How Biofuel is Impacting Our World in 2023

The world is changing. We’ve come a long way from the days when the only option for fuel was the fossil-fueled version. However, more strides can be made. In 2021, fossil fuels still accounted for 79% of U.S. energy consumption. While it’s hard to leave behind our dependence on it, fossil fuels must eventually go, and renewable energy sources must take their place.

In 2021, renewable energy contributed only 12% to the total U.S. energy consumption. Of course, that rate is gradually growing upward. Now, you can find renewable fuels and even hybrid engines that combine both traditional petroleum-based fuels and biofuels. What are these biofuels?

how biofuels is impacting the world

The best way to explain them is by looking at how they work and what they do for our planet’s future. Biofuel is one of the renewable energy sources that contributed to the U.S. energy consumption in 2021. Of all the other renewable sources, biofuel was the joint-second most popular one, alongside hydroelectric energy. As time progresses, we’ll see this energy source contributing more to our energy sector and the environment.

Having said all that, here are a few ways biofuel is impacting our world today and will continue impacting it in 2023 and beyond.

Producing Biofuels is Better for the Environment

Biofuels are a renewable, clean-burning source of energy that can be used to replace fossil fuels. When you burn biofuel, you aren’t releasing greenhouse gasses into the air. In fact, when considering the life-cycle carbon footprint of biofuels—from cultivation through production and use—they actually emit fewer greenhouse gasses than petroleum or other fossil fuels.

Diesel engines and diesel are used in trucks and heavy equipment like tractors and bulldozers, buses, trains, and ships. Biofuel can be used as an alternative fuel instead of diesel fuel in these vehicles without requiring any modifications to them because it is chemically compatible with petroleum diesel.

Many colleges and universities across the world are heavily invested in research involving biofuels. Even courses are specifically designed to involve their students in either generic or extensive ways. Studying Strayer University’s notebooks will help you realize just that. Students use these notebooks to gain a better understanding of their biology and chemistry lessons. They also use them for research down the line. A quick look at these notebooks will reveal just how invested these universities are in biofuel and other green energy alternatives.

Biofuel is Less Expensive Than Other Petroleum Alternatives

When it comes to cost, biofuels have a distinct advantage over petroleum alternatives. On top of these high prices, consumers are also paying high taxes on their fuel purchases due to their carbon emissions being harmful to the environment and society at large.

Coal is another fossil fuel whose prices fluctuate depending on how much demand there is for it from utilities across North America. Coal-produced energy is also costly. Thus, biofuel needs to be embraced by the masses if they want to limit their spending on fossil fuels.

Biofuel Consumption Increases the Gross Domestic Product

The more fuel you use, the more money you spend on that fuel. When you buy biofuel, your purchase creates jobs in areas like agriculture, transportation, and distribution. This creates a ripple effect throughout your local economy as well as in other sectors around the world.

In addition to this direct benefit, governments also benefit from rising GDPs because they can collect taxes on these sales. Consumers will also have more disposable income to spend on goods and services outside of their normal budgets, increasing economic activity worldwide.

Biofuel Can be Better for Your Engine’s Lifespan

In addition to being better for the environment, biofuel can also be better for your engine’s lifespan. The reason is that the different chemicals in biofuels react differently with your engine. As a result, you may need a different blend of biofuel than your car is used to running on. This means that you should consult with an auto mechanic before using any kind of alternative fuel in your vehicle.

Biofuels Are More Efficient Than Gasoline and Diesel

Biofuels are more efficient than petroleum fuels. They have a higher energy density than conventional gasoline and diesel, which means you can get more power out of a smaller amount of fuel. This is especially important for cars that rely on internal combustion engines (ICE), which are the standard vehicle in many parts of the world.

impact of biofuels on air quality

Biofuels are increasingly being used to power vehicles around the world

The majority of ICEs cannot burn biofuel blends directly. They require some kind of modification first. However, they can use it by converting existing gasoline or diesel engines with special hardware.

Biofuels Improve Air Quality in Urban Areas

Biofuels reduce the amount of particulate matter (PM), carbon monoxide (CO), and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in urban areas. PM is a collection of solid particles that get into the air and cause health problems like lung cancer and asthma. CO causes smog that can irritate your eyes and make it hard to breathe normally. NOx gasses contribute to the formation of ozone, another pollutant that is harmful to human health.

