Description of a Biogas Power Plant

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. The key components of a modern biogas power (or anaerobic digestion) plant include: manure collection, anaerobic digester, effluent treatment, biogas storage, and biogas use/electricity generating equipment.

anaerobic_digestion_plant

Working of a Biogas Plant

The fresh organic waste is stored in a collection tank before its processing to the homogenization tank which is equipped with a mixer to facilitate homogenization of the waste stream. The uniformly mixed waste is passed through a macerator to obtain uniform particle size of 5-10 mm and pumped into suitable-capacity anaerobic digester where stabilization of organic waste takes place.

In anaerobic digestion, organic material is converted to biogas by a series of bacteria groups into methane and carbon dioxide. The majority of commercially operating digesters are plug flow and complete-mix reactors operating at mesophilic temperatures. The type of digester used varies with the consistency and solids content of the feedstock, with capital investment factors and with the primary purpose of digestion.

Biogas Cleanup

Biogas contain significant amount of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas which needs to be stripped off due to its highly 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 which oxidizes H2S into elemental sulfur.

Utilization of Biogas

Biogas is dried and vented into a CHP unit to a generator to produce electricity and heat. The size of the CHP system depends on the amount of biogas produced daily.

Treatment of Digestate

The digested substrate is passed through screw presses for dewatering and then subjected to solar drying and conditioning to give high-quality organic fertilizer.  The press water is treated in an effluent treatment plant based on activated sludge process which consists of an aeration tank and a secondary clarifier. The treated wastewater is recycled to meet in-house plant requirements.

Monitoring of Environmental Parameters

A chemical laboratory is necessary to continuously monitor important environmental parameters such as BOD, COD, VFA, pH, ammonia, C:N ratio at different locations for efficient and proper functioning of the process.

Control System

The continuous monitoring of the biogas plant is achieved by using a remote control system such as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system. This remote system facilitates immediate feedback and adjustment, which can result in energy savings.

Summary of Biomass Combustion Technologies

Direct combustion is the best established and most commonly used technology for converting biomass to heat. During combustion, biomass fuel is burnt in excess air to produce heat. The first stage of combustion involves the evolution of combustible vapours from the biomass, which burn as flames. The residual material, in the form of charcoal, is burnt in a forced air supply to give more heat. The hot combustion gases are sometimes used directly for product drying, but more usually they are passed through a heat exchanger to produce hot air, hot water or steam.

Combustion_Moving_Grate

The combustion efficiency depends primarily on good contact between the oxygen in the air and the biomass fuel. The main products of efficient biomass combustion are carbon dioxide and water vapor, however tars, smoke and alkaline ash particles are also emitted. Minimization of these emissions and accommodation of their possible effects are important concerns in the design of environmentally acceptable biomass combustion systems.

Biomass combustion systems, based on a range of furnace designs, can be very efficient at producing hot gases, hot air, hot water or steam, typically recovering 65-90% of the energy contained in the fuel. Lower efficiencies are generally associated with wetter fuels. To cope with a diversity of fuel characteristics and combustion requirements, a number of designs of combustion furnaces or combustors are routinely utilized around the world

Underfeed Stokers

Biomass is fed into the combustion zone from underneath a firing grate. These stoker designs are only suitable for small scale systems up to a nominal boiler capacity of 6 MWth and for biomass fuels with low ash content, such as wood chips and sawdust. High ash content fuels such as bark, straw and cereals need more efficient ash removal systems.

Sintered or molten ash particles covering the upper surface of the fuel bed can cause problems in underfeed stokers due to unstable combustion conditions when the fuel and the air are breaking through the ash covered surface.

Grate Stokers

The most common type of biomass boiler is based on a grate to support a bed of fuel and to mix a controlled amount of combustion air, which often enters from beneath the grate. Biomass fuel is added at one end of the grate and is burned in a fuel bed which moves progressively down the grate, either via gravity or with mechanical assistance, to an ash removal system at the other end. In more sophisticated designs this allows the overall combustion process to be separated into its three main activities:

  • Initial fuel drying
  • Ignition and combustion of volatile constituents
  • Burning out of the char.

Grate stokers are well proven and reliable and can tolerate wide variations in fuel quality (i.e. variations in moisture content and particle size) as well as fuels with high ash content. They are also controllable and efficient.

