variety of forestry and agricultural resources, industrial processing residues, and municipal solid and urban wood residues.

The largest potential feedstock for ethanol is lignocellulosic biomass wastes, which includes materials such as agricultural residues (corn stover, crop straws and bagasse), herbaceous crops (alfalfa, switchgrass), short rotation woody crops, forestry residues, waste paper and other wastes (municipal and industrial).

The three major steps involved in cellulosic ethanol production are pretreatment, enzymatic hydrolysis, and fermentation. Biomass is pretreated to improve the accessibility of enzymes. After pretreatment, biomass undergoes enzymatic hydrolysis for conversion of polysaccharides into monomer sugars, such as glucose and xylose. Subsequently, sugars are fermented to ethanol by the use of different microorganisms. Bioethanol production from these feedstocks could be an attractive alternative for disposal of these residues. Importantly, lignocellulosic feedstocks do not interfere with food security.

How Texans Are Making Money With Solar Power

Texans are all about doing things in a big way and that includes saving and making money. One of the newest ways that residents across Texas are padding their wallets is by adding solar arrays to their homes. Most people know that you can save money with solar but aren’t aware that you can actually make money too.

The most popular trend in home design today is adding eco-friendly features. From full Net Zero homes to adding Energy Star appliances, homeowners are looking for ways to adopt a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Carbon footprint reduction has become a serious issue for people around the world.

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One of the biggest roadblocks of adding solar to your home is the initial set up cost. Putting up solar panels and setting up a full battery and conversion system can be expensive. But, it’s worth the cost when you take part in a solar panels buyback scheme that will have the power companies paying you instead of you paying out to them.

We have put together a list of some of the ways that you can make money by adding solar to your home in Texas and around the country.

Lower Your Bills

The amount of money that you can save on your energy bills is largely dependent on the size of the solar array you choose to invest in. You can calculate how much solar power you need to run your home using an online app or talk to your provider about how many panels are right for your home.

Once you are set up you will start to see an immediate reduction in the cost to power your home. If you add a large enough array you can eliminate your energy bills altogether, putting money back in your pocket every month.

Raise Property Value

Your home is likely the largest financial investment that you will ever make. With the markets still recovering, it’s important to find ways to increase the value of your home. When you add solar to your home you can expect a 4% increase in your property value. That can be a big chunk for many homeowners and a great way to put money in the bank when it comes time to sell your home.

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Tax Break

The only things in life that you can’t avoid are death and taxes. But, wouldn’t it be nice to make a better return during tax season? When you decide to go solar you can get a great tax break at the end of the year.

Up to 25% of your initial set up cost for home solar can be written off on your annual tax return. That’s a huge break for many families and allows you to invest in your solar package with confidence.

Buyback Program

For those homeowners that end up collecting more solar energy than they need to power their homes, there are great benefits to signing up for a solar buyback program. This means that any power that you produce in excess of what you need can be sold back to be used by your local grid. This means that instead of sending money out to the energy companies, they will actually start paying you.

Everyone loves to make money, so why not join the environmental movement of switching over to solar power for your home and watch your bank account grow.

Everything You Should Know About Reducing Your Utility Bills

Money is a scarce resource. Don’t let monthly bills break your bank while there are numerous things you can do to minimize them. From adding attic insulation to insulating outlets, and installing programmable thermostats, you’ve countless options for reducing your utility bills.  Check out the following tips for cutting down your monthly expenses affordably and more effectively. Plus, you will learn everything utility bills.

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Incorporate Attic Insulation

Most of the energy people use at their homes goes toward heating or cooling. Research shows that most of this heat escapes to the attic. Most homes lack enough insulation up there to prevent heat from getting out.

Fiberglass insulation is extremely cheap and easy to install. In fact, you can quickly install them on your own. By effectively insulating your home, you could actually save up to 20 percent on your heating, as well as, cooling costs.

But if you can’t install attic insulation yourself, you can always get help online. There are numerous DIY tutorials that can help you through the process.

Install Programmable Thermostats

By installing a programmable thermostat, you’ll be able to save up to 10 percent on your utility bills. Set your unit’s temperature to drop during winter months and raise them during the summer months when you aren’t home. You can then program the unit to return to more comfortable temperatures right before you get home.