The concentration of all these gasses and particles in biofuel emissions is low. Thus, vehicles running on biofuel do not heavily harm the air quality.

Bottom Line

Biofuel is the future of clean energy. The sooner we understand this fact and accept biofuel, the better it is for us and this planet.

Biomass Energy in Thailand

Thailand’s annual energy consumption has risen sharply during the past decade and will continue its upward trend in the years to come. While energy demand has risen sharply, domestic sources of supply are limited, thus forcing a significant reliance on imports.

Thailand_paddy

To face this increasing demand, Thailand needs to produce more energy from its own renewable resources, particularly biomass wastes derived from agro-industry, such as bagasse, rice husk, wood chips, livestock and municipal wastes.

In 2005, total installed power capacity in Thailand was 26,430 MW. Renewable energy accounted for about 2 percent of the total installed capacity. In 2007, Thailand had about 777 MW of electricity from renewable energy that was sold to the grid.

Biomass Potential in Thailand

Several studies have projected that biomass wastes can cover up to 15 % of the energy demand in Thailand. These estimations are primarily made from biomass waste from the extraction part of agricultural activities, and for large scale agricultural processing of crops etc. – as for instance saw and palm oil mills – and do not include biomass wastes from SMEs in Thailand. Thus, the energy potential of biomass waste can be much larger if these resources are included. The major biomass resources in Thailand include the following:

  • Woody biomass residues from forest plantations
  • Agricultural residues (rice husk, bagasse, corn cobs, etc.)
  • Wood residues from wood and furniture industries    (bark, sawdust, etc.)
  • Biomass for ethanol production (cassava, sugar cane, etc.)
  • Biomass for biodiesel production (palm oil, jatropha oil, etc.)
  • Industrial wastewater from agro-industry
  • Livestock manure
  • Municipal solid wastes and sewage

Thailand’s vast biomass potential has been partially exploited through the use of traditional as well as more advanced conversion technologies for biogas, power generation, and biofuels. Rice, sugar, palm oil, and wood-related industries are the major potential biomass energy sources in Thailand. The country has a fairly large biomass resource base of about 60 million tons generated each year that could be utilized for energy purposes, such as rice, sugarcane, rubber sheets, palm oil and cassava.

Biomass has been a primary source of energy for many years, used for domestic heating and industrial cogeneration. For example, paddy husks are burned to produce steam for turbine operation in rice mills; bagasse and palm residues are used to produce steam and electricity for on-site manufacturing process; and rubber wood chips are burned to produce hot air for rubber wood seasoning.

In addition to biomass residues, wastewater containing organic matters from livestock farms and industries has increasingly been used as a potential source of biomass energy. Thailand’s primary biogas sources are pig farms and residues from food processing. The production potential of biogas from industrial wastewater from palm oil industries, tapioca starch industries, food processing industries, and slaughter industries is also significant. The energy-recovery and environmental benefits that the KWTE waste to energy project has already delivered is attracting keen interest from a wide range of food processing industries around the world.

Renewable Energy from Food Residuals

Food residuals are an untapped renewable energy source that mostly ends up rotting in landfills, thereby releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Food residuals are difficult to treat or recycle since it contains high levels of sodium salt and moisture, and is mixed with other waste during collection. Major generators of food wastes include hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, residential blocks, cafeterias, airline caterers, food processing industries, etc.

food-waste

According to EPA, about 63.1 million tons of food waste was thrown away into landfills or incinerators the United States in 2018. As far as United Kingdom is concerned, households threw away 6.6 million tons of food each year. These statistics are an indication of tremendous amount of food waste generated all over the world.

The proportion of food residuals in municipal waste stream is gradually increasing and hence a proper food waste management strategy needs to be devised to ensure its eco-friendly and sustainable disposal. Currently, only about 3 percent of food waste is recycled throughout U.S., mainly through composting. Composting provides an alternative to landfill disposal of food waste, however it requires large areas of land, produces volatile organic compounds and consumes energy. Consequently, there is an urgent need to explore better recycling alternatives.

Anaerobic digestion has been successfully used in several European and Asian countries to stabilize food wastes, and to provide beneficial end-products. Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Germany and England have led the way in developing new advanced biogas technologies and setting up new projects for conversion of food waste into energy.