Fluidized Bed Boilers

The basis for a fluidized bed combustion system is a bed of an inert mineral such as sand or limestone through which air is blown from below. The air is pumped through the bed in sufficient volume and at a high enough pressure to entrain the small particles of the bed material so that they behave much like a fluid.

The combustion chamber of a fluidized bed power plant is shaped so that above a certain height the air velocity drops below that necessary to entrain the particles. This helps retain the bulk of the entrained bed material towards the bottom of the chamber. Once the bed becomes hot, combustible material introduced into it will burn, generating heat as in a more conventional furnace. The proportion of combustible material such as biomass within the bed is normally only around 5%. The primary driving force for development of fluidized bed combustion is reduced SO2 and NOx emissions from coal combustion.

Bubbling fluidized bed (BFB) combustors are of interest for plants with a nominal boiler capacity greater than 10 MWth. Circulating fluidized bed (CFB) combustors are more suitable for plants larger than 30 MWth. The minimum plant size below which CFB and BFB technologies are not economically competitive is considered to be around 5-10 MWe.

3 Resources Students Can Use For Writing A Green Energy Essay

Most high school and college students often go through a major educational ritual: writing essays. As a student, you will most likely find yourself in a situation where you have to write an essay on an unfamiliar or abstract topic such as green energy. If this happens, how do you tackle the assignment?

Well, you can take the easy way out by hiring a college essay writing service to get the job done for you. However, there’s a harder but more fulfilling option: writing it yourself. If you do decide to go for the latter second option, here are some major resources to help you write a winning green energy essay:

renewables-investment-trends

Peer-reviewed Essays

When it comes to writing a green energy essay or any kind of essay at all, peer-reviewed articles should be your primary source of information. This is because they are more authoritative, making it easy for you to include only factual information in your essay.

Generally, peer-reviewed essays or articles are considered reliable hubs of information in the academic field since they have been closely reviewed by a panel of experts who have provided feedback on the ideas and research methods employed in the essay.

However, finding these top-tier essays can be a little difficult if you’re trying to find it on your own. Most websites offer only the abstracts of these articles which isn’t enough for you to write a comprehensive essay. An easy way to find peer-reviewed articles is by using your university’s library website or database to search for them.

Print or online textbooks

If you’re trying to write an essay, a renewable energy one in particular, textbooks are also great resources that could help you write a detailed work. Although these sources are not as reliable as peer-reviewed journals (for obvious reasons), they can be a comprehensive hub of information as well.

Fortunately, it’s easy to find a wide range of textbooks about green energy. All you have to do is search in your school library or do a quick Internet search for textbooks relevant to your essay. For instance, if you’re writing an essay on biorefinery, you could use a relevant textbook such as Biorefinery by Juan-Rodrigo Bastidas-Oyanedel and Jens Ejbye Schmidt.

However, when choosing a textbook, it’s important to choose the one that’s in line with your academic level. For instance, if you’re in high school, don’t use a textbook made for fourth graders or professors. The former will be too simplistic for your essay while the latter may be too advanced for you to understand.

Internet sources

The Internet is one of the most popular sources of information as a poll on Reuters shows. Most students often run to the internet when confronted with a difficult assignment or task. This is mainly because it’s easy to find any answer you need in just a few clicks. Whether you’re trying to find a picture of a grinning Cheshire cat or get information for an essay on clean energy, this serves as a great option.

However, the Internet is not so reliable since everyone can easily plaster their opinions online without providing evidence to back up their claims. As such, when using online websites or search engines to look for information, it’s advisable to always double check or filter what you see. You can review the information with your teacher or compare it with peer-reviewed journals and textbooks. This way, you can avoid including misinformation in your essay.

Tips for Writing a Comprehensive Essay on Green Energy

If you’re looking to write a winning essay on green energy, here are some tips to guide you:

1. Narrow down your topic

Clean energy is a wide, ambiguous field. If you try to write a generic essay on this field, you’ll most likely get overwhelmed or end up writing an entire book. To make the writing process easier, narrow down your topic to a specific niche. For instance, instead of writing an essay titled “Green energy”, you can whittle it down to the environmental impact of clean energy conversion or its benefits.

2. Come up with an interesting thesis statement

Your thesis statement forms the basis of your entire essay. As such, it’s important to make it clear, arguable and interesting. You should also ensure that it clearly demonstrates your stance on the subject matter.