This will go a long way in reducing your energy bills and saving you substantial amounts of money. So, what are you still waiting for? Act fast! For more information, visit http://regionalenergy.ca. 

Insulate Outlets

Did you know that outlets and light switches can be a major source of air leaks? To prevent this, consider insulating them, particularly if they’re positioned on an outside wall. There are numerous types of specialized seals and insulation materials to choose from. And they’re specifically designed for outlets, as well as, switch plates, so you don’t need to worry about fire risks.

Upgrade to Low-Flow Showerheads

Older showerhead models generally put out 5 gallons of water per minute. On the other hand, low-flow showerheads put out a mere 1.5 gallons per minute and still allow you to enjoy forceful showers.

Even more, they’re easy to install. If you want something more efficient and affordable, then go for a low-flow showerhead.  It will help conserve water and save substantial amounts of water every day.

Insulate Water Heaters

Did you know that insulating an older water heater could help you save up to 9 percent on water heating costs? Well, now you know. Insulating hot water heater jackets can prevent standby heat losses by 25 to 45 percent, allowing you to heat your water easily and more efficiently. 

Why you should install a Smart HVAC Based System

The HVAC system accounts for more than half of the energy consumed in your home. That’s why a fault system is likely to increase the overall energy consumption in homes. However, with proper maintenance, you can lower these energy bills and still have comfort in your home. So, if you are planning to install an HVAC system in your home, keep reading. Among other things, you will learn about the benefits associated with installing smart based HVAC systems in your home.

Lowers Electricity Bills

Energy bills can be annoying, especially when they skyrocket. Even more, the global energy sector is strained. That’s why energy costs keep on increasing. But does this mean letting nature take its course? No. You can do something to lower these bills. In particular, switching to a smart HVAC system can be your answer as far as reducing the energy bills in your home is concerned.

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According to the stats, installing smart system in your home can save you up to 20 percent in terms of energy bills. Plus, they are more efficient and reliable. They utilize smart technology that heavily uses sensors to cool or heat your interiors. Even more, these systems are great at lowering your overall carbon footprint since they are environment friendly.

Superior Temperature Variability

One of the biggest pluses of these smart HVAC systems is superior temperature variability. With a smart system, you have an HVAC that will give you the power to control tempt variability according to your needs. This means that users can cool and heat specific rooms effectively without moving from space top space. This saves time and gives you an easy time as you relax or go about your activities.

Clean Air

Another good thing about smart systems is that they give you access to smarter air. Remember, the quality of air is important when it comes to your health. And that’s where smart HVAC systems come in. With these systems, you have a solution that will reduce stuffiness as well as drafts. So, if these are the things that you are looking in an HVAC system, then go the smart way.

You Can Access Then Remotely

Smart technology gives users access to their systems from remote settings. This means that even if you are at work, you can still monitor the functioning of your system. Thus, it’s possible to set the temperature of your room from your workplace before reaching home. This not only reduces energy costs but also improves the overall efficiency.

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Why Utility Bills Keep On Increasing

The dreaded energy bill is coming. It can be annoying. If you are unlucky, it will deflate your bank account. Of course, you can try several measures to control the energy budget. However, things may not work out, especially if you don’t pay close attention to your HVAC system. According to research, the HVAC is responsible for almost half of the energy costs in homes. Thus, if you need to bring these bills down, work on your HVAC system. It’s one of the best starting points. So, if you have been wondering why your monthly bills are steadily increasing, sit back. Here are the top reasons why your energy bills are not going down any time soon.

Age, Maintenance

Age has a big say when it comes to the performance of your HVAC system. An old system tends to be less efficient. This means that it will work more to cool or heat any space. So, if your system has served you for years, expect the bills to continue going up. Similarly, a poorly maintained HVAC system tends to be inefficient. This means that it will consume more energy and pump up energy costs. However, don’t let these factors continue draining your money.

You can install a new HVAC system and drive the bills down. If you have the cash, consider going for a smart system. It’s efficient, convenient, and highly reliable. Also, consider maintaining your system on a regular basis. Consult with your heating and cooling contractor to schedule maintenance. According to experts, it’s advisable to do it twice per year.