Anaerobic Digestion of Food Waste

Anaerobic digestion is the most important method for the treatment of organic waste, such as food residuals, because of its techno-economic viability and environmental sustainability. Anaerobic digestion generates renewable energy from food waste  in the form of biogas and preserves the nutrients which are recycled back to the agricultural land in the form of slurry or solid fertilizer.

The relevance of biogas technology lies in the fact that it makes the best possible use of various organic wastes as a renewable source of clean energy. A biogas plant is a decentralized energy system, which can lead to self-sufficiency in heat and power needs, and at the same time reduces environmental pollution. Thus, anaerobic digestion of food waste can lead to climate change mitigation, economic benefits and landfill diversion opportunities.

Of the different types of organic wastes available, food waste holds the highest potential in terms of economic exploitation as it contains high amount of carbon and can be efficiently converted into biogas and organic fertilizer. Food waste can either be used as a single substrate in a biogas plant, or can be co-digested with organic wastes like cow manure, poultry litter, sewage, crop residues, slaughterhouse wastes, etc.

Renewable Energy from Food Residuals

The feedstock for the food waste-to-energy plant includes leftover food, vegetable refuse, stale cooked and uncooked food, meat, teabags, napkins, extracted tea powder, milk products, etc. Raw waste is shredded to reduce to its particle size to less than 12 mm. The primary aim of shredding is to produce a uniform feed and reduce plant “down-time” due to pipe blockages by large food particles. It also improves mechanical action and digestibility and enables easy removal of any plastic bags or cling-film from waste.

Fresh waste and re-circulated digestate (or digested food waste) are mixed in a mixing tank. The digestate is added to adjust the solids content of the incoming waste stream from 20 to 25 percent (in the incoming waste) to the desired solids content of the waste stream entering the digestion system (10 to 12 percent total solids). The homogenized waste stream is pumped into the feeding tank, from which the anaerobic digestion system is continuously fed. Feeding tank also acts as a pre-digester and subjected to heat at 55º to 60º C to eliminate pathogens and to facilitate the growth of thermophilic microbes for faster degradation of waste.

From the predigestor tank, the slurry enters the main digester where it undergoes anaerobic degradation by a consortium of Archaebacteria belonging to Methanococcus group. The anaerobic digester is a CSTR reactor having average retention time of 15 to 20 days. The digester is operated in the mesophilic temperature range (33º to 38°C), with heating carried out within the digester. Food waste is highly biodegradable and has much higher volatile solids destruction rate (86 to 90 percent) than biosolids or livestock manure. As per conservative estimates, each ton of food waste produces 150 to 200 m3 of biogas, depending on reactor design, process conditions, waste composition, etc.

Biogas contains significant amount of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas that needs to be stripped off due to its corrosive nature. The removal of H2S takes place in a biological desulphurization unit in which a limited quantity of air is added to biogas in the presence of specialized aerobic bacteria that oxidizes H2S into elemental sulfur. The biogas produced as a result of anaerobic digestion of waste is sent to a gas holder for temporary storage. Biogas is eventually used in a combined heat and power (CHP) unit for its conversion into thermal and electrical energy in a co­generation power station of suitable capacity. The exhaust gases from the CHP unit are used for meeting process heat requirements.

The digested substrate leaving the reactor is rich in nutrients like nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus which are beneficial for plants as well as soil. The digested slurry is dewatered in a series of screw presses to remove the moisture from slurry. Solar drying and additives are used to enhance the market value and handling characteristics of the fertilizer.

Diverting Food from Landfills

Food residuals are one of the single largest constituents of municipal solid waste stream. Diversion of food waste from landfills can provide significant contribution towards climate change mitigation, apart from generating revenues and creating employment opportunities. Rising energy prices and increasing environmental pollution makes it more important to harness renewable energy from food scraps and create a sustainable food supply chain.

Anaerobic digestion technology is widely available worldwide and successful projects are already in place in several European as well as Asian countries that makes it imperative on waste generators and environmental agencies to root for a sustainable food waste management system.

Your Choices for Alternative Energy

While using alternative sources of energy is a right way for you to save money on your heating and cooling bills, it also allows you to contribute in vital ways to both the environment and the economy.  Renewable energy sources are renewable, environmentally sustainable sources that do not create any by-products that are released into the atmosphere like coal and fossil fuels do.