3. Use examples

When writing your essay, you should back up every claim or topic sentence with alternative energy examples. This way, your audience – and teacher – will know that you have sufficient knowledge about the subject matter.

For instance, if you write a sentence that says “Many companies are now utilizing green energy conversion to help in IT modernization“, don’t just stop there. Add real-life examples to substantiate your claim, such as: “For example, Netimpact Strategies, an IT service provider, recently launched….”

This will lend your paper more credibility and authenticity.

Final Thoughts

Writing an essay on green energy is easy enough once you have the right resources. In this article, we’ve outlined the best resources you can use for writing a winning, comprehensive essay. Good luck!

The Importance of Biomass Energy in Energy Mix

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. Renewable energy supplies around one-fifth of the final energy consumption worldwide, counting traditional biomass, large hydropower, and “new” renewables (small hydro, modern biomass, wind, solar, geothermal, and biofuels).

Traditional biomass, primarily for cooking and heating, represents about 13 percent and is growing slowly or even declining in some regions as biomass is used more efficiently or replaced by alternative energy forms. Some of the recent predictions suggest that biomass energy is likely to make up one third of the total world energy mix by 2050. Infact, biofuel provides around 3% of the world’s fuel for transport.

biomass_feedstock

Biomass energy resources are readily available in rural and urban areas of all countries. Biomass-based industries can foster rural development, provide 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 waste-to-energy technologies which provide solid, liquid and gaseous fuels as well as electricity. Biomass wastes encompass a wide array of materials derived from agricultural, agro-industrial, and timber residues, as well as municipal and industrial wastes.

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.

Advantages of Biomass Energy

Biomass energy systems offer significant possibilities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions due to their immense potential to replace fossil fuels in energy production. Biomass reduces emissions and enhances carbon sequestration since short-rotation crops or forests established on abandoned agricultural land accumulate carbon in the soil.

Bioenergy usually provides an irreversible mitigation effect by reducing carbon dioxide at source, but it may emit more carbon per unit of energy than fossil fuels unless biomass fuels are produced unsustainably.

Biomass can play a major role in reducing the reliance on fossil fuels by making use of thermochemical conversion technologies. In addition, the increased utilization of biomass-based fuels will be instrumental in safeguarding the environment, generation of new job opportunities, sustainable development and health improvements in rural areas.

The development of efficient biomass handling technology, improvement of agro-forestry systems and establishment of small and large-scale biomass-based power plants can play a major role in rural development and sustainable utilization of biomass. Biomass energy could also aid in modernizing the agricultural economy.

Consistent and reliable supply of biomass is crucial for any biomass project

When compared with wind and solar energy, biomass power plants are able to provide crucial, reliable baseload generation. Biomass plants provide fuel diversity, which protects communities from volatile fossil fuels. Since biomass energy uses domestically-produced fuels, biomass power greatly reduces our dependence on foreign energy sources and increases national energy security.

A large amount of energy is expended in the cultivation and processing of crops like sugarcane, coconut, and rice which can met by utilizing energy-rich residues for electricity production.

The integration of biomass-fueled gasifiers in coal-fired power stations would be advantageous in terms of improved flexibility in response to fluctuations in biomass availability and lower investment costs. The growth of the bioenergy industry can also be achieved by laying more stress on green power marketing.

Use of PKS in Circulating Fluidized Bed Power Plants

Palm kernel shells are widely used in fluidized bed combustion-based power plants in Japan and South Korea. The key advantages of fluidized bed combustion (FBC) technology are higher fuel flexibility, high efficiency and relatively low combustion temperature. FBC technology, which can either be bubbling fluidized bed (BFB) or circulating fluidized bed (CFB), is suitable for plant capacities above 20 MW. Palm kernel shells (PKS) is more suitable for CFB-based power plant because its size is less than 4 cm.

palm-kernel-shell-uses

Palm kernel shells is an abundant biomass resource in Southeast Asia

With relatively low operating temperature of around 650 – 900 oC, the ash problem can be minimized. Certain biomass fuels have high ash levels and ash-forming materials that can potentially damage these generating units.

In addition, the fuel cleanliness factor is also important as certain impurities, such as metals, can block the air pores on the perforated plate of FBC unit. It is to be noted that air, especially oxygen, is essential for the biomass combustion process and for keeping the fuel bed in fluidized condition.

