Energy production from biomass ( part 1 ): overview of biomass

  • McKendry P
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Abstract

The use of renewable energy sources is becoming increasingly necessary, if we are to achieve the changes required to address the impacts of global warming. Biomass is the most common form of renewable energy, widely used in the third world but until recently, less so in the Western world. Latterly much attention has been focused on identifying suitable biomass species, which can provide high-energy outputs, to replace conventional fossil fuel energy sources. The type of biomass required is largely determined by the energy conversion process and the form in which the energy is required. In the first of three papers, the background to biomass production (in a European climate) and plant properties is examined. In the second paper, energy conversion technologies are reviewed, with emphasis on the production of a gaseous fuel to supplement the gas derived from the landfilling of organic wastes (landfill gas) and used in gas engines to generate electricity. The potential of a restored landfill site to act as a biomass source, providing fuel to supplement landfill gas-fuelled power stations, is examined, together with a comparison of the economics of power production from purpose-grown biomass versus waste-biomass. The third paper considers particular gasification technologies and their potential for biomass gasification. ? 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • biomass
  • electricity
  • gas engines
  • gasification
  • landfill

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Authors

  • Peter McKendry

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