Burning coal to produce electricity releases particulates and substances such as mercury, arsenic, sulfur and carbon monoxide into the air, all of which can cause health problems in humans.

Other by-products from burning coal are acid rain, sludge run-off and heated water that is released back into the rivers and lakes nearby the coal-fired plants.  While efforts are being made to create “clean coal,” businesses have been reluctant to use the technology due to the high costs associated with changing their plants.

If you are considering taking the plunge and switching to a renewable energy source to save money on your electric and heating bills or to help the environment, you have a lot of decisions to make. The first decision you need to make is which energy source to use in your home or business.  Do you want to switch to solar energy, wind power, biomass energy or geothermal energy?

Emissions from homes using heating oil, vehicles, and electricity produced from fossil fuels also pollute the air and contribute to the number of greenhouse gases that are in the atmosphere and depleting the ozone layer.  Carbon dioxide is one of the gases that is released into the air by the burning of fossil fuels to create energy and in the use of motor vehicles.  Neither coal nor fossil fuels are sources of renewable energy.

Replacing those energy sources with solar, biomass, geothermal or wind-powered generators will allow homes and businesses to have an adequate source of energy always at hand.  While converting to these systems can sometimes be expensive, the costs are quickly coming down, and they pay for themselves in just a few short years because they supply energy that is virtually free.  In some cases, the excess energy they create can be bought from the business or the homeowner.

While there are more than these three alternative energy options, these are the easiest to implement on an individual basis.  Other sources of alternative energy, for instance, nuclear power, hydroelectric power, and natural gas require a primary power source for the heat so it can be fed to your home or business.  Solar, wind, biomass and geothermal energy can all have power sources in your home or business to supply your needs.

1. Solar Energy

Solar power is probably the most widely used source of these options.  While it can be expensive to convert your home or business over to solar energy, or to an alternative energy source for that matter, it is probably the most natural source to turn over to.

You can use the sun’s energy to power your home or business and heat water.  It can be used to passively heat or light up your rooms as well just by opening up your shades.

2. Wind Power

You need your wind turbine to power your home or office, but wind energy has been used for centuries to pump water or for commercial purposes, like grinding grain into flour.  While many countries have wind farms to produce energy on a full-scale basis, you can have your wind turbine at home or at your business to provide electricity for your purposes.

The cost of alternative energy systems has dropped sharply in recent years

3. Biomass Energy

Biomass energy has rapidly become a vital part of the global renewable energy mix and account for an ever-growing share of electric capacity added worldwide. Biomass is the material derived from plants that use sunlight to grow which include plant and animal material such as wood from forests, material left over from agricultural and forestry processes, and organic industrial, human and animal wastes.

Biomass comes from a variety of sources which include wood from natural forests and woodlands, agricultural residues, agro-industrial wastes, animal wastes, industrial wastewater, municipal sewage and municipal solid wastes.

4. Geothermal Energy

A geothermal heat pump helps cool or heat your home or office using the earth’s heat to provide the power needed to heat the liquid that is run through the system to either heat your home in the winter or cool it off in the summer.  While many people use it, it doesn’t provide electricity, so you still need an energy source for that.

Everything You Need to Know About Biomass Energy Systems

Biomass is a versatile energy source that can be used for production of heat, power, transport fuels and biomaterials, apart from making a significant contribution to climate change mitigation. Currently, biomass-driven combined heat and power, co-firing, and combustion plants provide reliable, efficient, and clean power and heat.

Feedstock for biomass energy plants can include residues from agriculture, forestry, wood processing, and food processing industries, municipal solid wastes, industrial wastes and biomass produced from degraded and marginal lands.

biomass-energy-systems

The terms biomass energy, bioenergy and biofuels cover any energy products derived from plant or animal or organic material. The increasing interest in biomass energy and biofuels has been the result of the following associated benefits:

  • Potential to reduce GHG emissions.
  • Energy security benefits.
  • Substitution for diminishing global oil supplies.
  • Potential impacts on waste management strategy.
  • Capacity to convert a wide variety of wastes into clean energy.
  • Technological advancement in thermal and biochemical processes for waste-to-energy transformation.