The requirements for clean fuel must be met by the provider or seller of the biomass fuel. Usually the purchasers require an acceptable amount of impurities (contaminants) of less than 1%. Cleaning of PKS is done by sifting (screening) which may either be manual or mechanical.

In addition to PKS, biomass pellets from agricultural wastes or agro-industrial wastes, such as EFB pellets which have a high ash content and low melting point, can also be used in CFB-based power plants. More specifically, CFBs are more efficient and emit less flue gas than BFBs.

The disadvantages of CFB power plant is the high concentration of the flue gas which demands high degree of efficiency of the dust precipitator and the boiler cleaning system. In addition, the bed material is lost alongwith ash and has to be replenished regularly.

A large-scale biomass power plant in Japan

The commonly used bed materials are silica sand and dolomite. To reduce operating costs, bed material is usually reused after separation of ash. The technique is that the ash mixture is separated from a large size material with fine particles and silica sand in a water classifier. Next the fine material is returned to the bed.

Currently power plants in Japan that have an efficiency of more than 41% are only based on ultra supercritical pulverized coal. Modification of power plants can also be done to improve the efficiency, which require more investments. The existing CFB power plants are driving up the need to use more and more PKS in Japan for biomass power generation without significant plant modifications.

Biofuels from Lignocellulosic Biomass

Lignocellulosic biomass consists of a variety of materials with distinctive physical and chemical characteristics. It is the non-starch based fibrous part of plant material.

Lignocellulose is a generic term for describing the main constituents in most plants, namely cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignin. Lignocellulose is a complex matrix, comprising many different polysaccharides, phenolic polymers and proteins. Cellulose, the major component of cell walls of land plants, is a glucan polysaccharide containing large reservoirs of energy that provide real potential for conversion into biofuels.

Straw_Bales

First-generation biofuels (produced primarily from food crops such as grains, sugar beet and oil seeds) are limited in their ability to achieve targets for oil-product substitution, climate change mitigation, and economic growth. Their sustainable production is under scanner, as is the possibility of creating undue competition for land and water used for food and fibre production.

The cumulative impacts of these concerns have increased the interest in developing biofuels produced from non-food biomass. Feedstocks from lignocellulosic materials include cereal straw, bagasse, forest residues, and purpose-grown energy crops such as vegetative grasses and short rotation forests. These second-generation biofuels could avoid many of the concerns facing first-generation biofuels and potentially offer greater cost reduction potential in the longer term.

The largest potential feedstock for biofuels is lignocellulosic biomass, 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). Bioethanol production from these feedstocks could be an attractive alternative for disposal of these residues.

Importantlylignocellulosic biomass resources do not interfere with food security. Moreover, bioethanol is very important for both rural and urban areas in terms of energy security reason, environmental concern, employment opportunities, agricultural development, foreign exchange saving, socioeconomic issues etc.

Lignocellulosic biomass consists mainly of lignin and the polysaccharides cellulose and hemicellulose. Compared with the production of ethanol from first-generation feedstocks, the use of lignocellulosic biomass is more complicated because the polysaccharides are more stable and the pentose sugars are not readily fermentable by Saccharomyces cerevisiae. 

In order to convert lignocellulosic biomass to biofuels the polysaccharides must first be hydrolysed, or broken down, into simple sugars using either acid or enzymes. Several biotechnology-based approaches are being used to overcome such problems, including the development of strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae that can ferment pentose sugars, the use of alternative yeast species that naturally ferment pentose sugars, and the engineering of enzymes that are able to break down cellulose and hemicellulose into simple sugars.

Lignocellulosic biomass processing pilot plants have been established in the EU, in Denmark, Spain and Sweden. The world’s largest demonstration facility of lignocellulose ethanol (from wheat, barley straw and corn stover), with a capacity of 2.5 Ml, was first established by Iogen Corporation in Ottawa, Canada. Many other processing facilities are now in operation or planning throughout the world.

Economically, lignocellulosic biomass has an advantage over other agriculturally important biofuels feedstock such as corn starch, soybeans, and sugar cane, because it can be produced quickly and at significantly lower cost than food crops.

Lignocellulosic biomass is an important component of the major food crops; it is the non-edible portion of the plant, which is currently underutilized, but could be used for biofuel production. In short, biofuels from lignocellulosic biomass holds the key to supplying society’s basic needs without impacting the nation’s food supply.