Operating Costs

The operating costs at a particular time can influence the amount you pay towards offsetting your energy bills. For instance, systems that were developed in the 1990s are less efficient than their modern counterparts. This can be attributed to the emergence of technological advancement. For instance, sensors have made these systems more smart and efficient. Thus, they consume less amount of energy, which plays a key role in bringing the energy bills down. Customers are advised to install the newest HVAC systems to bring the energy bills down.

Features

Features also play a key role when it comes to cutting down energy costs. Modern systems come with sophisticated features that make them more efficient. For instance, the efficiency standards of modern equipment are on an upward trajectory. This means that modern systems have superior performance and efficiency than their older counterparts.

Standard such as SEER, HSPF, as well as Annual Fuel Utilization is important in determining the efficiency of any system.  Also, energy features like variable-speed fans, heat exchange technology, as well as variable speed based compressors can make your system more efficient.

The Locality’s Climate

Your local climate can also increase or lower the amount of money you pay towards energy bills. For instance, if you are located in an extremely cold setting, you will need more energy to heat the interiors. Consequently, your energy bills will be higher. On the other hand, those located in extremely hotter environments will spend more money to cool the interiors.

Additional Factors

Also, the following additional factors play a key role when it comes to the energy bills of any home.

  • The thermostat and other control settings in your system
  • How the unit was installed
  • Maintenance levels of your system
  • The level of insulation in any home
  • Windows, doors, and other openings in your home.

The Bottom-Line

Are you looking for quick ways to reduce your energy bills? Well, there are actually several measures you can undertake to minimize your electricity costs. According to http://www.regionalenergy.ca/alberta-natural-gas-company/, these measures include insulating outlets and switches, installing a programmable thermostat, insulating your water heater, and installing a low-flow showerhead. Doing this will go a long way in reducing your utility bills and saving you junks of money.

Benefits of Sourcing Energy Locally

Numerous businesses nowadays maintain a supply chain globally. However, it is important to note that sourcing locally has numerous benefits to the company you are sourcing from as well as to you as a customer. Especially when it comes to sourcing energy, it is extremely beneficial for an individual to source energy locally. 

There was a time when the consumers of energy had no choice but to use the power supplied to their homes by the government and the generalized power suppliers. The disadvantage many individuals faced due to this was the often shortage of energy and the fluctuating voltage that was a result of long power cables and ill-maintained power lines.

However, with the power supply being localized, it is now much more efficient to receive power from a company you can trust locally and can benefit from investing in the company as well. 

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When power is sourced from a local company, you are investing in a business that operates in your area. This means that you are helping improve the local economy and increasing its economic value as well. This also means that if there is more than one electrical company providing energy to your area, you will be promoting healthy competition between the energy companies and encouraging those companies to offer you competitive pricing.

We often fail to realize how much utilities can take away from our monthly income, and by being offered a good price for electricity which you consume in your household, you are, in turn, improving your monthly budget

Another great benefit of sourcing energy locally is the fact that they might offer you to buy bulk energy from them or allow you to sign a contract according to the requirements of your household. Private companies often have various packages that they offer their clients, and these packages can include various amounts of electricity units that are based upon the history of consumption of the clients. These packages are often offered at a lower price than general power usage, and therefore if an individual is buying a package, they can benefit from it greatly.

However, it is important to know and predict your consumption requirements accurately as any extra power that you use apart from the package can cost you extra, or any units that go unused in your package might not be redeemable in the next cycle. 

In conclusion, sourcing energy locally can be beneficial for not only yourself but the energy provider as well as the community you reside in. It is also a good idea to conduct adequate research before investing or drawing up contracts with any company as after a contract has been made; you will become bound to the contract. Knowing your requirements and knowing that you can trust the company you are buying from are two extremely important factors. 

4 Solar Energy Trends in the Philippines

The solar energy market in the Philippines has been growing exponentially since 2018. In fact, the Philippines Board of Investments (BOI) had approved eight solar projects that year. The Solar Philippines Commercial Rooftop Projects Inc. oversaw all eight that were equivalent to $1.65 billion.