Biomass can play the pivotal role in production of carbon-neutral fuels of high quality as well as providing feedstock for various industries. This is a unique property of biomass compared to other renewable energies and which makes biomass a prime alternative to the use of fossil fuels. Performance of biomass-based systems for heat and power generation has been already proved in many situations on commercial as well as domestic scales.

Biomass energy systems have the potential to address many environmental issues, especially global warming and greenhouse gases emissions, and foster sustainable development among poor communities. Biomass fuel sources are readily available in rural and urban areas of all countries. Biomass-based industries can provide appreciable employment opportunities and promote biomass re-growth through sustainable land management practices.

The negative aspects of traditional biomass utilization in developing countries can be mitigated by promotion of modern biomass-to-energy technologies which provide solid, liquid and gaseous fuels as well as electricity as shown. Biomass wastes can be transformed into clean and efficient energy by biochemical as well as thermochemical technologies.

The most common technique for producing both heat and electrical energy from biomass wastes is direct combustion. Thermal efficiencies as high as 80 – 90% can be achieved by advanced gasification technology with greatly reduced atmospheric emissions. Combined heat and power (CHP) systems, ranging from small-scale technology to large grid-connected facilities, provide significantly higher efficiencies than systems that only generate electricity.

Biochemical processes, like anaerobic digestion and sanitary landfills, can also produce clean energy in the form of biogas and producer gas which can be converted to power and heat using a gas engine.

In addition, biomass wastes can also yield liquid fuels, such as cellulosic ethanol, which can be used to replace petroleum-based fuels. Cellulosic ethanol can be produced from grasses, wood chips and agricultural residues by biochemical route using heat, pressure, chemicals and enzymes to unlock the sugars in lignocellulosic biomass. Algal biomass is also emerging as a good source of energy because it can serve as natural source of oil, which conventional refineries can transform into jet fuel or diesel fuel.

Things You Should Know About Biofuels

Biofuels refers to liquid or gaseous fuels for the transport sector that are predominantly produced from biomass. A variety of fuels can be produced from biomass resources including liquid fuels, such as ethanol, methanol, biodiesel, Fischer-Tropsch diesel, and gaseous fuels, such as hydrogen and methane. The biomass feedstock for biofuel production is composed of a wide variety of forestry and agricultural resources, industrial processing residues, and municipal solid and urban wood residues.

Biodiesel

The agricultural resources include grains used for biofuels production, animal manures and residues, and crop residues derived primarily from corn and small grains (e.g., wheat straw). A variety of regionally significant crops, such as cotton, sugarcane, rice, and fruit and nut orchards can also be a source of crop residues.

The forest resources include residues produced during the harvesting of forest products, fuelwood extracted from forestlands, residues generated at primary forest product processing mills, and forest resources that could become available through initiatives to reduce fire hazards and improve forest health.

Municipal and urban wood residues are widely available and include a variety of materials — yard and tree trimmings, land-clearing wood residues, wooden pallets, organic wastes, packaging materials, and construction and demolition debris.

Globally, biofuels are most commonly used to power vehicles, heat homes, and for cooking. Biofuel industries are expanding in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Biofuels are generally considered as offering many priorities, including sustainability, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, regional development, social structure and agriculture, and security of supply.

First-generation biofuels are made from sugar, starch, vegetable oil, or animal fats using conventional technology. The basic feedstocks for the production of first-generation biofuels come from agriculture and food processing. The most common first-generation biofuels are:

  • Biodiesel: extraction with or without esterification of vegetable oils from seeds of plants like soybean, oil palm, oilseed rape and sunflower or residues including animal fats derived from rendering applied as fuel in diesel engines
  • Bioethanol: fermentation of simple sugars from sugar crops like sugarcane or from starch crops like maize and wheat applied as fuel in petrol engines
  • Bio-oil: thermochemical conversion of biomass. A process still in the development phase
  • Biogas: anaerobic fermentation or organic waste, animal manures, crop residues an energy crops applied as fuel in engines suitable for compressed natural gas.

First-generation biofuels can be used in low-percentage blends with conventional fuels in most vehicles and can be distributed through existing infrastructure. Some diesel vehicles can run on 100 % biodiesel, and ‘flex-fuel’ vehicles are already available in many countries around the world.

Bioethanol-production-process

Second-generation biofuels are derived from non-food feedstock including lignocellulosic biomass like crop residues or wood. Two transformative technologies are under development.