Breaking Down the Process of Biofuel Production

Biofuels are renewable and sustainable forms of energy. They can reduce greenhouse emissions by almost 30%, which means that although they do release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, they do so in a very limited manner.

With the aim of building a green new world, and eliminating the need for fossil fuel and other traditional energy sources, people are now turning towards biofuel to meet their daily needs. Thus, we see biofuel being used for transportation in many countries. It’s also being used to generate electricity. The rural areas in many underdeveloped and developing countries will use biofuel for their cooking purposes as well. All in all, this particular fuel has diverse uses.

Biofuel is produced from biomass, which itself is treated as a clean energy source. We can produce biofuel from biomass through a series of steps. These steps can be performed even in our houses if we have the right materials. A quick overview of the whole biofuel production process is described below.

biofuel-production

1. Filtration

The purpose of the filtration process is to get rid of the unnecessary particles from the biomass. In this step, we take the waste vegetable oil and then heat it to a certain degree. Once the liquid has been heated, the waste particles will automatically separate themselves from the main mixture. Afterward, we just have to filter it with a regular filter paper.

2. Water removal

Next, we need to remove water from the residual gangue. If the water is allowed to stay in the mixture, it’ll end up delaying the overall process. By removing all the water, we can make the reaction move a lot faster. The easiest way to remove water from the mixture is by heating it steady at 212 degrees F for some time.

3. Titration

Titration is conducted on the mixture to determine the amount of chemical catalyst (like lye) that will be needed. The catalyst is a key component in any chemical reaction. It pretty much determines how fast and how much of a product we’re going to receive. Thus, this step is very important in the biofuel manufacturing process.

4. Sodium methoxide preparation

In this step, we take methanol (18-20% of the waste vegetable oil) and mix it with sodium hydroxide. This gives us sodium methoxide, which is also used as a catalyst in the reaction. It helps perform synthesis reactions on the reagents and facilitates the overall reaction process. Sodium methoxide is a key ingredient in this manufacturing process. It’s considered to be a standard substance used to accelerate the reaction, and yield better results.

5. Mixing and heating

Next, we heat the residue between 120-130 degrees F. Afterward, we mix it properly. This process aims to evenly distribute the mixture. This will help the mixture to settle down later on, and cool off, after which we can begin the extraction process. In a way, the mixing and heating stage can be seen as the final preparation before extraction.

biofuel-production

6. Setting

Once the mixing is completed, the liquid is allowed to cool and settle down, after which we can extract the final product, i.e. the biofuel.

7. Separation

After the liquid has cooled, the biofuel can be extracted from the top of the mixture. It’ll be found floating on top, like oil in water. To get the biofuel, we’ll have to remove the glycerin underneath it. This can be done by simply draining it out from the bottom, and keeping the fuel afloat. The biofuel is finally ready.

The whole process described above is for a small-scale operation. However, it can be scaled up as needed, given that you have the right tools, ingredients, and setup.

It should also be noted that chemical catalysts (such as lye) are used in the manufacturing process as well. Recently, however, scientists and researchers are looking into the use of ultrasonics as additional catalysts. According to recent observations, a combination of chemicals and ultrasonics can lead to a higher yield of fuel, and reduce the overall processing time. This also leads to better utilization of biomass.

Companies such as Coltraco (https://coltraco.com/) are now using ultrasonic systems and technology in a wide variety of fields, one of which is the renewable energy industry. And while the technology’s use in other fields has gained more traction in recent times, it shouldn’t be long before it’s used in biofuel manufacturing, as well as in other renewable energy sectors, in full swing.

Drone Usage for Renewable Energy Development and Maintenance

The use of drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), dates back to 1849. Austria invaded Venice, sending human-contactless balloons over the city, which contained explosive materials. Advancements in drone technology allow for continued military utilization, as well as commercial and civilian use.

Drones recently joined the environmental industry, providing promising future aid to renewable energy development and maintenance. The small ascending computers can provide us with unique images of Earth, as natural TV programs show us. Drones may use their imaging abilities to survey and map the land and detect renewable energy system issues. They can also produce their own energy and limit package delivery emissions. Read on to know about the use of drones in renewable energy sector:

Surveying and Mapping

When evaluating potential renewable energy sites, like solar and wind farms, it is essential to calculate possible interference. Drones can move throughout these regions collecting data on wind currents, sun exposure, and the ecosystem. This system is integrated into the agricultural industry with light detection and ranging sensors (Lidar) attached to drones.