Even though, as of today, the solar power industry is still on the nascent stage, it is expected to gain massive support from the government moving forward.

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Solar panels are becoming more accessible, for homeowners and businesses

The Philippines has hot and humid weather, which means households always require air conditioning. Thanks to the introduction of solar air conditioning, many homeowners can reduce their utility bills.

Some of the factors that will drive growth in the solar energy sector are the growing population, as well as the Philippines’ rapid economic development. When the Philippines succeeds in replacing diesel generators in most islands with solar energy, there will be a significant reduction in power outages.

Solar energy and other renewable energy sources will guarantee grid stability throughout the Philippines. Here are the four main trends in solar energy in the Philippines.

1. Accessibility for Private Households

A couple of years back, utility-scale solar was difficult to achieve due to the market’s regulatory changes. The price competition was too high, and only the largest capitalized developers could compete.

However, this is set to change because the new generation of renewable energy can now be distributed to private households. This ensures that each household can install a solar-powered air conditioner to reduce utility costs.

It is a huge win for homeowners and business people because they can now have more control over their energy consumption. Photovoltaic panels can be installed on the roofs of homes, apartment buildings, as well as business establishments.

This means that business owners can generate as much energy as they desire and even sell residual to energy supplies near them.

2. Significant Growth of Solar PV

The production cost of solar energy is expected to fall significantly between 2020 and 2025. As a result, solar will take first place for the cheapest source of energy in the Philippines.

The growth of photovoltaic systems in the Philippines will provide an immediate and more permanent solution to the country’s energy needs. The market is already registering a significant fall in the costs of photovoltaic cells.

Many households are jumping on this bandwagon and taking advantage of the affordability of solar power equipment. As a household in the Philippines, you greatly benefit from purchasing a solar air conditioner.

Residents are also adopting small-scale solar photovoltaic systems because the declined cost of PV technology makes financial sense.

3. Increased Grid Parity

The Philippines has a huge population, and without alternative sources of energy, the grid easily gets unstable. However, due to the introduction of renewable sources of energy like solar and wind, we can see a future where grid parity is guaranteed.

Since more private households can now depend on solar energy for their electricity needs, grid parity has steadily increased. Most households today use solar air conditioner to maintain a comfortable indoor environment. This is a highly cost-effective solution because solar energy is steadily getting cheaper than traditional energy sources.

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Not to mention that the overall cost of electricity from the gird is decreasing as well. This can be attributed to the contribution of solar PV. Technological advancements are ensuring manufacturers can produce solar panels with higher solar PV module efficiency.

This means that you can install a solar hybrid air conditioner at home without worrying about the running cost.

4. Storage

There are plans underway to develop solar-storage microgrids in the Philippines. When this plan succeeds, solar energy will play a huge role in improving environmental health, human health, as well as people’s quality of life.

This will be a huge step towards achieving Philippine’s national climate change, greenhouse gas emissions reduction and renewable energy goals. Solar energy production allows the Philippines to reduce its reliance on fuel. The transition to low-carbon energy sources like wind and solar opens up economic development opportunities from a climate perspective.

It is essential to pair solar systems with solar-storage because this boosts the positive impact solar energy has on the economy.

During spring and summer months, the Philippines experiences great solar generation. However, without a storage solution for solar energy, this energy cannot be saved for later. Storage prices are still very high, not only in Asia as a whole but the world over. There are already hybrid solar storage projects in place, but they’re nothing close to bulk solar storage.

One thing is certain though, the prices keep coming down, and more and more solar farms are springing up. Soon enough, the Philippines will be in a position to store solar energy and eliminate over-reliance on fuels.

Conclusion

Harnessing solar energy has ensured that many households in the Philippines can make it through hot and humid days. Solar air conditioners allow homeowners to achieve a comfortable indoor environment without digging too deep into their pockets. These latest trends show that things are only getting better. We can see a future where solar energy is the main source of electricity in the Philippines.

Biomass Gasification Process

Biomass gasification involves burning of biomass in a limited supply of air to give a combustible gas consisting of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, methane, water, nitrogen, along with contaminants like small char particles, ash and tars. The gas is cleaned to make it suitable for use in boilers, engines and turbines to produce heat and power (CHP).