  • Biochemical: modification of the bioethanol fermentation process including a pre-treatment procedure
  • Thermochemical: modification of the bio-oil process to produce syngas and methanol, Fisher-Tropsch diesel or dimethyl ether (DME).

Advanced conversion technologies are needed for a second-generation biofuels. The second generation technologies use a wider range of biomass resources – agriculture, forestry and waste materials. One of the most promising second-generation biofuel technologies – ligno-cellulosic processing (e. g. from forest materials) – is already well advanced. Pilot plants have been established in the EU, in Denmark, Spain and Sweden.

Third-generation biofuels may include production of bio-based hydrogen for use in fuel cell vehicles, e.g. Algae fuel, also called oilgae. Algae are low-input, high-yield feedstock to produce biofuels.

Gasification of Municipal Wastes

Gasification of municipal wastes involves the reaction of carbonaceous feedstock with an oxygen-containing reagent, usually oxygen, air, steam or carbon dioxide, generally at temperatures above 800°C. The process is largely exothermic but some heat may be required to initialise and sustain the gasification process.

utishinai-gasification-plant

The main product of the gasification process is syngas, which contains carbon monoxide, hydrogen and methane. Typically, the gas generated from gasification has a low heating value (LHV) of 3 – 6 MJ/Nm3.The other main product produced by gasification is a solid residue of non-combustible materials (ash) which contains a relatively low level of carbon.

Syngas can be used in a number of ways, including:

  • Syngas can be burned in a boiler to generate steam for power generation or industrial heating.
  • Syngas can be used as a fuel in a dedicated gas engine.
  • Syngas, after reforming, can be used in a gas turbine
  • Syngas can also be used as a chemical feedstock.

Gasification has been used worldwide on a commercial scale for several decades by the chemical, refining, fertilizer and electric power industries. MSW gasification plants are relatively small-scale, flexible to different inputs and modular development. The quantity of power produced per tonne of waste by gasification process is larger than when applying the incineration method.

The most important reason for the growing popularity of gasification of municipal solid wastes has been the increasing technical, environmental and public dissatisfaction with the performance of conventional incinerators.

Plasma Gasification

Plasma gasification uses extremely high temperatures in an oxygen-starved environment to completely decompose input waste material into very simple molecules in a process similar to pyrolysis. The heat source is a plasma discharge torch, a device that produces a very high temperature plasma gas. It is carried out under oxygen-starved conditions and the main products are vitrified slag, syngas and molten metal.

plasma-gasification

Vitrified slag may be used as an aggregate in construction; the syngas may be used in energy recovery systems or as a chemical feedstock; and the molten metal may have a commercial value depending on quality and market availability. The technology has been in use for steel-making and is used to melt ash to meet limits on dioxin/furan content. There are several commercial-scale plants already in operation in Japan for treating MSW and auto shredder residue.

Advantages of MSW Gasification

There are numerous MSW gasification facilities operating or under construction around the world. Gasification of solid wastes has several advantages over traditional combustion processes for MSW treatment. It takes place in a low oxygen environment that limits the formation of dioxins and of large quantities of SOx and NOx. Furthermore, it requires just a fraction of the stoichiometric amount of oxygen necessary for combustion. As a result, the volume of process gas is low, requiring smaller and less expensive gas cleaning equipment.

The lower gas volume also means a higher partial pressure of contaminants in the off-gas, which favours more complete adsorption and particulate capture. Finally, gasification generates a fuel gas that can be integrated with combined cycle turbines, reciprocating engines and, potentially, with fuel cells that convert fuel energy to electricity more efficiently than conventional steam boilers.

Disadvantages of Gasification

The gas resulting from gasification of municipal wastes contains various tars, particulates, halogens, heavy metals and alkaline compounds depending on the fuel composition and the particular gasification process. This can result in agglomeration in the gasification vessel, which can lead to clogging of fluidised beds and increased tar formation. In general, no slagging occurs with fuels having ash content below 5%. MSW has a relatively high ash content of 10-12%.

Cofiring of Biomass

Cofiring of biomass 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. Cofiring of biomass 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.

Biomass can typically provide between 3 and 15 percent of the input energy into the power plant. Cofiring of biomass has the major advantage of avoiding the construction of new, dedicated, biomass power plant. An existing power station is modified to accept the biomass resource and utilize it to produce a minor proportion of its electricity.