Renewable power companies use this system to survey and map energy sites. Like the Quantum Trinity F90+, popular commercial UAVs can reduce the time and greenhouse gases used in traditional land mapping practices. These devices can fly for 90-minute periods and track large regions of land.

Issue Detection

Once renewable energy systems are in place, drone use continues. Wind turbines benefit greatly from UAV intervention.

drone-wind-farms

Most turbines reach heights of 280 feet to allow for maximum wind capture. Unfortunately, this poses severe problems for maintenance workers. In the U.K., 163 workers suffered injuries while repairing wind power devices, and five workers died.

UAVs can reach heights of 400 feet, allowing them to evaluate issues safely and effectively. These detection methods are less expensive for renewable energy companies and enable workers to plan more efficient repairs. One can also use drones to detect solar panel problems.

Solar companies use UAVs to detect panel malfunctions from the ground. To increase the sustainability of this practice, companies can send drones to panel sites without workers present. This would further reduce greenhouse gas emissions by limiting the transportation process associated with maintenance.

Renewable Energy Drone Production

A recent development in the UAV industry allows drones to fuel themselves using wind power. The Saildrone is a device that harnesses its energy from small propellers, similar to the head of a wind turbine. Scientists are currently using them to collect and relay oceanic data, but their abilities are expanding.

Wind power-converting drones may act as a sustainable alternative to wind turbines. The UAVs in production fly in circular patterns with a kite attached. This maximizes the efficiency of wind capturing.

The energy would reach the Earth’s surface through an extended power cable, which is less environmentally disruptive than a turbine. The materials utilized in building a wind energy drone are less disruptive to the planet and require less greenhouse gas emissions in production.

Solar Delivery Drones

In 2013, Amazon revealed its idea to utilize drones to deliver packages efficiently. These UAVs would reportedly fly boxes to your doorstep in under 30 minutes, depending on your region. The incorporation of drones into the delivery industry could significantly reduce carbon emissions, preserving the atmosphere.

delivery-drone-amazon

With renewable energy-powered delivery UAVs, truck-induced air pollution, traffic congestion, and roadkill could decrease. Limiting these environmental harms can conserve the environment and increase biodiversity on Earth. You may ask yourself, “So, where are my sustainably delivered packages?”

Drone Regulations

The reason that, eight years later, we are still waiting for our drone-delivered Amazon purchases has to do with strict aircraft regulations. Each year, the U.S. government releases new guidelines for commercial UAV use. These regulations restrict further drone use by the renewable energy industry.

Restrictions on flying heights, speed, weight, certifications, site navigation, and more limit one’s ability to use UAVs for sustainability purposes. Innovators are working to develop green drone uses, but it will take time before they reach the commercial market. As their safety and abilities increase, the use of drones in renewable energy sector will grow at a rapid pace.

5 Things You Can Do About Pigeons Under Your Solar Panels

Solar paneling has changed the way we look at renewable energy sources today. In addition to the increasing power charges, solar paneling provides a workable solution with a one-time investment. Like everything, there are pros and cons attached with solar panels. Birds are attracted to solar panels that act as a source of shade and protection. Being a bird lover, I would have been happy about it. However, that is not the case here. Bird droppings can cause a lot of damage to solar panels over extended periods of time.

We list some of these damages below:

  • Bird dropping deposits eat on the solar panels’ surface.
  • The accumulation of bird droppings over time can cause a lot of damage.
  • It blocks sunlight and reduces the overall efficiency of panels.
  • Nesting materials deposited under panels can hinder airflow, causing it to overheat and cause more damage.

How to Keep Solar Panels Safe from Pigeons?

So how do we deal with this problem? There are several ways to take care of this. We list 5 things you can do about pigeons under your solar panels below:

solar-panels-pigeon-issue

1. Meshing or netting

Meshing or netting is a very convenient way of keeping the solar panel safe from pigeons. All you need to do is first have the area under the solar panels cleaned. After that, it’s as simple as putting the mesh clips onto the solar panels. The meshing runs over the edges and seals off the way for the pigeons to enter.