Biomass gasification provides a means of deriving more diverse forms of energy from the thermochemical conversion of biomass than conventional combustion. The basic gasification process involves devolatization, combustion and reduction.

biomass-gasification

During devolatization, methane and other hydrocarbons are produced from the biomass by the action of heat which leaves a reactive char.

During combustion, the volatiles and char are partially burned in air or oxygen to generate heat and carbon dioxide. In the reduction phase, carbon dioxide absorbs heat and reacts with the remaining char to produce carbon monoxide (producer gas). The presence of water vapour in a gasifier results in the production of hydrogen as a secondary fuel component.

There are two main types of gasifier that can be used to carry out this conversion, fixed bed gasifiers and fluidized bed gasifiers. The conversion of biomass into a combustible gas involves a two-stage process. The first, which is called pyrolysis, takes place below 600°C, when volatile components contained within the biomass are released. These may include organic compounds, hydrogen, carbon monoxide, tars and water vapour.

Pyrolysis leaves a solid residue called char. In the second stage of the gasification process, this char is reacted with steam or burnt in a restricted quantity of air or oxygen to produce further combustible gas. Depending on the precise design of gasifier chosen, the product gas may have a heating value of 6 – 19 MJ/Nm3.

Layout of a Typical Biomass Gasification Plant

The products of gasification are a mixture of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, hydrogen and various hydrocarbons, which can then be used directly in gas turbines, and boilers, or used as precursors for synthesising a wide range of other chemicals.

In addition there are a number of methods that can be used to produce higher quality product gases, including indirect heating, oxygen blowing, and pressurisation. After appropriate treatment, the resulting gases can be burned directly for cooking or heat supply, or used in secondary conversion devices, such as internal combustion engines or gas turbines, for producing electricity or shaft power (where it also has the potential for CHP applications).

 

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Insights into MSW-to-Energy

You know the saying: One person’s trash is another’s treasure. When it comes to recovering energy from municipal solid waste — commonly called garbage or trash— that treasure can be especially useful. Instead of taking up space in a landfill, we can process our trash to produce energy to power our homes, businesses and public buildings.

In 2015, the United States got about 14 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity from burning municipal solid waste, or MSW. Seventy-one waste-to-energy plants and four additional power plants burned around 29 million tons of MSW in the U.S. that year. However, just 13 percent of the country’s waste becomes energy. Around 35 percent is recycled or composted, and the rest ends up in landfills.

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Recovering Energy Through Incineration

The predominant technology for MSW-to-energy plants is incineration, which involves burning the trash at high temperatures. Similarly to how some facilities use coal or natural gas as fuel sources, power plants can also burn MSW as fuel to heat water, which creates steam, turns a turbine and produces electricity.

Several methods and technologies can play a role in burning trash to create electricity. The most common type of incineration plant is what’s called a mass-burn facility. These units burn the trash in one large chamber. The facility might sort the MSW before sending it to the combustion chamber to remove non-combustible materials and recyclables.

These mass-burn systems use excess air to facilitate mixing, and ensure air gets to all the waste. Many of these units also burn the fuel on a sloped, moving grate to mix the waste even further. These steps are vital because solid waste is inconsistent, and its content varies. Some facilities also shred the MSW before moving it to the combustion chamber.

Gasification Plants

Another method for converting trash into electricity is gasification. This type of waste-to-energy plant doesn’t burn MSW directly, but instead uses it as feedstock for reactions that produce a fuel gas known as synthesis gas, or syngas. This gas typically contains carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, hydrogen and water vapor.

Approaches to gasification vary, but typically include high temperatures, high-pressure environments, very little oxygen and shredding MSW before the process begins. Common gasification methods include:

  • Pyrolysis, which involves little to no oxygen, partial pressure and temperatures between approximately 600 and 800 degrees Celsius.
  • Air-fed systems, which use air instead of pure oxygen and temperatures between 800 and 1,800 degrees Celsius.
  • Plasma or plasma arc gasification, which uses plasma torches to increase temperatures to 2,000 to 2,800 degrees Celsius.