Cofiring of biomass may be implemented using different types and percentages of biomass in a range of combustion and gasification technologies. Most forms of biomass are suitable for cofiring. These include dedicated energy crops, urban wood waste and agricultural residues such as rice straw and rice husk.

The fuel preparation requirements, issues associated with combustion such as corrosion and fouling of boiler tubes, and characteristics of residual ash dictate the cofiring configuration appropriate for a particular plant and biomass resource. These configurations may be categorized into direct, indirect and parallel firing.

1. Direct Cofiring

This is the most common form of biomass cofiring involving direct cofiring of the biomass fuel and the primary fuel (generally coal) in the combustion chamber of the boiler. The cheapest and simplest form of direct cofiring for a pulverized coal power plant is through mixing prepared biomass and coal in the coal yard or on the coal conveyor belt, before the combined fuel is fed into the power station boiler.

2. Indirect Cofiring

If the biomass fuel has different attributes to the normal fossil fuel, then it may be prudent to partially segregate the biomass fuel rather than risk damage to the complete station.

For indirect cofiring, the ash of the biomass resource and the main fuel are kept separate from one another as the thermal conversion is partially carried out in separate processing plants. As indirect co-firing requires a separate biomass energy conversion plant, it has a relatively high investment cost compared with direct cofiring.

Parallel Firing

For parallel firing, totally separate combustion plants and boilers are used for the biomass resource and the coal-fired power plants. The steam produced is fed into the main power plant where it is upgraded to higher temperatures and pressures, to give resulting higher energy conversion efficiencies. This allows the use of problematic fuels with high alkali and chlorine contents (such as wheat straw) and the separation of the ashes.

4 Reasons Why You Should Invest in Green Energy Right Now

According to a study by Ourworldindata, around 11% of global energy comes from renewable technologies, around one-quarter of our electricity comes from renewable energy, and that’s great news for the planet. From hydroelectricity, wind and solar energy, biofuels and geothermal, there are now many alternatives for public and private use. But why should you invest in green energy? What are the benefits of eco-friendly energy sources and why should you care?

renewables-investment-trends

1. It’s actually cheaper!

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, renewable energy is increasingly the cheapest source of new electricity, in fact the cost of photovoltaic energy has fallen by 82% in the last decade! But why is that? Well, the operating costs are much lower for renewable energy plants than fossil fuel and nuclear power plants. As long as there is sunshine there are possibilities of creating solar energy!

If you’re looking for an energy plan for your home, you’ll soon find out that energy suppliers offering renewable electricity are cheaper and more accommodating. They also tend to have environmentally friendly policies with projects such as planting trees every time you sign up for a new contract for example.

2. It’s better for our health

One of the most underrated benefits of renewable energy is the impact on our health. Increases in fossil fuels, road transport or open burning of waste in cities has contributed to air pollution around the globe. The particles found in this polluted air can have a devastating effect on our health.

In fact, according to many studies, air pollution increases the risk of lung infections, lung cancer, premature death and asthma. Thus, it is good to invest in clean energy if you are really concerned about your health.

3. It’s good for the climate

Some of the existing issues the world is facing nowadays are waste and carbon-related, such as the greenhouse gas effect, climate change, and global warming that could also be caused by coal-produced energy.

Too much carbon and other gases are continuously produced on the earth’s surface due to improper waste disposal and coal energy consumption. In return, gas molecules continuously increase in volume, causing global warming.

Because of the greenhouse gas effect and global warming, climate change occurs. This leads to an interruption in the natural climate cycle of the earth due to the high volume of gases produced by carbon emissions and improper waste disposal.

One of the main benefits of renewable energy is the fact that it produces no or very low greenhouse gases. Therefore, it produces much less pollution, resulting in cleaner air and water. Renewable energy is derived from nature so by definition the resources have the benefit of being abundant and pretty much available anywhere.

4. It’s the future

In the future, we are more than likely going to only use climate-friendly energy sources such as the sun or wind to heat and power our homes and businesses. Electric cars will become the norm and more jobs will be created around environmentally friendly energy all over the globe. We’re also expected to see fossil fuel cars disappear in the long run with more and more investment in the green sector.