The meshing or the netting serves precisely the desired  purpose–it keeps the pigeons out of the area below the solar panel. Also, it provides enough ventilation for the solar panels to dissipate heat.

However, one essential thing that you need to keep in mind is not damaging the panels during the mesh installation. In case the panels get damaged, the warranty would be void.

2. Roof spikes

Installing roof spikes around the solar panel is another way to keep the pigeons at bay. The logic is to make the birds so uncomfortable so that they do not dare to sit long enough to make nests on the solar panel.

3. Plastic predators

The birds cannot distinguish between an actual bird or an artificial one. Setting decoys on your rooftop is like having scarecrows in the field. Set up a bird of prey on the rooftop, preferably like a weathervane, so that it moves. The movement of the bird gives an impression of another bird being present. Plastic predators is a very traditional, however, effective method to keep pigeons and other birds away.

4. Cleanliness

We always talk about cleanliness and how important it is to maintain hygiene. Here is a perfect example of the same. Most of the time, the primary reason for the attraction of birds is if they find food. Hence, keeping away all sources of food makes the place inhabitable. Keep the rubbish bins covered with lids.

If there are pets in the house, ensure that all the pet food is being cleaned. Use tightly sealed plastic bags wherever possible. The cleaner your yard and roof is, the lesser is the chance of bird inhabiting the place. Also, with regards to the a flat roof, ensure that you don’t have any edible garbage lying around.

5. Solar panel maintenance

And finally, let’s come to the last part, which is the maintenance of your solar panels. Cleaning up the panels regularly and taking care of any cracks or any mountings issues is extremely important. Ensure that you get the solar panels cleaned and serviced correctly at regular intervals. Clean solar panels don’t attract a lot of birds.

Conclusion

It is extremely crucial to maintain clean conditions around the panels and even around your house. Cleanliness ensures that pigeons or other birds are not attracted to your home. Along with cleanliness, regular maintenance of the solar panels will ensure that fewer birds inhabit your home. Also, it ensures that the efficiency of your solar panels does not dip. There are various companies that offer solar panel pigeon proofing. It is advisable to get a professional maintenance of the solar panels done once a year, if you don’t live in a highly polluted area.

Everything You Should Know About Biomass Logistics

Biomass logistics include all the unit operations necessary to move biomass feedstock from the land to the biomass energy plant and to ensure that the delivered feedstock meets the specifications of the conversion process. The packaged biomass can be transported directly from farm or from stacks next to the farm to the processing plant.

Biomass may be minimally processed (i.e. ground) before being shipped to the plant, as in case of biomass supply from the stacks. Generally the biomass is trucked directly from farm to biomass energy plant if no processing is involved.

Another option is to transfer the biomass to a central location where the material is accumulated and subsequently dispatched to the energy conversion facility. While in depot, the biomass could be pre-processed minimally (ground) or extensively (pelletized). The depot also provides an opportunity to interface with rail transport if that is an available option.

The choice of any of the options depends on the economics and cultural practices. For example in irrigated areas, there is always space on the farm (corner of the land) where quantities of biomass can be stacked. The key components to reduce costs in harvesting, collecting and transportation of biomass can be summarized as:

  • Reduce the number of passes through the field by amalgamating collection operations.
  • Increase the bulk density of biomass
  • Work with minimal moisture content.
  • Granulation/pelletization is the best option, though the existing technology is expensive.
  • Trucking seems to be the most common mode of biomass transportation option but rail and pipeline may become attractive once the capital costs for these transport modes are reduced.

The logistics of transporting, handling and storing the bulky and variable biomass material for delivery to the bioenergy processing plant is a key part of the biomass supply chain that is often overlooked by project developers. Whether the biomass comes from forest residues on hill country, straw residues from cereal crops grown on arable land, or the non-edible components of small scale, subsistence farming systems, the relative cost of collection will be considerable.

Careful development of a system to minimize machinery use, human effort and energy inputs can have a considerable impact on the cost of the biomass as delivered to the processing plant gate.

The logistics of supplying a biomass power plant with sufficient volumes of biomass from a number of sources at suitable quality specifications and possibly all year round, are complex. Agricultural residues can be stored on the farm until needed. Then they can be collected and delivered directly to the conversion plant on demand. Infact, this requires considerable logistics to ensure only a few days of supply are available on-site but that the risk of non-supply at any time is low.