Syngas can be burned to create electricity, but it can also be a component in the production of transportation fuels, fertilizers and chemicals. Proponents of gasification report that it is a more efficient waste-to-energy method than incineration, and can produce around 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity from one ton of MSW. Incineration, on average, produces 550 kilowatt-hours.

Challenges of MSW-to-Energy

Turning trash into energy seems like an ideal solution. We have a lot of trash to deal with, and we need to produce energy. MSW-to-energy plants solve both of those problems. However, a relatively small amount of waste becomes energy, especially in the U.S.

Typical layout of MSW-to-Energy Plant

This lack may be due largely to the upfront costs of building a waste-to-energy plant. It is much cheaper in the short term to send trash straight to a landfill. Some people believe these energy production processes are just too complicated and expensive. Gasification, especially, has a reputation for being too complex.

Environmental concerns also play a role, since burning waste can release greenhouse gases. Although modern technologies can make burning waste a cleaner process, its proponents still complain it is too dirty.

Despite these challenges, as trash piles up and we continue to look for new sources of energy, waste-to-energy plants may begin to play a more integral role in our energy production and waste management processes. If we handle it responsibly and efficiently, it could become a very viable solution to several of the issues our society faces.

What is a Power Inverter and Why do I Need One?

Are you the owner of an RV, SUV, car, boat or other vehicle with enough free space like Honda BR-V, and want to be able to watch TV, cook, or power a laptop onboard? If yes, you’ll be needing a power inverter. But what are they, and what do they do? Read on to find out why you’ll need one to power your gadgets on the road…

power-inverter-car

What is a Power Inverter?

Basically, they are devices that turn your vehicle battery’s direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC) – the kind of electricity you have in outlets in your house, that are connected to the energy grid.

Having a power converter means you can plug in your appliances and devices, and power them like you would through an electricity outlet in a house.

In your car, you can get USB adaptors for your cigarette lighter so that you can charge your phone or plug in your satnav. But for larger gadgets and electronics with proper plugs, you’ll need an inverter.

Working of a Power Inverter

Like we said, they convert currents to a type safe for use in vehicles. Your vehicle’s battery voltage provides a current that powers its internal workings – you’ll need to know which voltage your vehicle’s battery uses to choose the correct inverter.

The current supplied by a battery sticks on one circuit, in one direction – where the name ‘direct current’ comes from.

However, to power your gadgets, you’ll need alternating current, as those electronics need more power to function than the DC can provide. They’re made to function with the high-voltage AC current supplied in homes.

Power inverters increase the DC voltage, change it to AC, then use it to power your devices. They amp up your battery’s voltage so you can play video games and use a kettle in your RV. Cool, huh?

Size Selection

These babies come in a variety of sizes – most commonly 1000, 3000 or 5000 watts.

It’s recommended that a 3000 watt inverter is the happy medium between inverter sizes and best choice to get. They’re not too small like the 1000, or too powerful and overcharged like the 5000. If you need a little extra boost, there are 3500 watt capacities available.

Find the best 3000 watt inverter for your vehicle by checking out the useful comparison guide by Solar Know How.

Modified or Pure Sine Wave Inverter?

Besides the sizing, there are two main types of inverter – the modified sine wave, and the pure sine wave.

So, what’s the difference, and which one will you need?

  • Modified Sine Wave: These tend to be cheaper, and less powerful. However, they’re good for most everyday electronics you will want to use, just not very large ones.
  • Pure Sine Wave: These are compatible with pretty much all electronics, gadgets, and appliances, and produce a powerful current most like the one supplied by the electric grid. These are the most common choice, because they’re more likely to be compatible with anything you need to plug in.

Power inverters are useful for charging on the road without having to cart around adaptors and large plugs

Other Features and Tips

  • Power inverters are especially useful if you are setting up a solar power system – they convert energy from the sun into electricity you can use to power your gadgets within your vehicle. This is renewable energy that isn’t a drain on your best car battery.
  • Power inverters aren’t just for vehicles – if you have a small cottage or outhouse, they’re very useful for setting up a small power source there.
  • Many (but not all) power inverters come with USB outlets, useful for charging on the road without having to cart around adaptors and large plugs. For ease of use, get one compatible with USB.
  • The best inverters have digital screens which show you how much energy has been consumed and information about battery voltage. It’s useful to know these things at a glance, so consider getting one that has a screen.
  • Modern inverters, such as a solar inverter, have been made to be extra-quiet, so you won’t be woken up by a noisy machine while trying to simultaneously get some sleep and charge your phone in your RV.