Going Green For Good

If you’re a business-minded person, investing in energy penny stocks is a good idea. It’s one way to support green energy businesses while earning money. You can invest in companies that look for new renewable energy solutions, such as converting wastes into energy.

Aside from green energy, you can go green or environment-friendly through proper waste disposal. Whenever organic waste decomposes, gases like methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide are produced. Thus, when the sun’s radiation enters the atmosphere, these gases tend to redirect heat in different directions, warming the lower atmosphere.

If everyone uses green energy and carries out proper waste management at home, people could help save the environment. Hence, going green should be a great consideration in mind.

The Bright Future of Solar Lighting

Solar power is an appealing source of energy, considering that it is widely available and sustainable. However, only two percent of the world’s electricity is derived from solar as of 2018. In the past, the production of solar energy has been costly and fairly ineffective.

Good thing, new technological advancements over the past years have propelled this growing reliance on solar by lowering costs. Technological innovations also aim to expand the use of solar by further decreasing costs and improving the efficiency of solar panels.

The Importance of Solar Lights

Although there are many uses for solar power, solar lighting is one of the most prominent. Large electrical products need high energy levels to operate them. This means that it needs large solar panels to collect appropriate energy from the sun.

solar-lights-highway

On the other hand, solar street lighting do not require large sources of energy and can thus be operated off much smaller panels. They provide a higher level of functionality and flexibility since the solar panels can be integrated into the lighting system.

The magnificence of solar lighting is that you can use it often and virtually any time without any cost except for the initial purchase. Direct sunlight is not even required to charge the batteries.  With advanced technology, new models of solar lights can charge even on a cloudy day.

Solar lights are well designed for outdoor usage, removing the need for risky electrical wiring. Excellent placement means maximum charging and the light turns on as the sun sets. While more extensive circuitry is required, solar lighting can also be used for interior lighting.

The Future of Solar Lighting

It is always difficult to predict the future. But by observing current trends in energy usage, solar energy industry, and prospective scientific research, we can catch a peek of what solar lighting could mean for the future:

Materials

Most likely, the materials that go into solar panels will change. Cell phone manufacturers, smartphones, electric vehicles, and cordless power tools all rely on the same rare earth component array that solar panel makers do.

Worldwide stocks of these resources continue to decline. Due to this, scientists have warned companies producing high-tech gadgets to find alternatives (such as iron pyrite or zinc). Experts advise manufacturers to develop their metal recycling and recovery systems.

Cost

New designs will be developed to absorb more light and convert light energy more efficiently into electricity. Upcoming solar light models will also be less costly to build than existing designs to outperform current solar cells.

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Electricity producers and consumers are more likely to embrace solar power if it is as costly or more affordable than others. Any changes to current designs of solar cells should reduce overall costs to be widely accepted.

Silicon solar cells are likely to persist to fall in price and be manufactured in large numbers in the near future. Additionally, research will continue on alternative models for solar cells that are more powerful and less costly.

With the bulk production of solar cells and emerging technologies, these developments will continue to be made possible.

Solar Power Usage

As the fight against climate change is escalating, so will the demand for renewable energy sources. Solar power will play a significant role in combating global climate change.

Solar could also spread to developing countries in the form of microgrids. Microgrids are distributed installations of electricity generation that provide energy to a limited area like a town, community, or a neighborhood.

Solar microgrids are an effective way to electrify remote communities in Africa or Southeast Asia. It is most effective for developing nations where it is too costly for electricity companies to connect far-flung towns to the power network.

Transparent Solar Cells

This advanced form of solar cells is adequately transparent for many new applications. Researchers developed a model that includes organic salts that absorb enough UV and infrared light to turn solar radiation into energy

Picture this sort of solar cell on the screen of a smartphone or a car’s windshield. Ultimately, transparent solar cells are more appealing than the conventional dark-colored panels and have a wider range of uses.

Final Thoughts

The use of solar lighting dates back to a thousand years ago when man first discovered fire. However, it is also very much the present and will be a significant part of the future. Solar lighting is here to stay until the sun shines its last beam, and as technology advances, the developments can grow over and over again.

Convinced yet of the bright future of solar lighting? If so, look no further than www.heisolar.com. HEI is a global leader in providing highly efficient solar lighting products. The company offers a range of outdoor solar lighting solutions for your home, business, or property.