Bagasse-Based Cogeneration in Pakistan: Challenges and Opportunities

Considering the fact that Pakistan is among the world’s top-10 sugarcane producers, the potential of generating electricity from bagasse is huge.  Almost all the sugar mills in Pakistan have in-house plants for cogeneration but they are inefficient in the consumption of bagasse. If instead, high pressure boilers are installed then the production capacity can be significantly improved with more efficient utilization of bagasse.

bagasse-pakistan

However, due to several reasons; mostly due to financing issues, the sugar mill owners were not able to set up these plants. Only recently, after financial incentives have been offered and a tariff rate agreed upon between the government and mill owners, are these projects moving ahead.

The sugar mill owners are more than willing to supply excess electricity generated form the in-house power plants to the national grid but were not able to before, because they couldn’t reach an agreement with the government over tariff. The demand for higher tariff was justified because of large investments in setting up new boilers. It would also have saved precious foreign exchange which is spent on imported oil.

By estimating the CDM potential of cogeneration (or CHP) projects based on biofuels, getting financing for these projects would be easier. Renewable energy projects can be developed through Carbon Development Mechanism or any other carbon credit scheme for additional revenue.

Since bagasse is a clean fuel which emits very little carbon emissions it can be financed through Carbon Development Mechanism. One of the reasons high cogeneration power plants are difficult to implement is because of the high amount of costs associated. The payback period for the power plants is unknown which makes the investors reluctant to invest in the high cogeneration project. CDM financing can help improve the rate of return of the project.

Bagasse power plants generate Carbon Emission Reductions in 2 ways; one by replacing electricity produced from fossil fuels.  Secondly if not used as a fuel, it would be otherwise disposed off in an unsafe manner and the methane emissions present in biomass would pollute the environment far more than CO2 does.

Currently there are around 83 sugar mills in Pakistan producing about 3.5 million metric tons of sugar per annum with total crushing capacity 597900 TCD, which can produce approximately 3000 MW during crop season Although it may seem far-fetched at the moment, if the government starts to give more attention to  sugar industry biomass rather than coal, Pakistan can fulfill its energy needs without negative repercussions or damage to the environment.

However some sugar mills are opting to use coal as a secondary fuel since the crushing period of sugarcane lasts only 4 months in Pakistan. The plants would be using coal as the main fuel during the non-crushing season. The CDM effect is reduced with the use of coal. If a high cogeneration plant is using even 80% bagasse and 20% of coal then the CERs are almost nullified. If more than 20% coal is used then the CDM potential is completely lost because the emissions are increased. However some sugar mills are not moving ahead with coal as a secondary fuel because separate tariff rates have to be obtained for electricity generation if coal is being used in the mix which is not easily obtained.

Pakistan has huge untapped potential for bagasse-based power generation

One of the incentives being offered by the State Bank of Pakistan is that if a project qualifies as a renewable project it is eligible to get loan at 6% instead of 12%. However ones drawback is that, in order to qualify as a renewable project, CDM registration of a project is not taken into account.

Although Pakistan is on the right track by setting up high cogeneration power plants, the use of coal as a secondary fuel remains debatable.  The issue that remains to be addressed is that with such huge amounts of investment on these plants, how to use these plants efficiently during non-crushing period when bagasse is not available. It seems almost counter-productive to use coal on plants which are supposed to be based on biofuels.

Conclusion

With the demand for energy in Pakistan growing, the country is finally exploring alternatives to expand its power production. Pakistan has to rely largely on fossils for their energy needs since electricity generation from biomass energy sources is considered to be an expensive option despite abundance of natural resources. However by focusing on growing its alternate energy options such as bagasse-based cogeneration, the country will not only mitigate climate change but also tap the unharnessed energy potential of sugar industry biomass.